Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

I had the PERFECT present planned to share with everyone this holiday season. It was the ultimate gift that every person would enjoy, that would get old but not in a boring way, and would give back again and again: news of another baby.

My husband and I would tell my family and friends at the end of my first trimester, when most expectant parents share their big news. That was our plan. With our first child, Little D, we unveiled my bulging belly to my family on Thanksgiving, when I was five months pregnant. But this time around, we thought, surely, Christmas was ideal.

But I just found out, I had another miscarriage. (Big sigh and many sobs go here.)

Yes, another. This is my third, and second in a row. I’ve been pregnant four times in four years — but only one has worked out. Because of this and so many other reasons, I don’t take any day with my daughter, now 2 ½ years old, for granted.

You probably can imagine how heartbreaking this situation can be when you really want to have another child (or child, period). It simply sucks. It quadruple sucks when you actually get to see another heart beating inside you — twice — and two weeks later, the fluttering is gone. (Another big sigh goes here.)

 

I’ve had three miscarriages. Not that many people in my life know I’ve had one, much less two. But I’m going to tell more people this time around. Why? Miscarriages happen. Now that wouldn’t be a pleasant bumper sticker at all, would it? But it’s true. And rather than being so private about it, I want other women to know that it’s okay, and to be open to all the feelings you have if it does happen to you. Some people are able to totally shrug it off, others never do. I didn’t know how common miscarriages were and how to heal from them physically and emotionally until I talked to other people about it.

But know that I didn’t write this post to throw a pity party. I wrote this because I want people who have loved ones who have had miscarriages to also know that while there really are no right words to make us feel better, we appreciate your love and are grateful nonetheless for your support.

Here’s what people have said to me:

“It’s nature’s way.”

“Miscarriages are totally normal.”

“It will work out next time.”

“I told you that you need to take care of yourself.” DO NOT say this to someone who’s just had a miscarriage, please. (Moms, how do they love us so much, but find the absolute wrong things to say on some occasions? Mom, you’re forgiven.)

“I’m sorry.” These two words are always welcome, as is this question, “What can I do to make you feel better?”

 

My dear friend Andrea — seriously an expert at making anyone feel better — brought me a Baskin-Robbins mint ’n’ chip and chocolate ice cream cake after my first miscarriage, because she knows it’s one of my favorite desserts. After my second miscarriage, she brought me the same cake. This time around, I told her I would happily have a serving of her turkey pumpkin chili.

Okay, this isn’t a joke, but we have to power through these disappointing moments in our lives and find the strength to be happy again, to try really, really hard not to blame ourselves (or others) and to continue to open ourselves to the love around. Despite this loss, I know I’m not alone in this experience, and in my hope for the future.

In the first 36 hours since getting the news, I’ve done the following to not let 3 Ms get me down: told my sisters and parents, played couch potato for three hours accompanied by many helpings of Häagen Daz ice cream, not done any dishes, got the tightest hug from my daughter when I picked her up from school, hugged my husband, kept dinner plans with out-of-town friends (who coincidentally have had back-to-back miscarriages, followed by two kids), went to sleep, got up and packed lunches, dropped off my daughter to school in the rain (by choice, she wore a Minnie Mouse jacket, Darth Vader shirt, pink sweat pants, a Smokey the Bear hat and Batman rain boots), went to work, listened to the Belle and Sebastian Pandora station, wished two of my friends “Happy Birthday” on Facebook, walked and hugged my dog, tolerated a tantrum from my daughter, kissed my parakeet, brushed and hugged my cat, put two bags of recycling out, ate some leftovers, made donations to Wikimedia Foundation and the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project and wrote this post. I smiled more in that time than I cried.

 

How do you find joy when it’s hard to be joyful?

I’d love to hear from you.

Finally, have I ever told you how incredible my husband is? He’s been my hero through every tear, laugh, and smile. This song is dedicated to him, and to everyone who lifts you up and brings you joy. (Thank you, too, Dre.)

