Month: June 2015

I’m With the Pope

Before I became a parent, I had dinner with some co-workers whose children I found admirable. When I asked, “What’s your formula for success in raising kind, engaged, intelligent children?” They responded, “They watched no TV.” Oh. Bummer. I intended to teach limits, not be a TV Nazi. But they went on, “They watched plenty of DVDs. They just didn’t watch commercial television, so we avoided ads for buying toys and candy.” Smart. Very smart. I’m reminded of this every time my son goes down a rabbit hole of acquisition requests: “Daddy? Can I get a little ‘Scruff’ [a friend of Thomas] for my birthday and a ‘Glitter Glider Sleeping Beauty’ for my birthday and a ‘Zoe Zebra’ stuffed animal for my birthday and a racetrack for my birthday and four pink donuts for my birthday and the ‘Jasmine’ princess movie [Aladdin] and ‘surprise eggs’ for my birthday?” Thank goodness he’s accepted the “maybe for you birthday” mantra and doesn’t scream, “NO! I WANT IT NOW!” But still. He will go on and on and …

Dressin’ Up as Daisy Duke

A dear friend wrote a touching piece about her son who currently dresses in skirts and flowery shirts. She makes several points we all intrinsically know: Girls are encouraged to dress like boys, not vice-versa. Boys who dress like girls are shamed, bullied, etc., which is intrinsically misogynistic. What a preschooler wears doesn’t mean anything about gender or sexuality or proclivities. It makes them happy. So who cares? I venture to say anyone reading this blog accepts these points easily. My friend’s piece took this conversation an illuminating step further by highlighting her pride in her son for emulating the dynamic women in his life. Why shouldn’t he celebrate women, right? Boys celebrate Spider-Man, Elsa, Curious George, Dora and Clifford; why not also surrounding girls and women? Before my friend published her piece, we discussed her son’s interests and our worries about cultural context and self-expression. And I was a little flummoxed. I wanted to say, “It’s all good. Don’t stress it, just let him have fun and express himself and see where it takes …

Unphoned. Untethered.

I’ve shattered four phone screens since my oldest son was born. Each time it was my fault. After the recent destruction, I gave the phone to a cell phone harlequin who quoted a replacement of $79.99. During the waiting period, I took the kiddos to…wait for it…the playground. The fountains were on, the birds were out, I had coffee. It was idyllic. Both boys scampered into the fountain to splash and squeal. And this is what I thought: I don’t have my phone. Ah. Then four seconds later: What am I going to do? How am I going to occupy myself? What am I supposed to do? Single-task my children by watching them? Wait. Gavin: enjoy it. This is freedom. Breathe deep. Hmm. The the fresh, urban, dog-urined, exhaust-filled scents of mother culture. But it’s alright. It’s familiar. Gaze up at the trees. Wow. Trees. So tall. Green against the blue sky. That’s my favorite color of green. This would make great Instagram material. Oh, wait. And the blue is beautiful…the top of that one …

Canine Crisis…the NEXT Final Chapter: FROM POOP TO PEE

A few months ago I wrote about life feeling like an endless shit storm…literally. And by “literally”, I mean literally…my two (still-diapered) kids and my feculence-challenged dog. Now that my older son is diaper-free and the dog is on a schedule where I regularly express her bowels (gag), life feels much less shitty. Pun intended. Now it’s pissy. Madison’s acupuncturist (yes…her acupuncturist…everyone says it’s the best treatment for FCE…and by “everyone”, I don’t mean the Google) suggested we stop expressing her bladder, thereby stimulating her nerves to regain some control. Meaning: with patience and timing she pees intentionally about half the time. It also means she pees unintentionally half the time. Particularly when she’s excited and I haven’t timed it well, she’s standing one second and squatting the next. Only, because of her neurological issues, she can’t effectively squat, so she walks as she squats. Meaning: she leaves a trail of pee. And if she loses control in the apartment, she knows she’s doing wrong, panics and ends up peeing in lines (or circles) on …