Month: September 2014

SON, DADDY SCREWED UP

Remember when Ellison and I were “dressed from the future?” Well, on our return from that trip, standing in the security line, Ellison melted down. It was understandable. He hadn’t napped. I withered in front of the French travelers tsk-tsk’ing me with masterful condescension. No sympathy for this dad traveling alone with a kid. I’d held off giving him his pacifier until absolutely necessary. It was now absolutely necessary. Frantically I searched the diaper bag, but I found only one pacifier. I’d lost four over the trip. This one happened to be a newborn pacifier: for Ellison’s newborn brother. Uh-oh. I handed it to him. He looked at it and chucked it across three lanes of security traffic. I ducked under dividers, between people and started to sweat profusely. I offered the paci, again. He took it, looked at it, screamed and tried to throw it, but I swiped it back. He swung his hand toward mine and successfully knocked it away. Again I crawled between French people to retrieve the paci. Mercifully, we soon …

6 Do’s and 3 Don’t’s When Expecting

Some very close friends are expecting babies, right now. Here’s some of my uncommon knowledge for them before their lives are wonderfully destroyed by blessed rugrats… 1. DO sit around playing mindless games on your phone and indulging guilty pleasures. You won’t have time for it ever again. Or if you do, it’ll only be for 17 seconds after you lay in bed, flip on your phone, pretend to “catch up”, and immediately fall asleep. 1. DON’T read any “expecting a baby” books. Trendy, “latest research” factoids muddle your brain. Seek advice from friends, and know that your parents’ example (or your friends’ parents’ examples) will be enough to get you through the first few months. 2. DO buy basic baby gear, but limit the rest. The basics: diapers, food, changing pad, swaddling blankets, sound machine, teething “chew toy”, baby swing, car seat, baby carrier (like bjorn, ergo or moby) and a stroller. That’s all you need, especially at the beginning. Babies have spent their first months in baskets, mangers, drawers and padded boxes for …

Dressed from the Future

It was my French surrogate mother’s 70th birthday party. (Not the same kind of surrogate carrier who gave birth to my sons. Since my parents are gone, she’s an adoptive kind of mother.) She’d planned this bash for two years: an all-day garden party in the rolling hills of Normandy with everyone dressed in 70’s clothes. I don’t do costumes. I’m an actor. I dress up all the time for my job. I bah-humbug Halloween and I don’t do costume parties. I don’t like wearing vintage clothes because they’re always too tight on me (apparently I’m bigger than anyone who ever lived in the 60’s or 70’s) and they smell. But a 70’s costume party in France? Americans invented the 70’s. Everything cool about the 70’s – bell-bottoms, BeeGees, “the Bump”. Nineteen-month-old Ellison and I had to be the best-dressed, there. (Because Colton was only two months old (and a preemie), my partner elected to stay home with him.) I really wanted to be a white-jumpsuit-Elvis. I was informed such costumes don’t exist anymore, don’t …

First of my “Coping (in style) Cues”

Alright, folks. A new section I’ll call “Coping (in style) Cues”…my formula for how I keep my head above water and lessons I hope to instill in my sons. What gives me the right to dole advice? Eh. It’s my blog. For starters: It’s not a “conversation” if you don’t ask about the other person. Texting is not an appropriate way to apologize to a person or cancel an appointment. Call. (And then send a follow-up text.) The other person probably won’t even answer, anyway. The other person (and your reputation) is worth the effort. Eye contact and a smile (however insincere) go a long way. (Dedicated to the service industry of New York City.) You can never over-thank or over-apologize. (Well, sorry. You can, but that would have to be a seriously excessive amount. But even over-thanking or over-apologizing shows you appreciate the person you’re thanking or to whom you’re apologizing. Sorry about that. Thanks for bearing with me.) Pedestrian traffic is the same as car traffic. Don’t stop in the middle of the …

MOM’S NIGHT OFF?

When Big E was seven weeks old, a friend invited my partner and me to an antique auction in Nowheresville, Connecticut. My first auction. I’m always game for “firsts”. There were hilarious (shocking) items for sale. Of note was a box of lawn boy/mammy figurines, including a 7-inch Aunt Jemima iron doorstop. Not all of Connecticut is Martha Stewartville. We ended up buying a 5-foot tall gramophone. It collected dust for two years, then we donated it to a flea market. But I digress. Big E got fussy, predictably, when serious bidding began. So I took him into an adjacent room where a woman sold hot dogs, coffee and cookies. She had a mullet half way down her back. On her sweatshirt was an airbrushed wolf howling at the moon. It was awesome. Not that I’m furthering rural stereotypes, but across the street was a drag racing track. Anyway. She ooh’d and ahh’d over Big E and marveled at me keeping him quiet. We made small talk about regular baby things: birth weight, sleeping, etc. …

TO MY SONS: DON’T BE A KID LIKE ME

I just spent a weekend on Nantucket crashing on a friend’s couch. He’s the artistic director of the Theatre Workshop of Nantucket. Hey, it’s who you know. We passed the island elementary school several times. Seeing it took me back to the summer I lived on Nantucket during college. It was my “black-and-white-Abercrombie-and-Fitch-catalog-summer-on-the-beach;” debaucherous and delectable. I worked as a camp counselor for Strong Wings. Every morning kids congregated at Nantucket Elementary at 7:45. We counselors would ride bikes with ten eight-year-olds trailing like ducklings. We’d go to various points of the island to kayak, hike or build “extreme” (really big) sand castles. My most indelible camp memory was of a kid named Clay. It’s illustrative, if boorish, to call him a “weenie”: chubby, whiny, always holding up the group, and most likely to lose the key to his bike lock on the beach. I hasten to say he was very sweet. Forgive my use of “weenie”, but I bet you’ve got a vivid picture. Clay drew the most mockery from fellow campers with his …

I Don’t Love You, Daddy

So Big E wakes from his afternoon nap (after his first day of preschool) and proclaims dispassionately, “I don’t love you, Daddy”. I knew this would come, but before he’s even potty-trained? I looked at him bemusedly (perhaps condescendingly) and responded, “Well, I love you, buddy. And I always will.” “I want some water. Not in a big-boy cup. In a sippy cup.” So I guess we’re back to normal.  

Chapter 6: Blind Pitching

I emailed our bag drawings to a friend who organizes a dads-and-kids club. He responded immediately and said, “You need to talk to my friend, Amy Meadow. She’s a fashion consultant.” “But, wait,” I texted. “What did u think of design?” “It’s awesome!” Phew. Validation is nice. I’m such an actor. I called Amy. I pitched my idea, talked about my own search for a cool diaper bag, and made self-conscious disclaimers about my own un-stylish jeans-and-t-shirt aesthetic. Over the phone I could hear her typing. “Ohmigod, this is a great idea. I can’t believe it doesn’t already exist. Ok. We can talk more, but my expertise comes in later. First you need to talk to my friend, Julia. She’s an international bag sourcer.” “Thanks so much. This is awesome. Um, also, because I’m so fashion-unconscious, do you think I should start subscribing to Vogue Men, or something, to be more fashionably aware?” “No. Your naiveté is refreshing. Hold onto that. And go call Julia.” Phew. Less tedious work for me. I’d rather remain naive, …