Lullaby Rendition of “My Hero” by Foo Fighters

More than half the country is covered in snow right now. (Sorry, Los Angeles isn’t, but if we drive just two hours, we’re with you!)

And this snow generally brings kids joy, the coveted “snow days,” snowball fights, you name it — fun, fun, fun . . . for them. Adults, on the other hand, are often faced with scraping frozen windshields, shoveling driveways and entryways and, oh yes, those winter heating bills!

As always, we’re here to remind the parents of those joyful kids about how to be smart during the season. This rocking parent tip comes from the parents of Bill in our sales department, and it’s an important one!

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Do you have a great parent tip? Post it below and you may see it in an upcoming post! We’d love to hear from you.

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Don’t forget to enter our giveaway!

There was one gift that I always, always wanted when I was a kid that my parents for some reason would never buy me—the Slinky. But I totally understood why later, it had one of the shortest life spans of any toy. Every kid I did know with one had that thing wound up in the wrong direction within minutes, then would throw tantrums while their parents had to somehow, usually unsuccessfully, try to coil it back into shape.

 

Now that I have a kid of my own, I do my best to only get her gifts that will last: won’t break (right away), won’t harm her or any of our pets, that she will treasure years from now, and will entertain her as much as they entertain me. (Sounds like a Rockabye Baby album, right?) So, to tell the truth, I’ve bought her very few presents — books, mostly, art supplies, and essentials — while her father buys her at least two a week, including stuffed animals, DVDs, dolls and action figures, and says he’s making up for my lack of gifts.

Maybe it’s partly me being a middle child that prevents me from spoiling her, an only child, but I always tell my husband, “I just don’t want her to want things that she doesn’t need,” especially in this age. I only like to give her things she needs and convince her that she really, really wants them. It’s actually not that hard! A cute toothbrush, colorful tights, Batman rain boots (what kid, doesn’t need a pair?). But, yes, kids want more, and when I was a child these were among the gifts on my wish list for the holidays or my birthday.

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Do these date me, or what? Were any of these on your wish list?

What are the gifts from your youth that still make you smile?

I may have to put it on my shopping list this season for my daughter! Here’s one gift from my parents I’ll always treasure.

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See more memorable presents from yesteryear on our Remember When Pinterest Board! And don’t forget these latest releases from Rockabye Baby to consider for your loved ones, big and small.

 

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Like most kids, mine love shiny, sparkling objects, all the more so if they have sharp points and a real potential for dismemberment.

So knives are a sure-bet— if there’s one in the room, they are going to find it, sniffing it out with the same mysterious sixth sense they have for finding sugar and wrapped birthday gifts. My oldest daughter was obsessed with knives since her early days; if I cut up an apple in front of her she never cried out for a slice, she wanted the blade. Even with cake, it was all about the instrument (well, and the icing).

Like most first-time parents, I knew enough about infant safety to keep the sharp objects away, and now that they are older, I still abide by the no-running-with-scissors rule (scissors are a whole other story — any unsupervised use of scissors around here results in toddler-made haircuts). But I’m letting my four-year-old use a paring knife on a regular basis these days — always with me overseeing her, of course. And it’s great—she helps me prep and cook dinner almost every night. She’s a girl who loves her knife.

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Two years ago, when she first started preschool you can imagine my surprise when, on her very first day, I walked into the classroom with her and there were a bunch of toddlers wielding butter knives. (Okay, not nearly as bad as it sounds. In reality they were three of them sitting at a table, very competently cutting soft, boiled potatoes on cafeteria trays, all under the close watch of a teacher.) But still, it shocked me that this activity was deemed appropriate for people I still don’t trust to even carry a glass of water around.

As much as I stared at the scene in disbelief and horror, my daughter, who’d spent her short life on this earth dying to get a hold of one of these shiny, metallic magical cutting wands greeted it like Christmas Day. She sat down, had a few seconds of instruction on how to properly hold the knife and where to place her fingers, and happily began gutting a perfectly innocent potato.

