Year: 2016

Just Be A Normal Boy!

My kid’s complete obsession with princesses has not been a phase. It’s grown exponentially since he was 2. Anything with girls and pink and sparkles grabs his attention…from Strawberry Shortcake (shoot me, now) to My Little Pony (trample me, now.) Is this a genetic thing for kids (boys and girls)? An as-yet-undiscovered “pink frills” gene? And my kid’s passionate expression is impressively creative: blankies become boas, sweat pants are inverted around his head to become two braids cascading down his shoulders, skirts turn into a fierce blow-out. My son is Little Edie with a skirt-turned-turban on his damn head. Sometimes I want to shout “Just Be A Normal Boy!” (Don’t worry. I stop myself.) Instead, I vent to you, here; and the monstrosity of my intolerant thoughts becomes abundantly clear…for the entire internet, instead of just for my kid. I’m sure there’ll be no repercussions, whatsoever. But I realize my problem with his choices is my own latent self-loathing. The truth is: he’s doing what I wanted to do as a kid…twirl in beach towels-as-dresses. …

Disney Poisons My Kid

How I miss Thomas the Train.I never imagined typing those words.  To quote my older son: “I’m excessed with Disney princesses.” Truer words, son. Truer words.  I loathe those princesses.  To clarify: I’m totally fine with the veritable pu-pu platter of princess dolls he received for his birthday. What drives me ape-shit crazy is the inane conversations about dresses and hair accompanying this excession.  The princessification of our lives began with those damn YouTube videos featuring grown-ass women playing with princess “magic clips”. Seriously: they manipulate impressionable minds by opening toys shipped direct from Mattel and make videos. They’re the “Saturday morning cartoon ads” of the 2010’s. (Notice the above video has 84 million views. She must be loaded and I’m chiding her. Who’s the idiot?) It’s free advertising for Disney and (apparently) these grown-ups gain self-respect based upon their “likes” and “views” playing with toys. Worst of all, their dialogue consists of nothing more than: “Look what a beautiful dress Cinderella is wearing.” “Ooh, isn’t Anna wearing a beautiful dress?” What this woman is doing merits …

I Tried, Donald. I Really Did.

Hi, Mr. Trump. I’ve given up on you, already, and I’m a really patient person. I gave you the benefit of the doubt by trusting your word that you’d be a president for all Americans. I thought you really wanted to #draintheswamp. I thought you really wanted to change how Washington operated. And I thought you might be interested in hearing from the more than 50% of Americans who did not vote for you, but whose interests you’d still like to serve. But when you fill the already-acrid swamp with Washington’s least-qualified, blatantly corrupt and most entrench operators, my world-wide movement (with 3 followers and 2 independent postings-besides my own) feels pointless. You used to brag about being a mover and shaker who controlled politicians. Now you’re becoming their pawn. You’re filling cabinet spots with people who divide instead of unite. I thought you’d care about being well-rounded and serving all interests. But nope, you’ve continued to be the hateful, tone-deaf caricature of a cartoon politician…just like in the election. So I don’t care about …

Election 2016: Less about Hate, More about J.Lo

Oops. I’m a dumbass. And so’s the Democratic Party. We both forgot the immortal wisdom of J.Lo – to be “Jenny from the block.” For my entire adult life, I’ve stated that I’m a Democrat because I believe the powerful will always take advantage of the people. Traditionally, the Democrats represented the people, the Republicans the powerful. As I’ve reflected on the election (for every waking moment since Tuesday at 11pm), I’ve gone through familiar stages of political maturation: How could so many people be so hateful and stupid? Maybe this will be good cuz the Dems will come roaring back in 4 yrs Maybe, just maybe, this will be OK cuz Trump has been pretending to be a dipshit. Oops, nope. He’s recruiting the most insider-y of insiders to form his administration. Wait, why did so many people switch from Obama to Trump? The economy’s really strong, right? Oh, wait a minute. Economy’s strong, people are unhappy. What’s up? And then I remembered: it’s the economy, stupid. Jobs. Jobs. Jobs. Economic indicators indicate that …

Trump. My President.

