Monthly Archives: January 2011

Word of the Day: Tiger Mom

Usually, in the woman’s locker room, there is not much conversation. It is a bunch of women mentally comparing their lumps and jiggles with the other naked women’s lumps and jiggles. Occasionally, there is a request to borrow a squirt of conditioner or a comment on the temperature of the water in the pool.

But yesterday, was different. Women were actually talking to eachother.  With wet hair, standing naked, their voices echoed off the tiled walls and carried into the showers. They were talking about Amy Chou’s Book “The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom.” More specifically, they were talking about whether the no-nonsense, no sleep-overs, practice, practice, practice tactics touted by the author were inspired parenting or borderline child abuse.

I don’t know.

I do know, now that my kids are mostly beyond the age of parental influence, that I wish that I had cracked the Tiger Mom whip a little more effectively. Sure, I nagged them to do their homework and they spread their notebooks out on the dining room table and did it. At least they said they did it. But their report cards revealed that they were missing assignments, not always prepared for class and certainly not working up to their potential. This doesn’t happen to children of a Tiger Mom. My kids all took piano lessons and violin, too. But they never practiced. Even when I yelled, my tantrums would result in an angry rendition of Bach’s Minuet in G or a slammed bedroom door and no practice at all. So I let them quit music lessons. Some of us are Tigers, some of us are just moms trying to get our kids to remember to flush the toilet and turn out lights.

Indeed, Amy Chua’s daughters straight A’s and prodigious piano playing might be the result of superior parenting, but I suspect that their achievements are due largely to genetics.  Amy Chua is a Yale law professor with degrees from Harvard University. She’s  no dummy. In fact, she’s a marketing genius.


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Word of the Day: Pot Luck

I feel totally lucky to live in a neighbodhood where I like the people who live next door, across the street and down the block. In fact we like eachother so much, that we often get together for impromptu dinners, like the one at my house the other night.

Everyone was drinking wine and mulling around the kitchen. I was rummaging through the fridge to see what I could use to make salad dressing. As I tossed some oil,vinegar and mustard together, my neighbor said, “Hey! Isn’t that my bowl?” 

I don’t actually remember buying the bowl, but it’s been in my kitchen and played a key role in food preparation for  at least two or three years.  I wanted to say “Prove it!” Because I really like that bowl. It’s perfect size and the color goes great with my countertops.

“Maybe, it is yours,”  confessed. “But I left my favorite yellow bowl with the stripes somewhere, so I need this one.” I also need the little ceramic cheese tray that someone left at my Christmas open house, the salad tongs that were orphaned at a block party last  summer and a basket that was abandoned after I broke my elbow and the neighborhood responded with an outpouring of food delivered to our house.  

“I don’t have your yellow bowl,” she said. “But I do think that I have three of your wine glasses,” she  said, “and your fondue forks.”

 “You do?” I tried to remember when  I lent them to her.

“Let’s call it even,” she said. “The dressing needs more salt.”

Love this neighborhood.

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