Ever since then, she’s been happily cutting up soft veggies (steamed or cooked) and fruits (melons, berries, kiwi) along with pastas, breads, and her personal favorite—butter. But she wanted to do more, and when I saw her come at a piece of raw broccoli with her dull knife, I realized it would be safer for her to use a sharp blade. So I started letting her use my smallest size paring knife—always with me right beside her. Now she can cut raw veggies —carrots, celery, cauliflower—and hard fruits. I’m still somewhat freaked out when I hand a sharp knife over to my four-and-a-half year old but as long as she follows the rules my fear is outweighed by the joy of seeing the pride she takes in her work. And being entrusted with something she knows is dangerous boosts her confidence. Plus, it’s nice to have my own prep cook too. (Although she refuses to do onions.)

Our House Rules for Playing with Knives

1. Never play with a knife. They are tools used for cutting food only.
2. Always have a grown-up with you.
3. Hold the knife properly (we do it with one hand, pointer finger on top of the blade).
4. Protect your fingers. I teach them to curve in the fingers they are holding the food with so as not to lob off the edge of a digit. This is the area that makes me the most nervous so I sometimes hold the food for my daughter, or just make sure my veggies are super long so there’s a safe distance.
5. Never take the knife off the cutting board. (I’m trying to teach her to cut while keeping the tip of the blade on the board, chef-style, which is harder but gives her more control.) When not cutting something, always put the knife down on the cutting board.
6. Keep your attention on the knife at all times. Distraction is a real danger when holding a sharp object — say your baby sister comes running in the kitchen with her underwear on her head. You can’t look up until you put the knife down in a safe spot.

I’m not a professional cook or certified childcare provider, so if you really want to school your kids on knife safety, there are lots of good video tutorials and other tips online.

But knives have taught me two things about parenting: first, kids love to do real work (it’s “play” for them) and two, taking the time to teach them to use an instrument properly and with respect saves time in the end.

So sharpen your blades, the kids want to cut.

 

See more posts from Andrea HERE and below!

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I was Googling the following phrases the other night: “babies over animals,” “babies over pets,” and “pets and babies.”

And none of these phrases really brought up the results I was looking for. What I found in cursory searches were ridiculously cute pictures of babies and pets, articles about young women choosing dogs over babies, dating posts about choosing between a dog and a man, Buzzfeed’s grand list of  “Why Kids and Animals Should Never Mix” and a “Baby puke all over dog” video (will not link to that!). Nope, not what I was looking for.

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What I am looking for is help, help with managing a household full of “kids” I love, but ones who can’t help but pee and poop on my day, every day. That is my world right now. Have you had a day/month like that, parents/pet owners?

Has it ever gotten so bad that you’ve had to give up your pet in order to have a better life with your child?

Here’s the lowdown: We have a toddler who we’re raising with a bunch of animals (8-month-old dog, 3-year-old cat and 4-year-old parakeet) — and it is starting to feel like too much. When my daughter isn’t creating a nasty mess somewhere in the house, one of our pets is. It’s like they had a secret meeting when we weren’t looking and decided to launch a weeklong campaign against using their respective bathrooms to drive my husband and me crazy. Most definitely, the cat, Cricket, who we adopted off the mean streets of North Hollywood (not the trendy part), is behind this.

But I’ve done this before, before having a baby — with another set of animals who lived with us in serious bliss for a decade. Actually, our first dog, Pogi, came to us when my nephew was around 1 or so and Pogi was 2, and my parents and sister (she was staying with them at the time) decided it was too much to care for both, so he moved in with us. Birdie, the parakeet, we also adopted from my parents when they started traveling too much. The cat, Sammy, we actually adopted from a rescue because two animals just weren’t enough for me (we also had a couple of tanks of fish, finches and even ducks, too, with us somewhere in that span of 10 years). I am through and through an animal lover, which is also why I chose pets over having a baby for a very long time. Sadly, my loveable trio passed away one after another leading up to my daughter’s birth. It’s as if they knew I needed time to focus on just me . . . and then her.

