Tag Archives: Tween

“Jaw With John” – Adventures In Teen Babysitting

My twin 13-year-old daughters earn a few extra dollars baby-sitting neighborhood children.

After my daughters completed the daylong Red Cross baby-sitting class last summer, I sent an email to a few moms who live close by, advertising my daughters’ services. I set their hourly rates at $8 an hour for one baby-sitter, or $12 an hour for both girls to baby-sit.

My husband and I both feel these are appropriate wages for their age(s) and services. The girls only baby-sit a few times per month because homework, sports and social activities are greater priorities.

After baby-sitting fewer than 15 times (for no more than two children at a time, ages 4 and older) they are complaining because their peers are making $12 an hour (which is true).

Since the age of 6 my daughters have received an age-appropriate weekly allowance for doing a short list of chores. The amount grows each year with age and responsibility. I urge them to save a few dollars each week.

Every so often, we make a trip to the bank, and they deposit their savings. I don’t badger them to do their chores, and some weeks they earn little or nothing.

I’m not sure what to do about the discrepancy between what my daughters and their friends are earning for baby-sitting. In our affluent area, I know that $12 is the going rate, but I wish it weren’t.

Should my daughters negotiate with their clients for higher wages? Should I set some parameters if they earn more money? What is the right thing to do in this situation? — Perplexed in Suburbia

Dear Perplexed:

When I was their age I was only making $5 a week by taking out, and bringing back in, the trash once a week. $8 an hour sounds pretty damn good to me.

If these kids want more money then they can negotiate their desired new price with their clients. You could present the argument that by charging less they could earn more than their counterparts. But that only goes so far as they could wind up working more hours, but still earning less than their friends.

You have already started them on the right path by having them deposit their money at the bank. If they do end up earning more, advise them to only withdraw what they need and keep some money stored away for a “rainy day” or emergencies (I don’t know what kind of emergencies 13-year-old girls would have but it’d be there in case).

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“Jaw With John” – Sleep-Away Camp Isn’t like ‘Sleepaway Camp’

I’m almost 15 years old. My parents signed me up for a one-week sleep-away camp this summer. I am looking forward to this, except that I don’t like being away from home.

Ever since I was a kid, I have had high anxiety in new situations and I don’t like being away from home.

When I was 10, my parents sent me to this camp for the first time. I cried a lot the first few days but then started enjoying myself.

Now I am able to handle short trips away from home, but I worry about what will happen at camp.

This time, I have my younger sister to look after, and I won’t do her any good if I am upset. I’m trying to be positive.

I have missed out on several opportunities because of this problem. I don’t want to make a fool of myself by crying at camp. What’s your advice on how to handle this situation? — Anxious

Dear Anxious:

Take my friend Garth Algar’s advice and “Live in the Now!” You will kick yourself after if you hampered your own enjoyment and you’ll regret those days and nights you spent crying that you weren’t home. Being homesick is completely natural and nothing to be ashamed of, but don’t let it consume you and get out there and enjoy yourself and make sure your younger sister does too.

You’re almost a young adult, which means soon you’ll be going away to college which is the ultimate sleep-away camp. And completely unlikeĀ Sleepaway Camp, unless there’s a murderer running around…Anyway, these camps are great experiences to prepare you for that, when you will be away at college, and you will meet new people and experience new and exciting things. Get out there!

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The Dome & A Dolphin, Uniquely Japanese

As I have already experienced, nighttime and dusk is when Tokyo comes alive. Taking a trip out to the Tokyo Dome to ride the Thunder Dolphin was no different.

The Tokyo Dome is a MASSIVE stadium home to the Yomiuri Giants and I was excited to see the stadium and see what was around the venue. It just so happens that these Giants share the same colour scheme as the hated San Francisco Giants, so there was NO WAY in hell I was going to purchase any gear with players names or hats or anything else with the word ‘Giants’ on it out of sheer principle.


That being said, I was hoping that we could possibly take a tour in the stadium or possibly take in a sporting event that was going on at that time. Sadly, the only thing going on there was some pop concert that had what looked to be every single tween in Tokyo waiting beyond the gates and talking with their friends waiting for the gates to open. This clogged up the walkway and it was difficult to navigate through the sea of tweens to get to our final destination: The Thunder Dolphin.


I don’t think I have ever been on a roller coaster that, literally, goes through a building before, let alone one that is in the middle of a city. As a roller coaster enthusiast, I knew that the Thunder Dolphin would be an awesome experience just by looking at it. It was a simple process of purchasing a ticket from the kiosk and then waiting in a line. The line is a tad slow, but that is only because there is only one car that runs on the track at a time. While waiting in line the ride operator shows you a list of items that you can and cannot bring with you on the ride. Luckily there are pictures just in case you don’t speak Japanese.


Before you are strapped in you must put your belongings into a locker coinciding with your row. They provide a key attached to an elastic band that fits snugly around your wrist so it doesn’t fly away. No hats, glasses or watches are aloud. Trust me, they will tell you to take them off if they see them. Just do what they ask the first time so you can experience the ride sooner rather than later. Once strapped in, the ride operator in the control booth gets everyone excited and holds up a plush dolphin and everyone gives a good yell of excitement.

This is where the fun begins.


The car slowly lurched up the ramp with a loud CLAK CLAK CLAK and we looked to our left and right out at the city below and just as the car reached it’s zenith my friend said “The [expletive deleted] Japanese are crazy!”, then we plummeted at a near 45Ā° angle, felt weightless and then were slammed into our seats as we shot up at break-neck speed. The track bent left and right and went through that hole in the building from the image above and went up and down and all around until we were back at the ride entrance and everyone was laughing and smiling with joy and excitement after experiencing such an awesome ride. It is a must-see & must-do for anyone visiting Tokyo and any roller coaster lover.

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