Helpful or Hovering? Draw Your Own Line

Now that school has started, I'm faced with similar decisions every day: Do I lobby to get Josh the teacher he wants for AP Environmental or step back? Do I rummage through Ryan's backpack for papers I need to sign or let him get a zero if he doesn't follow through? And the big one this week: Do I follow up with the mother who threatened to go to the dean if Ryan calls her kid a mean name again (which he denies) and try to keep her calm, or do I let the school's anti-bullying system take its course?

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Here's the Dish: Wash Your Own

Putting away bulky All-Clad pans following a recent dinner party, my fingers came across a layer of goo. Not goo, really. Grime. Grease. Whatever the word, my shiny stainless steel über-cookware felt unclean. I suddenly felt a surge of dread. "I washed serving dishes at Norine's barbecue yesterday," I remembered, sickened. "Now she'll know."

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Thanks for the Thanks

This girl got it right.
My beloved R, who is no angel, was allegedly part of a group that acted disrespectfully during a classmate's bat mitzvah. I'm told the girl knows little of the gang's what-were-they-thinking behavior but her mother's in the loop--and understandably disgusted. What do you put in a thank you note if the standard "I'm glad you could celebrate with me" is a lie?
How about this: "Thank you for the money. It will go towards my future." Honest, and sort of adorable.
Good for her and her mother for taking the high road and sending a thank you note.
www.RonaGindin.com

In a Manner of Speaking

"Shame on you!" my friend reprimanded her daughter at a kid's soccer game recently. "Walk behind people's chairs, not in front of them." WHUH? Once again, I discovered that I have bad manners. I've been to dozens upon dozens of soccer games in the last 13 years, and it never once occurred to me that I would obstruct parents' views by strolling by as they as they cheer on their goalies and defenders. It's common sense, right? Not to me.

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All Manner of Bad Manners

On a warm spring evening in front of a friend's house, I hurried with my 13-year-old into the car and shut the door. "Did something happen at the bar mitzvah?" I asked. He calmly said no and asked why. "B's father just called Daddy over to talk privately and he looked somber," I explained. "If something's up, I'd rather hear it from you."

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Rona:The Rest of the Story

You'll find restaurant updates and recommendations on my website, but I have to be careful there: Stick to the theme, stay politically correct, etc. Here I'll let loose -- about being a mom, a wife, an angry consumer or an elated editor. I'll be honest and I beg you to be too.