Now I need to be able to figure out a way to care for a kid and animals and myself all at once. Is it possible? It’s been really tough these last weeks. But I’m going to do my best with my kids, furry or otherwise. I haven’t given up an animal yet. Okay, one kitten in college that went to a better home, trust me. Obedience school for the dog, quality time with the cat, free fly days with the parakeet (while the other animals are behind locked doors) and my daughter being involved in all of these are what my plans are now. But I’d welcome your advice, too. Wish me luck!

How do I raise my animals with a kid? How do I raise a kid with animals?

See more animal-related posts here!

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Animal Talk

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Animals That Rock

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Pet Sounds

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If you have an infant in the house, sure, you’re probably excited to celebrate your first Thanksgiving with the little tyke, but at the same time, you’re probably thinking: How in the hell am I going to pull this off when I can barely get a shower in these days?

Our #1 solution: Get someone else to host.

Our #2 solution: Pick up your Thanksgiving meal from a local restaurant. (Angelenos, we suggest Auntie Em’s! Call them stat.)

But one thing likely missing from the above options is baby-friendly dishes. In that case, you’re stuck, so you’ll have to at least cook some of the feast. No worries! If you’re scrambling to pull off the ultimate first Thanksgiving for you and your baby, we have done some of the work for you, selecting plenty of deliciously divine dish suggestions you can try!

Now enough with the chatter, we’ve got chowing down to do! So let’s take care of the smallest mouth first with three easy tasteful delights exclusively developed by Chef Jeff Parker for Rockabye Baby for your wee babes to celebrate Thanksgiving!

Big Pumpkin” from Lullaby Renditions of Jay Z

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Gourd Day, Gourdnight” from our compilation Good Day, Goodnight

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Pumpkin Perfect” from Lullaby Renditions of P!nk

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And for the adults in the house (although we know you’ll probably sneak a little grownup food to baby because it’s a special occasion) we have courses that you’ll thank us for!

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Green Bean Casserole via Crunchy Cream Sweet

World’s Simplest Thanksgiving Turkey via Food Network

The Great Pumpkin Pie via Sally’s Baking Addition

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls via Pioneer Woman (for Thanksgiving morning!)

Sweet Potato Casserole via Chew Out Loud

 

Do you have more baby-friendly dishes you suggest think Thanksgiving!

Please share them below!

There’s no way to sugar coat it – sharing is hard. It’s tough for adults, so why do we expect kids to do it flawlessly? When I have that last bit of chocolate cake on my plate and my husband swipes it, I want to sock him. And that shirt my BFF is wearing that I want? I might borrow it and never give it back.

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Still, sharing is a crucial skill to develop, or else we would live in a world full of selfish, entitled brats. But before we chastise the young so much, I think it’s important to acknowledge that sharing sometimes sucks. It’s okay, every once in a while, not to do it.

What are the times I cut my kids (ages 2 and 4) some slack from sharing? The following:

1. When it’s a lovey: Every kid is entitled to have one stuffed object in this world that is for his or her affection only. Once designated as “a lovey” said object can only be held, loved, hidden and maimed by its owner. However, this does not mean you can decree that every object in the room is your lovey, as my eldest attempted. One lovey per person, please.

2. Brand-new toys or clothes: When it’s fresh out of the box, I allow a little solo flying time before asking anyone to share. Usually, my girls do it on their own because they quickly realize it’s more fun to play with someone else with the toy. Clothes are a trickier situation, especially if it’s the Elsa dress.

3. Food: You don’t share the food on your plate or in your lunch bag. Mostly likely it’s half-eaten bits anyway. But we do always share if it’s a meal (dinner on the table), or in a box (a container of crackers) or bag (Pirate Booty). And my girls ask all the time if they can take boxes of  seaweed or blueberries or other special treats to school to share with their classmates. The rule there is that if you are going to share food, you have to have enough for all.

