Re: Teen parents

1

It's got to be more based in class, economic status, maybe ethnicity, and access to birth control, and I'd think only the last of those reasons would have a strong regional connection.

And... religiosity?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 5:51 AM
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Oh, sure, if you want to point out the easy one.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 5:55 AM
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And cohort effects and cost-of-living and immigration patterns.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 5:56 AM
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I think we should try to bring shotgun weddings back. It would probably help reverse the trend toward super fancy, expensive weddings and reduce the number of ice-cream-and-playground dads. Plus, guns are very popular right now.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 6:06 AM
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I guess what got lost in the OP is that my original reaction was "Actually, all the UMC/MC families we know have 1-3 kids, and we're the outliers" which made me assume that she'd based her statement on seeing big, Latino families at the grocery store? Her kid attends a very small, local charter school.

Maybe 1-3 kids is noticeably bigger than Brooklyn, where 3 kids is rare?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 6:13 AM
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People will notice if you just use any old shotgun. The shotgun you choose to get married at the point of really says a lot about you as a couple; it's worth thinking hard about what kind of shotgun is going to create the best memories of your day.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 6:13 AM
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5.last: can't speak for Brooklyn, but 3 kids is pretty rare here. Off the top of my head, I don't know any family in our daycare with three kids.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 6:14 AM
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Because they'd be paying 6K per month! (But really, at that point they'd switch to a nanny, no?)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 6:19 AM
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I suppose an alternative to 8 would be kids that aren't spaced quite as tightly as ours are.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 6:19 AM
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6. On the strength of this write-up I would recommend the style conscious teen wastrel to get married at the point of a Browning.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 6:20 AM
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I don't know, I'd say the pro-life ideology definitely drives adoptive placement, which I generally think is a bad reason to make that choice, but single parenting is complicated as far as I can tell. On the other hand, maybe half of my high school classmates seem to have at least one child and maybe more pre-wedlock and many of them are still raising their children Catholic, so clearly it does something. I guess I just see more nuanced types of single parenting and don't want to make it all about just one thing or something?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 6:20 AM
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Anyway, maybe people do have more kids here, then. Three kids is not as common as two, but it's not super rare.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 6:20 AM
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11: I think you're inverting the premise. It's not trying to account for all of single-parenting, so much as saying "what happens to unplanned pregnancies, as pro-life sentiment ramps up over the years?" and concluding that they have ended up as single parents. (Pretend there was subject-predicate agreement in that sentence.)

Do you have any idea how adoption shakes out among different ethnic groups? I'm just curious. Ie is there a taboo against or predisposition in favor of putting an unplanned baby up for adoption, in different religions or cultures?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 6:25 AM
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On the other hand, once my high school released the restriction that only seniors were allowed to stay enrolled if they were pregnant, suddenly there were students in all grades with pregnancies. (You could stay if you were placing the child for adoption and could study at home and graduate if you were a senior, but I think if you got married you were just plain out because you'd chosen to be an adult or something. WTF? And this is the kind of thing I mean about adoptive coercion being gross, though I work with a woman who gamed the system and kept her child with a foster family long enough to graduate, always saying to the school that she intended to sign the adoption papers but wasn't ready yet. She refused to send that child or any following to Catholic school, at least.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 6:26 AM
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I think the only person I know around here with three kids or more is a commenter here.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 6:26 AM
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reduce the number of ice-cream-and-playground dads

Certainly one possible outcome of a shotgun wedding, but I always had the impression it was pretty rare.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 6:28 AM
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13: Yeah, it's almost entirely white women (and now some Latinas, which speaks to the religious/cultural pressure) and they're vastly not teen parents but women in their 20s and 30s who are already single parents in poverty and know they don't have the resources to care for another child. I think that must really do a number on the children they're already raising, especially since open adoptions are the norm now, but it's hard stuff regardless. There's a big social pressure in the black community not to have your baby adopted by strangers, but some black women do still choose to place babies for adoption, but in way disproportionately small numbers.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 6:29 AM
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I've got the impression that in your part of the world, poverty is much whiter and more religious than in Texas. Whereas in Texas, the super baptists aren't necessarily super poor, and the poorest (in this region, anyway) are more likely to be Latino and Catholic.

