Month: March 2015

“No” Means Everything

Colton cracks me up. At 19 months, he says about two-dozen words, including “cha-cha” (chocolate), “eh-fant” (elephant) and “go-go” (yogurt). He says “bash” for “spicy water”, which is our family reference to seltzer. Such an East coast thing. Seltzer burned my throat as a kid, now I drink nothing but. So Ellison called seltzer “spicy water”. Colton loves it, Ellison doesn’t. So Colton asks for “bash, peaz?” and drinks up. (We make great use of our Sodastream. We don’t put any flavoring in it.) He says “shoes, bat (bath), buh-sh (toothbrush), car, purple and yellow.” But he will not say “yes.” He never hesitates to say “no.” He will acquiesce to offers with a full-body nod, starting from his waist, to demonstrate “yes”. That’s when we TELL him, “Colton! Time for bath!” or “Time to go for a walk.” But if we ASK, “do you want to take a bath?” He says, “No.” Then he skidaddles to the bathroom. Far be it for me to compare my children…but I will. Ellison was a “yes” man. …

Baby Stuff You Gotta Have

I’d love to have some of your favorite “must-haves” for newborns and for toddlers. SHARE THE WEALTH! Rickety swing There’s no need to spend more than $50 on a swing for your kiddo. OK, OK, if you live in more than 800 square feet outside of New York City, you might have the room for something grander. But my $42 swing from Target was perfect. It was just rickety enough that we wondered if it could hold our kids’ weight. But when we pulled it out for the second kiddo, Ellison plopped his 2 ½ year-old, 30-pound frame into the chair, and it held. It clicked, it tilted, it bowed, and it put our kids right to sleep. On the flipside, three other families had luxurious gliders that didn’t rattle their babies to sleep. Use this test: if your swing looks like it’s gonna break, might fling your baby into the air, and seems to bump more than a 1957 Chevy truck on a potholed road in rural Tennessee, then your baby’s gonna sleep like …

Dear Mr. Dolce & Mr. Gabbana,

“I wish I had some Dolce & Gabbana crap so I could burn it.” – One of my witty Facebook friends I usually don’t get worked up by stupidity. Luckily, there are enough hotheads in the news and social media that I can sit back and enjoy the public stoning of broadcast faux pas. Instead I get worked up about nerdier stuff. Like campaign finance reform. But many people have asked me what I think of the recent comments by fashion moguls (and gay partners of 23 years), Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana. First off, I roll my eyes at their “bling” with gold logos splashed all over tacky glasses, bags and clothes. But then I really rolled my eyes when I read their statement that children of IVF are “children of chemistry, synthetic children. Uteruses for rent, seeds chosen from a catalog.” D&G later stated, “Our views are traditional, not judgmental.” I give them credit for sticking their ground and not making public apologies to rectify the vicious backlash against their brand. And semantically …

A Few Words about Surrogacy: Finding our Carrier

When I told my (gay) doctor we were researching surrogacy, he said, “Ugh. I can’t condone that.” I was shocked. I figured this guy would be all for gays and babies. “It’s not about gays and babies,” he said, reading my mind, “it’s exploitation of underprivileged women.” Actually, he said “trailer trash,” which I couldn’t bring myself to write above. But here I go, again…quoting others’ jaw-dropping comments about saintly surrogates. (Quick side not: I KNOW I should be using the term “gestational carrier”. But I’m simplifying to keep this post shorter.) He continued, “You’re exploiting a desperate woman by renting her uterus. Don’t get me started on using women in impoverished countries.” That gave me pause. But it was before my afore-blogged interview, where we learned our agency required surrogacy applicants to fulfill three criteria : Financial comfort. They couldn’t be in need of the money earned for their labors (pun intended). Married. (And their husbands complicit with the process.) Two children. All the women already had families of four (or more). And to …

A Few Words About Surrogacy

A friend pointed out to me the other day, “You have two kids. And not by accident. Like…you’re complaining but you chose to be here. Like there’s no ‘oops, the condom didn’t work’ or ‘oops, my birth control didn’t work’ or ‘oops…’ of any kind. You chose this.” No. Doubt. About. It. So let’s talk about the choices. I knew I wanted to be a father and, furthermore, I was meant to be a father. It was in my cards. My partner was understandably hesitant. He’d lived life devoted to his own goals. So for six months we discussed parenthood. He asked all the right questions. And I had quick responses. What if I’m too selfish? I know you’re not. The way you dote on our dog and even the way you love me…you have too much love to give. I know you’ll melt with a child. I don’t know how to deal with children or relate to them! You’re like Dr. Doolittle. Animals and children gravitate to you. What if I get a conducting …

Judd Apatow’s Pioneer Woman

I don’t know if I make the disclaimer often enough that my complaints about my kids are generated from the 10% of the time they are (Colton is a) monsters. The 85% of the rest of the day, they’re wonderful, fun, happy boys. Of course, 40% of that 90% they’re sleeping. Or, I mean 50% of the original, so that’s really…whatever. Never mind. Math is hard. But still. There are demonic toddlers in the world. Colton is not one of those. He is scarily charming. My French mother says, “He is a seducer. Like Bill Clinton.” That’s a compliment for the French. And he’s easy to calm. Just pick him up and he’s happy. Now that I’ve confessed (absolved?) my guilt for his future therapy…let me complain some more. Over the past year, two metaphors craft my self-image: a lonely pioneer woman and a loser Judd Apatow protagonist. Wonderful, whiny Colton wants to be held all day long. I can’t and I won’t. Colton gets upset when he doesn’t get his way. #tearlesscrying ensues if …