I think the school’s rule about sharing is really important: the idea of having enough for all. That’s the main thing I want to instill in my kids—not the forced habit of sharing, but a natural desire to make sure there is enough for all, even when there isn’t. The sight of my two daughters splitting a tiny M&M in half this morning (hey, Halloween just happened, I’m still letting them eat candy after breakfast) filled me with joy. They were sharing—chocolate even—without any big to-do over it.

And it also meant there was more candy left for me.

See more of Andrea’s posts HERE. And here’s something worth sharing…

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Rockabye Baby HQ is based in Silver Lake, which is essentially Williamsburg West, or, in short, hipster central. So we know a thing or two what it means to be “with it” — we’re surrounded by cool parents — which is how we came up with this handy list of signs that you’re a hipster parent.

Take a look and see how you score on the hipster parent scale.

YOU KNOW YOU’RE A HIPSTER PARENT WHEN…

  • You live in Silver Lake or Williamsburg.
  • You gave your kid an unconventional name, or if you did give your kid a common name, you spelled it unconventionally.
  • You drive a Prius.
  • “Organic” is your unspoken middle name.
  • You, dear fathers, sport a biblical beard or well-groomed mustache.
  • This is where you shop in order of preference: farmers’ markets, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods.
  • You Ergo.
  • You’re a mother who breastfeeds proudly in public — with no cover.
  • Your kids wear Toms and so did you, before they became trendy. (Now you prefer moccasins.)
  • You still have a vinyl collection.
  • You or your spouse are or were in a band, filmmaker(s), writer(s) — possibly even all of the above.
  • Your or your partner/spouse or both of you have tattoos you don’t regret.
  • Your or your partner/spouse or both of you have piercings you don’t regret.
  • For your kid, clothing is optional.
  • You own at least 3 Rockabye Baby CDs!

If you checked up to 4, you’re definitely a hipster parent-in-training. Don’t worry, you can still change your son’s name and grow that beard.

If you checked up to 8, congratulations you’re absolutely a hipster parent! You can teach the people above a thing or two about being in the know!

If you checked 11 or more, you’re a whole different level. Perhaps hipster royalty — the equivalent of Brangelina. Perhaps a more fitting comparison would be “Mikeranda.” (If you get who we’re referring to, give yourself 4 free checks as you just moved up a level. ;)

How did you score?

If we missed any signs, post below!

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy…

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Signs Your Child Is Becoming Punk Rock

Oh, how I long for those days when my toddler didn’t talk much.

Now, at two-and-a-half she keeps up with the best of them, her mouth running non-stop, whether she’s negotiating for what she wants (treats, toys, her sister’s shoes) or correcting the rest of us on all our wrongdoings (her favorite phrase is “Mama, you’re wrong and I’m right.”). Sometimes I still need her big sister to translate, but most of the times my little chatterbox is clear and confident in her ability to “use her words.”

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Unfortunately, she often chooses to use her verbal gifts to talk trash. “You not Elsa, me Elsa!” she’ll sling at her big sister, which if you know anything about preschool-age girls you know is fighting words for sure. She also loves to rub in unsettling situations: “Me still have Popsicle, you don’t.” Or to her sisters’ entire class: “I no like you.” Maybe that’s a second-kid thing? Since you can’t physically take the big kids, you gotta prove it by puffing yourself up with insults and boasts?

When she’s not egging the big kids on, she’s entertaining them with the worst part of her trash talk: When it actually gets dirty, and by dirty, I mean scatological. Look, I know nothing is funnier to kids than potty humor, but with her it’s off the hook. “You go poop?” she’ll ask anyone, and then laugh hysterically. “Pee pee, pee pee, poop!” is what she considers a proper greeting at our front door. And when she really wants to drive me crazy, it’s a non-stop chorus from the backseat or the stroller. Other people look at us with great alarm and I am forced to assure them, “It’s okay, she doesn’t need to go, she just likes talking about it.”

