Friday Frivolity - Boo To You

We hope you and your little goblins have a wonderful Halloween weekend and that the snow does not impede your fun.  For a good laugh please read this piece by Maria Semple in The New Yorker about the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead.  Thanks to Amy and our friend at Google for sending this our way.  Enjoy the weekend!

Redshirting - The Last Conversational Taboo

There are, it seems, these days very few topics modern parents must avoid when making 'pleasant conversation' with people whom they do not know well.   Race, religion, politics, sex, reproduction - all fine.  But whatever you do, please save yourself (unless you are someone who just like to stir the pot and see how far you can get people going) and do not bring up REDSHIRTING.

Redshirting (in case you live on the moon) is the increasingly common practice of delaying kindergarten for children who turn 5 any time after April (assuming a September 1 cutoff for kindergarten).  As wealth disparity grows in the US, elite colleges take smaller and smaller percentages of applicants, academic expectations shift downwards ('first grade is like seventh now), and parents read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell this practice seems to make sense.

And then! Just when everyone is on board with the concept - research and articles like this one, Delay Kindergarten at Your Child's Peril  pop up in the New York Times and the frenzy begins all over again.

'So why is this such an incendiary topic?' a mannerly mother with the excellent fortune or insight to only give birth between October and February, might ask.  After all, who cares what other people do?  Do they honestly think it will make that much difference?  Don't these minor advantages in kindergarten even out by middle school?  If a red shirted child is valedictorian of her high school class, has she usurped that honor from the rightful heir in that age group?  What about those coveted spots at elite institutions?  Do colleges look at birth year? What about the child's self-confidence?  Is there academic data supporting this approach?  What about the parent's emotional baggage?  Does a red shirted student have a better chance of getting a scholarship? A better job?   Really doesn't it all come down to everyone wanting to do what is best for his or her children?  And the controversy lies in what he/she believes that to be.  But again, probably not the best questions to ask in a getting-to-know-you sort of way.

Of course the editors here at M4MM can not begin to advise you on the merits of either approach - we are just here to help you avoid this conversational minefield - should you wish to do so.

Lester Bangs: What, are you like the star of your school?
William Miller: They hate me.
Lester Bangs: You'll meet them all again on their long journey to the middle.

Photos from Google Images and Almost Famous web site.

Are You Wearing Pants?

While perhaps a bit remedial for our seasoned and sophisticated readers, the question "Am I wearing Pants?"  can be a tricky one to answer in these anything goes times of lycra, leggings, jeggings and just plain forgetfulness.   Wonder no longer mannerly modern mothers!  Thanks to the below flow chart discovered on the Huffington Post by our tech guru Amy and also brought to our attention by Alison over at Daily Outfit, you will never need to doubt your pant status again.

Flow Chart from Huffington Post designed by Amy Sly

A Thank You Note to Steve Jobs

We wanted to take this opportunity to agree with the kind and witty thank you note Stanley Bing of Fortune Magazine recently wrote to Steve Jobs. It is everything a thank you note should be; sincere, thoughtful and entertaining.  Thank you Bing for saying it so well.  And thank you Steve for all of it.

You can read the note here.

Images from Google

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