This may be why religiosity didn't pop into my head, as opposed to "access to birth control" - that I associate the former with rhinestones and not being super poor.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 6:34 AM
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Not that plenty of minorities aren't poor in your parts, of course.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 6:38 AM
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"My part of the world" is kind of skewed by how much of my life is foster care-related. I don't think there's actually a ton of religion at the girls' school or not in a super active way, though I'm sure plenty of parents define themselves as Christian. But there are tons of single parents and blended families and it's a combination of cultural acceptance and probably lack of access to affordable birth control. But if you're going to be poor and jobless, you might as well do it with someone who's going to love you, right? One of Mara's classmates last year was one of I think eight and didn't even know all his siblings' names, but that's not quite the norm. (On the other hand, I guess Mara's one of eight on each side and that doesn't seem all that weird either.)

I'm trying to think of how many black lesbian couples in our church have only one child. Not many, and I don't think any of them were choosing as a couple to have children. So that's a whole other dynamic that seems normal to me even though it sort of isn't.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 6:40 AM
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Right, I was thinking of your larger state as opposed to your local scene.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 6:42 AM
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And none of my former classmates are what I'd think of as poor. Most of them have had family support, free babysitting, that sort of thing. The only one who was making a big deal about being poor also had all sorts of other sketchy non-poverty-related stuff going on, but most of the Catholic single moms I see on facebook have much better social lives than I do even if they have the same number of children. I don't believe any of them were deliberately skipping birth control, but do think abortion probably felt unacceptable to a lot of them.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 6:43 AM
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So the black lesbian couples mostly have more than one? Or none?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 6:43 AM
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I would say way more of them have more than one than have none, but some of them are doing kinship care and many have kids from their days trying to be straight or being on the street on drugs or whatever, several have lost kids to foster care. We are not out of the ordinary with three kids, and there were several single moms (straight, as far as I know, but who knows?) with 3-4 at church yesterday. One friend and her wife are raising her ex's teen daughter from a prior straight relationship even though the girl's mom is now in a relationship with a man, because the girl feels like they're the most stable force in her life and most likely to help her get the education she needs.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 6:46 AM
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There's actually a good book about black lesbian families that meshed pretty well with what I'd have to say about the dynamics involved. You still see a lot of crazy shit like calling mom's "roommate" "Aunt Whatever" and having to pretend that you don't know why they share a bed, but I have friends raised by lesbians of various races in the '80s who went through similar weirdness and have seen the cultural understanding improve.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 6:48 AM
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They share a bed because the other bed is the Lesbian Death Bed.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 6:52 AM
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Some places are very expensive to have kids. Houses are expensive and often people don't trust the local school system. I am not surprised that money is a key limiting factor for many.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 6:55 AM
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Since I'm facebook-anecdoting, I friended a girl I was close to in HS who's one of 14 children and was surprised to see she's a super-hardcore Catholic with constant anti-abortion and right-wing political posts. I'm not sure how long I'll get past her filter. She also seems to be divorced and have maybe 3 or 4 kids.

In my office, all white, 12 women, 2 men, there are only three women with 0 kids, oneplans to adopt once she's gotten over her divorce, one who isn't having kids period, and one who never planned on kids but has totally fallen for her fuckup sister's children and is plotting ways to get custody if it ever comes to that. Five have been single parents at one time or another and only one raised only one child. The rest of us span from 2-4, plus there's the youngest one in the office whose wife is pregnant with his first but who tentatively plans to have more. We work for a family-friendly company and it's a decent job for working parents so I'm sure that skews it, but this is what the middle class looks like in middle America in large part, I think.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 7:07 AM
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It's got to be more based in class, economic status, maybe ethnicity, and access to birth control, and I'd think only the last of those reasons would have a strong regional connection.

