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What Makes Me Feel Optimistic In A World Full Of Bad News

If you read my blog you know I’m capable of catastrophic Irish morbidity. Case in point. When my daughters strike an aloof attitude toward me as I leave the house, I have to muzzle myself from saying:   “You should

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In Defense of a Commercial Christmas

We Collearys are not a religious people. Henry’s a recovering Catholic. I was raised Mormon and love them dearly, but simply could not commit to “One True Church” or give up wine. (The Mormon age for baptism is 8, but

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My Name Is Tom

Last week I picked my daughters and a friend of theirs up from school. We made a pitstop at our favorite taco truck in front of a car wash on Westwood and Santa Monica Boulevards. As we waited in line

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How I Ended Up Holding A Package of Brains

Why You Should Support Public Education I was a little startled to find myself holding a package containing twelve vacuum-packed brains last Wednesday. “Please tell me these aren’t what I think they are,” I asked Mr. Bishop, a sixth grade

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The Surprising Thing That Happened When I Parented Someone Else’s Child?

When other people’s children are in my care I treat them like they’re mine. I didn’t used to do this, but I’ve had kids for 11 years now, so I’m battle tested. I bear the scars of having my children

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Yea, Though I Walk Through The Valley Of Lice

It hath come to pass that a plague hath beset the Colleary family whereupon we were ravaged by lice. No, they were not any of the particular louses that Shannon hath, in the past, lain with like the Whore of

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What Happened When I Said “No” To My Daughter

My daughters’ snuggles are my form of crack. On a biochemical level, my body sinks into a deeper calm when I hold them. And it doesn’t seem to matter that they’re at that no-man’s land between toddlerdom and teendom, where

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When Your Daughter Hits Below The Belt

It seemed like an ordinary night. There were no harbingers of doom — A murder of black crows on the telephone wires outside. A vanity mirror broken jaggedly down its center. A ladder with someone under it.  No, all was

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My Shiksa Daughters Want to be Jewish

We went to a Bar Mitzvah Saturday. You would have thought we’d asked our tween Shiksa daughters to shave their heads and flap their arms when they walked. T he caterwauling. Yes, they had to miss part of their best

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The Drugs Talk With My 11-Year old

Middle school started on Tuesday. Would there be gang bangers? Mean girls? Nurse Ratched-style teachers? One-eyed drug dealers? Should I stop watching CNN? My daughter loves her new school, her teachers and the excitement of the next phase of her

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My Tween Daughters And I Love “Camp Gyno”

If you’re the mother of daughters just ramping up for puberty this Camp Gyno video is a must. (this is NOT a sponsored post). It’s both irreverent and empowering and a perfect launching pad for the awkward talk about puberty.

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5 Reasons Traveling With Your Kids May Keep Them Off Drugs: Ireland Photos

We travel all over with our kids. That’s where all and any extra cash goes. We’ve taken them to Hawaii, Seattle, Toronto, The Grand Canyon, San Francisco, New York, New Jersey, Las Vegas, Phoenix, El Capitan, Cachuma Lake, Santa Barbara,

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My Kids Aren’t Me

I always think my kids will like the things I like. I was a water baby. I lived in the ocean as a kid visiting my grandma-Santa-Barbara every summer. I loved camping. The mildewy smell of a tent in the

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Girls in their Natural Habitat

Voices: “… and then they’re naked in the jungle and they have to survive.” “When you said naked I thought you meant they didn’t have any supplies.” “No, they don’t have any clothes.” “That’s inappropriate, is it R-rated?” “No, it’s

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My Kid Needs A Therapist

I have a child who is anxious about a big transition coming up. We’re moving to Nebraska where we’ll be installed in the Witness Protection Program as Amish farmers, in order to avoid swimming with the fishes for a mafia

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I Could’ve Been A Milk Carton Kid – Which is Why I Helicopter Parent

My friend Amy told me she lets her 10-year old walk around our Los Angeles neighborhood alone. I tried to keep myself from gasping aloud. I gasped internally, imagining all the kidnappers circling her child in their unmarked, white vans.

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My Daughter’s 11-Year Old Friend Got Her Period

Right after the fifth grade culmination ceremony yesterday, Clare’s good friend Gabriella (a pseudonym) got her first period. Sweet Jesus. It felt to me like the beginning of the end, as this lovely child’s body is now weaponized, a walking,

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I Need Advice From Working Moms

When it comes to my kids’ emotional lives, I’m an extreme empath. I have little tolerance for my childrens’ anxiety, discomfort or sadness. I have to rush in and swab the decks. Hospital corner all the beds.  Polish the brass to

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Little Girl Movie Star Parties Freaked Me Out, Not Anymore

I’ve been Professor McGonegle. I’ve been Medusa. And now I’ve been Makeup-Artist-to-the-Stars, Gilda. I blame my myriad incarnations on my daughter Bridget, because she loves Theme Birthdays every. Single. Year. When she was seven, Henry and I mounted a massive

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Castrating an Unwitting Softball Commissioner

A child, who shall remain nameless — (So if you think you know which child she is, you don’t!) came home tonight from her first softball practice of the season having discovered that none of her former teammates are on

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Talking to Kids About Sex

When I was a kid my parents didn’t talk to me about sex. At eight, when I asked my mom what a condom was, she told me it was a “water balloon you throw off the roof at people.” Her

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You Read, Therefore I Am

I’m back! Wait .. whaddaya mean you didn’t know I was gone? Didn’t your world feel a little bit empty? Wasn’t it harder to laugh, cry, flagellate yourself for eating that renegade bear claw that leaped out at you from

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Gone Fishing Over The Holidays (Christmas Photos)

Hello, dear fellow humans. I have not felt like updating and writing. I’ve felt like eating Christmas cake cookies and drinking egg nog spiked with Thunderbird. Which means I’m fat and happy. (Maybe a little too happy). So I’m going

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How to Beat Santa Extortion Def-Con 5!

Henry and I spend too much money all year round. He’s a groceries hoarder. If you came to our house and opened our refrigerator, you would find enough butter and milk to re-supply all the bovines in Texas. He’s also

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My Kids Attacked Me!

I fancy myself a bit of an athlete. There was that time I beat my dad in a 10K even though I walked part of it. (Dad, you could throw a baseball 100 mph through the eye of a needle,

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