Why This Woman Froze Her Eggs at Age 39

Easter eggs/Flickr.com

Easter eggs/Flickr.com

The pros and cons of egg freezing have topped the headlines since Apple and Facebook announced last month their intentions to offer the procedure as a health plan benefit. While some applauded the move for allowing women to take charge of Mother Nature, others said the announcement signaled that these companies want women to spend their childbearing years slaving away in the office instead of starting families. But the debate over egg freezing ignores how deeply personal the decision is, making it unlikely to be influenced by external factors alone. To shed light on why some women make this choice, I spoke with a Los Angeles-area acquaintance I’ll call “Meg” about what prompted her to freeze her eggs as she approached 40. Continue reading

How Preschool Has Changed in 30 Years: A Teacher Talks

Preschool Mural Photo by Luis Vidal/Flickr.com

Preschool Mural
Photo by Luis Vidal/Flickr.com

To say that preschool has changed since my mother, Abby Vance, began teaching tots 32 years ago would be an understatement. In 1982, she’d never met a vegan child, most mothers preferred formula to breast milk and preschools didn’t offer cultural enrichment courses.

All in all, they provided no fodder whatsoever for comedy writers such as Jason Shapiro. His Twitter feed of the fictitious Los Feliz Day Care lampoons 21st century preschools where Meatless Mondays are every day; superhero costumes are forbidden, as children should be “heroic through social action;” and spiders aren’t squashed but “euthanized.”

Shapiro is far from the only one to notice this sea change in preschool culture. In her 2011 short story collection You Are Here, author Danzy Senna takes aim at an exclusive preschool where the annual fees costs more than state college tuition and only “Google-worthy” families need apply.

So, when did the laidback day cares of the ’80s turn into the hyper competitive juggernauts of today? I recently spoke with my preschool teacher mother about the trends she’s seen over the years in the Chicago area and her tips on how parents can help their kids succeed during the pre-K years. Here’s what she had to say: Continue reading