"Families in low cost of living areas with lots of Mexicans tend to have more kids than families in Brooklyn" is probably almost always true. Loads of kids around here of course, what with what I just said plus all the Mormons.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 7:19 AM
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she's a super-hardcore Catholic with constant anti-abortion and right-wing political posts... She also seems to be divorced

Epic fail, I think.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 7:19 AM
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25: did you read the (long) NYT magazine article a while back about that blues singer (Geeshie Wiley) whose identity had been thought lost for decades? It revolved interestingly about attitudes towards lesbian relationships in black families in Texas over the past eighty years or so.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 7:23 AM
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30: Annulled and she kept the last name? It doesn't seem like the sort of thing you can just ask! Obviously she's not dating around like a slut or anything!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 7:23 AM
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31: No, and now I've used up my free access for the month. I'll go look and see if I can find it! I think there's a lot of really interesting work to be done on black lesbian history that hasn't been even to the extent that white lesbians' has been. (Oh good, the Times is letting me in rather than giving me the "Fuck you for clicking on that Siri autism article without checking where it would take you!" response I expected. Yay!)

There's a lot of probably class-based as well as race-based stuff where at some point bigoted parents are just happy their daughter is with someone who treats her well that they're willing to get over the fact that that person is a woman, which is clearly not the position heebie's friend is in. I know Lee's high school girlfriend's parents (a white family) now wish they hadn't broken them up and persecuted Lee, because Lee was so clearly superior to the guys who came after. But there's already that saying about how as a black person in general you have to work twice as hard to get half as far as a white one, and once you add being black and gay on top of that you're expected to be pretty damn great to pass that bar when you're also carrying the kind of stress that leads a lot of people into self-destructive outlets.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 7:30 AM
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In my world, and also in Brooklyn, large families are associated with Orthodox (or Hasid or similar subgroup) Jewish sects. I'm guessing that the former Brooklynites Heebie knows weren't close to that community.

Another subgroup among lawyers with large numbers of offspring, but not necessarily large families depending on how you count, are the alpha males on their third or fourth wife.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 7:30 AM
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33: This it it. Plausibly if you click the link from here it'll work.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 7:31 AM
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Seriously, the ten article cap has cut down massively on how much I click through to the NYT. I'm not opposed to paying, but vaguely feel annoyed about all the login/sign up crap it will entail.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 7:32 AM
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There we go:

When you visit an NYTimes.com article from social media sites (such as Facebook and Twitter), blogs, NYTimes email newsletters or our Email This tool, it counts toward your monthly limit of 10 free articles. You will still be able to view these articles, even if you've already reached the monthly limit.

So it'll work for you, one, and two, heebie, you should obviously just post any articles you want to read.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 7:36 AM
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36: You can get to 30 if you use 3 different browsers. In my case that's Firefox, Safari and Chrome.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 7:38 AM
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Installing IE to get to 40 is a bridge too far.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 7:40 AM
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39: I would agree! Besides, I don't think that there is Internet Explorer for the Macintosh anymore.

So PC users might have to live with 20 articles by using just Firefox and Chrome.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 7:45 AM
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You can put Safari on a PC.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 7:53 AM
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41:Wow. Look at that. It's been at least a couple of years that you could do that.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 7:59 AM
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A decent number of the families I know with three kids are families that went for a second kid and ended up with twins.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 8:12 AM
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Small families in NYC is completely about real estate. Even three-bedroom apartments are comparatively rare and expensive, and bigger than that is a huge hassle to find. (The four of us are in a not-quite three bedroom, with Newt violating the certificate of occupancy by sleeping in a room with no window).

