preview for tomorrow's column

Amy Chua's memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, is not only raising eyebrows, but has many mothers raising their voice- including me.

Raised by Chinese immigrant parents, she chose to raise her children also by the ways of her ancestors.

Here are some things Amy Chua would never allow her daughters to do:

• have a playdate

• be in a school play

• complain about not being in a school play

• not be the #1 student in every subject except gym and drama

• play any instrument other than the piano or violin

• not play the piano or violin

The supreme goal is to produce the most successful child.

Read my Sunday column tomorrow: Elephant verses Tiger.

What do you think?


tender at the bone: book one

I remember our first book club meeting like it was yesterday. I was nervous. I had just moved to the smaller town of Roseburg, had no friends, no family, no job and was pregnant. Joy.

I suppose you could call me an initiator. If you can't find something, start it yourself. And the best thing with starting it yourself is that you are automatically the boss. In college, I couldn't find a hip-hop dance team, so I started one. I'm proud to say the University of Oregon Jam Squad rocks whatever floor they walk onto. After graduation and getting laid off from my first job, I moved home. Couldn't find a job, so I made one. I founded the magazine, Button, out of Portland - however, after two issues the economy put that fun to an end. So far, initiating book club might be the best thing I've started. 

I've always been a social butterfly to say the least. I was the student that got "Very outgoing and social, but distracted from class," on her elementary school progress reports. In high school, I was more concerned about the latest way to fold the note I just wrote my BFF, than some math problem.

Moving to a new town was not scary. I had done it many times before. But this was a small town - a town that my city friends gave me a lot of crap for moving to. I was lonely, bored and growing by the minute. 

I had a few contacts in town and a new friend or two, so I sent a mass e-mail, stalked locals around my age on Facebook and told everyone I ran into about the book club starting up. I started to see that it was much easier to meet people in a small town than a big city. 

The first book I chose was Tender at the Bone: Growing up at the Table by Ruth Reichl. Being the entertainer that I am and not the reader - I chose a book that I could theme for the monthly dinner. I set the meeting date and started reading. Ironic that I was starting a book club to meet friends, not to read - and pretty soon, I couldn't put the book down.

The official book club meeting came quick. I had no idea who or how many people were coming. I was just thirsting to have women over to talk about periods, pregnancy, husbands and makeup. I was also thirsting for lots of wine. So I poured myself some grape juice in a wine glass and listened for the door bell.

The table was set with foods from the book, candles were lit and my husband was locked away. I had no idea if these people would actually want to talk about the book, so I marked pages and rehearsed my opinions and thoughts. I felt like I was trying out for something.

In walked four women, only two that I knew previously. Immediately the room filled with estrogen and I felt alive again. We ate, we drank and we laughed. I was relieved that they too wanted to talk about their kids, weddings, their jobs, homes and hobbies. We probably talked about the book for five minutes. It was exactly how I imagined, a total cliché. I loved it.

After cleaning the buffet, except for the liver dip, everyone headed home with a new book to read and new friends. I crawled into bed next to my husband, chatting his ear off about the conversations we had, where so-and-so lived, how so-and-so is getting married or how so-and-so also had that during her pregnancy.

Everyone knows what happened the next day. We friended each other on Facebook and ordered The Time Traveler's Wife. No longer was I tender at the bone, I was in the process of making some of the best friends a person can have. 

Until next month...

Member Ashley reading away.


when mom gets sick

Mommy being sick is not fun. She is the captain of the ship: cooking, cleaning, feeding the baby, playing with the baby, picking up kids from school, etc... What happens when the captain is down? Chaos. I've been sick the last two days and here are some tips on how to make it all work. Got more tips? Let me hear them. I'm sure I'll get sick more than once.

1. Call in for help. Ask your neighbor to pick up the kids or ask Grandma if she'll watch the baby for the day so you can sleep. Ask your husband to pick up medicine and take the baby when he gets home. 

2. Make bedtime or couch games with baby. Bring her toys onto your bed so she can sit and play while thinking you are playing too and you can get a little rest and comfort. Turn on a good movie for baby and have her sit with you. Again, she will like the "being together" while you lounge. 

3. Nap when she naps.

4. Call upon the Crock-Pot. A big pot roast or stew not only will feel good on your throat later, but will provide you with leftovers for the next few dinners. And it is pretty easy preparation.

5. Try not to load yourself up on cold pills and Advil so you can get things done. It will only mask the illness and prolong it. Eat like baby eats: fruits and veggies and lots of fluids. Tea, OJ and water. Load yourself up on vitamins and rest instead.


wordless wednesday


I used to be queen

I used to be queen
I ruled the roost
Until this little bean
In my womb I produced

Out this little girl came
My princess she would be
It would never be the same
She was a mini-me

She stole my heart
And it would lead to my demise
She is far too smart
For that itty-bitty size

She cries and I go
She is attached to my hip
She laughs when I say "no" 
She wins with her pouting lip 

Such a beautiful little face
Such a sweet little coo
She wants her diapers with lace
And a gold bottle too 

I underestimated the power
A sweet baby could possess
My throne and my tower 
Demoted, regressed

She is the star of the show
And she doesn't even walk
What is going to happen- I don't want to know
When she is a teenager and can talk

My crown may be gone
My castle unclean
But I love being a mom
Even if she is queen

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