and the joy of walking to school |


Hello folks who have smaller folks,

I've never really perfected summer as a parent. It is always a crazy quilt of whatever camp still had room in May, weird last minute cheap vacations and long stretches of doing nothing, which in this day and age nearly always translates to screen time. Every year I get talked into buying an inflatable pool, which is inflated and filled and the almost immediately abandoned because it's too cold. There it sits getting progressively slimier on the bottom until Fall. But a couple of articles reminded me this week that doing things imperfectly with your kids is still better than not doing them at all. Send me your summer hacks! I'm at and @luscombeland on Twitter.

P.S. If you like this newsletter, please pass it on to a friend. And if you got it from a friend, sign up here for email delivery each Friday. You know, more or less. (Related: this newsletter will take a break from being exactly weekly in July and August.)

No way to sugarcoat this. An alarmingly high amount of baby food has traces of lead. TIME

Hate to be (more of) a bummer, but the data on how active Americans are is also grim. It's not just old people who aren't moving much, it's kids and teens: "In fact, 19 year olds age spent as much time being inactive and sedentary as 60 year olds," says a new study. TIME

Taking your child to school is one of those tasks that you often resent until it's over. This is a consistent theme of parenting. You wish you didn't have to do something any more (make a school lunch, go to a concert/sports game, read that one book again) right up until about three weeks after you stop having to do it. Then you get wistful about it. This is a lovely essay about how one dad solved that problem. New York Times

Is there a difference between reading your kids a book made of paper and and e-book? Yes, say researchers, but that doesn't make one better than the other. Frontiers

What happens when helicopter parents' kids grow up and fly away from the helipad? Well, for one, sometimes their parents offer to sit on job interviews, or even to interview for the job, in place of their kid. Yes, really. New York Times

Lest you were worried that this newsletter had turned unnecessarily sunny, here's another sobering story. The CDC released a study this week that found that African American kids were four times more likely to die of a gun-related homicide than white kids. The remedies for this are all very complicated, but perhaps parents acknowledging the horror of this stat is a start. TIME

Jimmy Kimmel, you might argue, has been one of American kids' worst enemies with his evil encouragement to parents to hide their kids Halloween candy and then pretend they ate it. For this past Father's Day, he became something of an equal opportunity offender, as he entreated kids to tell their fathers that they loved them, as loudly as possible, at inopportune moments. TIME

PFFT: Parenting from Famous Types

Christopher Hitchens, writer and father of three

"To be the father of growing daughters is to understand something of what Yeats evokes with his imperishable phrase 'terrible beauty.' Nothing can make one so happily exhilarated or so frightened: it's a solid lesson in the limitations of self to realize that your heart is running around inside someone else's body. "

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