It's not exactly the same issue, but I've got some extended family in a red-state milieu that runs to early marriages in a not-exactly-shotgun-but-sorta kind of way (that is, some of the marriages were correlated with and almost certainly motivated by pregnancy, but not all of them); not so much that premarital sex is absolutely verboten, but that early marriage followed by fairly predictable early divorce is sort of the responsible path as opposed to dating/fucking around in one's twenties. I disagree with that ranking of responsibility, but that's definitely the thinking.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 8:21 AM
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early marriage followed by fairly predictable early divorce is sort of the responsible path as opposed to dating/fucking around in one's twenties

The disintegration of the divorce taboo over the lifetime of Generation X is quite a remarkable story, and I wonder if anyone has told it in a comprehensive way. I would buy that book.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 8:36 AM
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(The four of us are in a not-quite three bedroom, with Newt violating the certificate of occupancy by sleeping in a room with no window).

Newt's (future?) pick-up line: "I've been an outlaw all my life."


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 8:41 AM
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35: Holy shit, Sifu, that is like the greatest fucking article I've ever read. It is incredibly sad and moving.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 8:43 AM
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Yeah, it's really something. His earlier story on Geeshie (and his book of essays generally, but anyhow) is also very good.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 8:58 AM
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34.1 was my first thought. They obviously didn't move from Borough Park. Cost of living and general UMC-ness would seem to explain 99% of the effect.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 9:14 AM
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Sifu's locality has famously absurd daycare prices but around here 2 kids is around the break-even for nanny vs. daycare. (Trust me, I have reason to know this.)


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 9:18 AM
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Around here, you also have to be in the top-most income quantile to pay for childcare for two kids and be cash-flow positive.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 9:21 AM
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38: I do that just fine on my computer, but on my ipad I'm too lazy to. Anyway, 37 helps.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 9:21 AM
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47 is totally right. And yes, I am really fascinated by the indirect ways people signal homosexuality, not that it's something I'll ever get to research. But I wonder how many researchers missed that sort of thing by not knowing what to hear. (I'm reminded of one of my first times meeting Mara's aunts and how one of them went on and on about how grateful they were that one of Mara's close relatives was a "tomboy" because they'd previously been worried she'd follow a family tradition and end up pregnant as a teen, and that was pretty obvious but I could see someone else writing it off as hyperbole or something, grasping at straws rather than using code.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 10:32 AM
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did you read the (long) NYT magazine article a while back about that blues singer (Geeshie Wiley) whose identity had been thought lost for decades?

You might also be interested in this (pdf) Harper's article which talks about "Last Kind Words Blues." It doesn't have anything to add about Geechie's life, but it's another good article about the sorts of people tracking down old blues music.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 11:02 AM
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Forgot the link. This article (pdf).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 11:03 AM
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53: I'd have missed that myself. I was something of a tomboy as a kid and am straight.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 11:06 AM
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Prior relevant story from Samoa.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 11:13 AM
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53 I've seen similar stuff in rural, moderately religious communities (by Canadian standards, not southern-US standards). "Friends" who live together because they divorced and it's cheaper, or so the story goes. Often highly committed church members, and the community does a fascinating dance of simultaneous knowing and not-knowing. In one particularly adorable moment, I had one member of the couple (of 70+ yr olds) obviously trying to sell me on the "it's just cheaper/more convenient this way" spiel while the other proudly told me "we've been together 10 years!".


Posted by: parodie | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 11:17 AM
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That sounds less "adorable" and more "one of them is hitting one somebody while not telling the other."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 11:20 AM
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58, 59: I knew sisters who did that. The youngest got married at 82 (her sister had died at 100 a couple years earlier) to a man she had fallen in love with years earlier when he was married. She sold that house to her grand-nephew as soon as she could.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 11:27 AM
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That was less than clear. It was cheaper, but I don't think it was a lot of fun.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 11:28 AM
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Often highly committed church members, and the community does a fascinating dance of simultaneous knowing and not-knowing.

We had this situation with two never-married women in my little hamlet growing up. They were universally known as "the old maids".


