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Best of 2009 Silicon Valley

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One Child Left Behind. It was bound to happen. My schedule changes so frequently. Working three days of the week, son in kindergarten then off to afternoon care, daughter in daycare. Two days a week I am home: toting the boy to school, caring for the baby girl, then back to school mid-day to pick the boy up. Add to this that my husband, who works as a cameraman and TV editor, is frequently traveling, and also has a schedule that changes day to day - and let's just say if we didn't have a giant white board telling us what to do next...we'd forget what to do next. And so it was inevitable that the moment I would find a free minute to spare for myself, something would go dreadfully wrong. I spent that minute checking in on my garden.

I should mention at this point that thanks to No Child Left Behind (ironically) my son doesn't go to our neighborhood school but instead goes to a school about 15 minutes away. So...GASP! I was a bit stressed and admit I was crying for most of the drive. I got to the school. Mother's Day Matters. My kids always make a fuss over me on Mother's Day. And I love it. I don't care if it's a day manufactured by the florists and Hallmark.

To me it's the most important holiday of the year. It's something to celebrate. I don't care if I get flowers or a card. I care about the sentiment. I take it seriously. It started mattering the year I had the most memorable Mother's Day of my life. I wasn't even a mother yet. I was a freshman at Cornell. It sounded really cool. My boyfriend drove me from upstate New York to the city---6 hours in his old red and white VW bus. I abandoned my jeans and wore a cute outfit specially for the occasion---with a matching floppy hat. When I arrived in Miami, I took a taxi directly to Jackson Memorial Hospital. I was so enamored by my jet set lifestyle that the hospital selection never sent up a warning light in my brain. Continued on the next page. Dear Boy Scouts of America, Shoot! Dear Boy Scouts of America, My son is a seven year old Wolf Cub in California. His troop sold your popcorn to make money for your organization.

I felt bad about selling such a terrible product, what with the GMO corn that is now linked to infertility and the high fructose corn syrup that is a main contributor to obesity and diabetes - avoidable conditions his troop leaders emphasized during the Food Pyramid meeting last year. I felt bad each time my son, suited up in his blue polyester uniform with badges this non-ironing mom had safety-pinned to his sleeves, rang a neighbor's doorbell and asked them to buy popcorn. What was I doing letting my son sell this crap to people? He didn't even care about the fund-raising part of it. First he fixated on the temptingly pictured iPod, until I pointed out that it was sitting in a cradle with speakers and that the iPod didn't actually come with that prize.

Continued on the next page. Halloween Candy Count Reaches Triple D. This year’s Halloween haul hit a new high for our family. In an effort to minimize the intake, I knew I was going to have to act quickly. I didn’t realize it was going to require a tactical assault. Thinking I was awfully smart, I proposed a simple trade. You give me 20 pieces of your candy and you can choose any book from Barnes & Noble. It seemed fail-proof. I triumphantly accepted his candies and as I surveyed his stash, I realized that he completely bamboozled me! Clearly, evasive action was going to be required.

As I stashed the stolen candy in the laundry room, my husband asked, “You’re not going to throw that away are you?” Continued on the next page. Yes TechCrunch, Oprah And "Social Medi. Twitter is Bad For You. I hate twitter. There, I said it. Anyone care to join me in shouting out (twitter-ing!) That the social-messaging micro-blogging emperor has no clothes? We all use it. We twit that our house is too cold. We twit that we're picking our son up from school. We twit that we're eating a sesame bagel, toasted, with cream cheese, tomato, and cucumber. Who reads all these messages? Can we all just twitter the question: who the twit cares?

Don't get me wrong... Twitter is the coolest global intercom system ever invented. Let me just say it - twitter is bad for you. Say what? Eckhart Tolle, in his picked-by-Oprah book A New Earth (a follow-up to The Power of Now) says if you can stay "alert, still, completely present, not wanting anything other than that moment as it is - then you make room for Being.

" Um, aren't we human beings? Tolle's point is that life happens in the present moment. One Garbage Bag Later: The Beauty Of A. There are countless kind, child-friendly ways to get a little one to clean her room. But none of them are working, today. It's time for some Tough Love action, kiddies. The Bug is at the age where she can dress herself in something suitable for the occasion, even if it’s only marginally fashionable. This also means that she’s discovered she can change her clothes on a whim. On my way to quick-change my shirt, I discover the real reason for the syrupy sweetness. “I’m too tiiiiiired,” she moans, and flops atop the pile with a huff of faux exhaustion. But I have one more trick up my sleeve. After lunch, I remind her once more to clean her clothes off the floor. Continued on the next page. Who's Afraid of Second Grader? During my first stint as yard duty, I realized I didn't have as much authority as I should have. Of course this meant that for my second go-around, I wanted to convey plenty.