At first, I tried to play it cool and not make a big deal out of her excessive potty talk, but then I started wondering: Why is my kid obsessed with her bodily functions? Her teachers reassured me all is normal — in fact, it’s good to be fascinated by all the wonderful things your body can do — but she’s probably mostly doing it because it gets a strong reaction from me. So I was right to play it cool, but, they informed me, I needed to enforce a rule as well: If you want to potty talk, you’ve got to do it in the bathroom. So if she starts in, I take her to the proper place for such conversation.

We are spending lots of time in bathrooms.

Do you have a potty mouth on your hands? Clean it up with a chill-out lullaby like this one:

 

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Enjoy The Silence

See more of Andrea’s other invaluable, not-so-dirty tip posts below!

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How to Say Goodbye

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Rock and Roll Preschool

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How to Keep Kids Busy While You Cook

Dear Adults (or those pretending to be ones),

If you’re reading this post while you’re having dinner at a restaurant, attending a funeral, watching your kid’s talent show or, worse, driving, please stop. This behavior isn’t very becoming of you. It’s rude and, in cases when operating heavy machinery, dangerous. You, too, Mom.

There’s been all this hubbub about how kids and teenagers “check out” when they use technology or how toddlers and babies seem to be the ones disturbing the peace during the most annoying times (give them some Rockabye Baby lullabies to listen to already!), but, c’mon, they don’t know any better. But you know who should know better? Grown-ups. But they don’t. I forgot that.

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After spending most of my nights and weekends with a two-year-old wreaking entertaining havoc (I like her wild, actually), I look forward to those rare occasions outside of work when I can just spend some time with “adults.” You know, those people who are eligible to vote, supposedly can tell right from wrong, and whose conversations (hopefully) don’t involve any potty talk? Yeah.

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The view of Marina Del Rey from the grown-up event!

 

Recently my husband and I attended an event honoring the former governor of California, Gray Davis. It was one of those complimentary valet, classy hors d’oeuvres, silent auction, hosted bar and awards ceremony kind of affairs that grown-ups go to. (While that list of activities doesn’t sound so thrilling, then maybe you too would be driven to some bad behavior.) Well, since they were honoring a former governor we wrongly assumed that people would be respectful and classy. Not a chance.

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That’s a dude blocking our view while Gov. Gray Davis received his award.

It was adults-behaving-badly night; we just didn’t get the memo. Because, while the average age in the room of 100 or so people was probably 55, the majority of them acted worse than my toddler does at public events. Here are my gripes:

1. Line cutting is not cool. With a spread that included pulled pork and sirloin sliders, seasoned fries, mini chimichangas and a mac & cheese bar, among other things, the lines were pretty long once the food stations opened. And where there are long lines, there are cutters. You know who you are; sliding in front of people engrossed in conversation, or engaging someone in line in conversation so you could get closer to the front. (Toddlers can’t stand lines; they’ll just cry and people will send them and their parents to the front. At least they’re just expressing themselves as opposed to being sneaky.)

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That’s Gov. Gray Davis talking while someone’s frying mac & cheese with bacon

2. Please don’t talk once the event starts. Not even your inside voice. Whisper – didn’t your parents teach you that? People were speaking loudly during most of the ceremony. Three or four speakers kicked off the evening and attendees were just gabbing away over them. No shushing or charismatic presenters could get these folks to quiet down. It wasn’t until the governor came out that the talking somewhat calmed down, though he had to contend with the sound of frying pans just across the room. (Party planner, probably best not to have chefs cooking during the presentation. You, adult, planned poorly.)

3. Selfies, too, were happening during the ceremony. And, mind you, it wasn’t like this was a huge crowd. Whoever was on the stage had full view of what everyone was doing. (My daughter despises selfies.)

4. And where there are selfies, there are Web surfers. At least two or three people in the first row of tables were clearly viewing websites, game scores, who knows what, while people were speaking. (See, my daughter would never do that. She’d instead start singing or something, which is much more pleasant.)

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This lady blocked half of the room’s view for several minutes.

5. Don’t block my view, please. Take your photo and move on . . . Isn’t that the courteous thing to do? (My daughter isn’t tall enough to really block anything.)

 

What do you consider bad behavior?