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 11:32 AM
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I worked with 3 adult sisters (youngest in her mid 30s, and oldest in her mid 40s) that all lived together with their mom. It should have been cheaper except it wasn't because they had purchased another house (I think the idea was the new house would work better for their mom, because she wouldn't have to go up steps) but then never got around to moving -- apparently they had tons of stuff. That situation lasted at least for the 3 years or so that I worked with them.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 11:37 AM
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15- It figures I skip a thread where I'm mentioned. And I was just noting this weekend at the other place how cool it is that I've now produced my own forward line for playing hockey.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 11:38 AM
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38 et al.- It's like you've never even heard of incognito/private browsing. Turn it on, read 10, turn it off, turn it on, another 10!


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 11:41 AM
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64: do you have an in to the secret local giant families club? HOW MANY OF YOU ARE THERE?!?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 11:44 AM
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65 is not the reason most of us use incognito/private browsing, right?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 11:46 AM
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It's unusual for people to use 4 or more browsers.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 11:57 AM
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65 is not the reason most of us use incognito/private browsing, right?

It's the reason I do!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 12:06 PM
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Me too, actually, but I don't do it at work in case that's something they're screening for.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 12:08 PM
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I have a cow-orker with 5 kids. Otherwise the connections we have to other large families are via interest in also buying large offspring-carrying bikes.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 12:13 PM
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via interest in also buying large offspring-carrying bikes

I recently saw a family riding a four-seat bike in PDBS - mom, dad, and two kids. So not a large family, per se, but definitely a large bike.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 12:33 PM
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I see your quad and raise you one. That was spotted in use at the last Boston Hub on Wheels event, end of September.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 12:40 PM
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I am thinking that day care costs are not going to be the deciding factor for a family that can buy a fifteen thousand dollar bicycle.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 12:47 PM
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Maybe they spent all the money on the bike.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 12:50 PM
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65: But I'm on my ipaaaaaaaaad. Ie I don't know how to do incognito browsing on it.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 12:58 PM
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76: This'll do.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 1:02 PM
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76- Safari? When you click the little show tabs icon on the bottom right and it goes to tab-scrolling mode, at the bottom left it says "Private" which can be highlighted or not. If it's not, click it to toggle to private mode. I've read dozens of NYT articles on my phone and unless they're back to back to back the count always resets.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 1:04 PM
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And if your finger doesn't make a clicking noise, I hear that touching or tapping on the screen will work too.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 1:04 PM
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78: On my iPad, it's upper right for show all tabs, then at the upper right above the broswer windows, you get "+ Private Done" as options. Mine's the dafault setting for OS8.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 1:15 PM
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You can also pinch with two fingers to show all tabs.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 1:17 PM
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Thanks, all!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 1:30 PM
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Only partially related, I was discussing Bleak House and Dickens in general with a friend on FB and did some googling about the conditions of orphans in the Victorian era. Holy crap there were a lot of foundlings . .and orphans . . and children abandoned well after foundling age! Dickens was, unfortunately, not exaggerating. :-( Too many annoying anti-vaxxers then too.

(My honey and I are listening to Tale of Two Cities as an audiobook at night before we go to sleep. I read it when I was 9, when it seemed to represent a fantastically cruel and unfair world, he hasn't read it at all. Is it bad that sometimes I find myself envying the revolutionaries? )

I remember back when I was still slightly residually tempermentally, if not politically or legally, pro-life and y'all sought to educate me, someone smart noted that many women do not consider adoption a good option b/c it hands the responsibility to a system is not always credible about being worthy of it. Not that I ever think I'll be in this quandry, but it sure would be nice to be able to get some sort of evidence-based read on that worthiness on a local system-by-system basis, perhaps grouped by the baby's demographics.


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 10-20-14 2:29 PM
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I just ran across this reproductive rights-focused view on domestic infant adoption.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 10-21-14 7:29 PM
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