I positioned myself near the monkey bars and slides. The apparatus gave me plenty of opportunity to exclaim "One way on the bars! " and "Don't climb up the slide; only slide down! " "I'm not here to be their friend. At one point, I headed over to the curly-slide. I wanted the kids to follow the rules, but I also didn't want to make them feel upset for being told not to do something. Finally an aide stepped in. She used a forceful voice, "John. Of course it dawned on me that my friendly smile didn't jive with my instructions. Continued on the next page. Scabies, Strep Throat, H1N1, and only. We have been in Kindergarten for about three weeks now. It seems every week we are greeted with another exposure or health notice.

No I am not in kindergarten, but Margo is, and if she is exposed to some strange illness or other, so am I. That is why I have been in Kindergarten three weeks now. Margo's first health notice was a statement from the Santa Clara Health Department that they would not report the presence of H1N1 in her school but treat it like any other flu. Their greatest concern is that our child would stay home an extra 24 hours fever free prior to returning to the class room. This was an easy report to read, no worries, I had long decided H1N1 was a nasty flu and decided not to panic. Week two and a new notice is provided, this time on a pink sheet of paper. Week three, SCABIES , yes scabies, your child has been exposed to scabies.

The prospect of this vermin touching her twin kinder. The health notice said we might see an infestation within 1 - 6 weeks after exposure. It’s between me and Santa. There is nothing quite like that magical feeling you get when you walk into your home at night in late December and see that the only lights in the house are those adorning your Christmas tree.

Having been out all day caught up in the marketing of the holiday season after numerous forced purchases, I arrived home with both children asleep in the car wondering how I would ever manage to get them into the house and back asleep. As I carried the younger of the two into the house, I had one of the moments reminiscent from my childhood, all was quiet, and for a moment, a very brief moment, I felt as if I was five years old gazing up at the Christmas tree. It was the kind of reflection that enabled me to remove myself from all those things I dislike about the holiday and reflect upon the simple moments of peace, solitude and gratitude. This year has been anything but an easy one and yet we are lucky to have a healthy family and steady work. Continued on the next page. Sanctimommy or Safetymommy?

I don't like Sanctimommies. You know, the parent who knows, beyond a doubt, the best way to parent her kids and everyone else's — even though she knows nothing about you or your situation — and doesn't hesitate to let you know it. Sanctimommy takes many forms. She's young, old, male, female, parent, grandparent; she can even be childless. She's everywhere. There was the time when she stood in front of me at Costco and peered into my shopping cart. Her eyes and her smile grew very big. And there was the time I was commenting on the crown her daughter had made while we were waiting for our kids to come out of class: "Hey, the kids made crowns today! She pops up when you least expect it. Continued on the next page. If Adam Lambert Does It, Why Can't My. This summer, I’ve been traveling around solo with my children, ages 4 and 8, more often than usual. After flying from the West Coast to the East Coast solo, we decided to spend five nights in a hotel near our former hometown in NJ.

I planned the visit last-minute, so the days quickly became jam-packed with lunch and swimming and playdate invitations. To keep things sane, I decided to schedule the middle evening “off” and lured my daughter, Petunia, with the promise of an in-room spa date in the hotel room. Her little brother, Dash, a.k.a. “me too,” was happy to comply. After a stop for spa snacks (M&Ms), we stopped at an Ulta store to pick up supplies for a mani-pedi party. I chose my favorite red (OPI’s “I’m Not Really a Waitress”), my daughter chose bright pink (“Shorts Story”), and my son chose bright royal blue (“Blue My Mind”).

Dash was so proud of those blue nails. Continued on the next page. Confessions of a Mini-Van Mom. All I want for Christmas is... time. I can feel it coming. The email. The one that comes every year a week or so before Christmas, sometimes earlier. "What do you want for Christmas this year? " It'll come from one sister, the other will be CCd, and I'll let it sit there for a moment before I click Reply All. In the past my reply would have been filled with a variety of things that could easily be found online or in stores. This year though, I think my sisters might have a bit more trouble with my list. Here's what I want for Christmas. 1) Time. 2) A cleared off to do list. 3) A clean and organized house. 4) A wonderful school district right where we live.

Continued on the next page. The Name on the Diploma that Matters. My 17 year old daughter came home today telling me about a conversation she had with a couple of her friends. They are all seniors in high school, and are at that stage in life where they are discussing colleges, their future, and apparently passing on judgements. We live in an affluent area, and our high school is top notch. It is a Gold Medal School as listed in the Top 100 High Schools in the 2009 US News and World Report. The children reflect the values of their parents and peers, and it is maddening to hear what the children are saying as if it is coming from their own brain, but I know it is from their parents.

My daughter's friend inferred that her choice of attending a State College versus a private or UC (University of California) school meant she had less drive, less capability and less intelligence to get into a "better" school. Continued on the next page.