Yesterday was my grief day. I pledged I’d be back on my feet, today. Don’t get me wrong…everything that Donald Trump embodies is what I teach my children to avoid. I hate him. And all of the hateful violence and harassment we’ve seen against people of color, immigrants, gays or people of different political stripes is un-American. (Also: I hope between now and January that Trump is convicted of all the crimes for which he’s accused and ends up in jail. Then again, Pence would also be a nightmare. C’mon Electoral College reflect the majority vote, stage an electoral coup and elect Hillary Clinton. Please.) But today, I’m moving forward. Because Trump won the most (Electoral College) votes. He is going to be President. So let’s figure some things out: I might be fooling myself, but I do have hope. He is educated (I didn’t say smart), he grew up in a city of diversity (c’mon Omarosa, minorities need your out-spokenness, now), and let’s hope he returns to his (formerly eschewed) “New York values” (assuming …

Label-less and Limit-less

Over the last year I’ve had several conversations about sexual identity and gender orientation, a topic difficult for anyone to grasp, let alone our black-and-white culture. It usually begins, “It’s great you’re letting your son wear a dress.” And ends, “Do you think he’s gay?” And then I go in a mental tailspin. “What does it mean that my son wants to wear a dress? Does it mean he’s gay/transgendered/confused/abnormal? No. It’ doesn’t mean anything. He wants to wear a dress. In the end, maybe he will be one of these things, and maybe not. But why label or limit him, now? He’s 5, for Chrissake.” I try to shrug it off and be Zen. Many parents in the U.S. have already tread this path….evidenced in blogs/news/facebook/life. A boy in a dress is not that big a deal. Aaaaaaand…it still scares the shit out of me. I don’t want him to be teased. I want him to feel safe. And confident. And supported. And un-boxed-in. And this all comes from my own experiences. I came …

My Son Wore a Dress for a Month. Nothing Happened.

So my son wore a dress for a month in France. Nothing happened. (Why we were in France for a month is explained, here.) I anticipated my older son (he of the “anything-princess” persuasion) would want to don frocks the entire time. So I let him. Some Americans might think of France as a bunch of WWII-losing philosophical wimps who eat cheese and are lax in the morality department (ergo they’re “kinda gay”). But in reality, theirs is a traditional, macho culture where men are men and women are objects of beauty. In some ways, the French lag behind the US in terms of sexual equality and gender identity. Gay couples can marry, but only since 2013. They do have parenting rights, but surrogacy is absolutely interdit. And little boys in dresses? That’s something you see even less in France than in the US. Further, it’s a land of conformity where people avoid bothering others. Don’t speak too loudly in restaurants, don’t touch anything in stores, don’t color outside social lines, and make sure you dress …

French Summer, Part Deux

I should make the follow-up disclaimer to my last posting: the trip to France was (of course) fantastic. Aaaaaand…I took a leap of faith that all my relationships would survive the American invasion. There’s the saying, “House guests and fish: after three days, they start to smell.” And I went there for a month. We spent most of our time between two idyllic houses in extreme-rural Normandy. One house inhabited by two 70 year olds and one house inhabited by a young family with a 3 yo. Chickens and cats ruled both roosts.We were barely in cities, at all. So there was no time for Daddy to sit around in cafes sipping coffee, smoking cigarettes and pretending to be intellectually literary. Instead, I spent my days nagging: “Stop running through the house,” “Don’t chase the chickens,” “The cat doesn’t want to be picked up,” “Don’t touch the flowers,” “Don’t jump against the safety net on the trampoline,” and “No. You may not trap the cat on the trampoline, zip yourselves up with her, and traumatize …

What Was I Thinking? (Summer edition)

So I’ve been radio-silent because I went to France for a month. With my two sons. Where I was the only one who spoke English. In a house occupied by two 70-year-old people whose only tolerance for children has been one freakishly-calm French granddaughter for maybe 36 hours at a time. And I’m bringing two American boys, accustomed to burning a path of destruction everywhere they go. They break shit just to break it. Did I mention this was for a month? In a place where children are to be seen and not heard? On Instagram (that frustrating filter of fabulosity), I see big ol’ bloggers who must have been sponsored to take their families to the Italian lake district and sit around taking precious pictures of their perfect lives. This, that was not. I took my kids to the rural cousin’s house to be Daddy-Day-Camp-Counselor in order to avoid being Daddy-Day-Camp-Counselor at our own home. In the weeks before our departure, I started to panic: What have I done? What grown adult chooses to …

#letsbebetter

I’m embarrassed to have remained Facebook-silent about the tragedies in Baton Rouge and St Paul and Dallas when I’m frequently outspoken about other issues. It took me a few days to formulate my thoughts in the hurricane of disgust and depression we all feel. My simple thought is this: why are we so damn afraid? FDR had it right declaring fear the only thing we have to fear. But from the most recent tragic shootings in the forefront of our minds to the all-but-forgotten massacre in Orlando, our society is just so afraid. And of what? We Americans are literally inventing reasons to kill each other. Yes, there’s the 1%ers and climate change and job loss and globalization and economic downturns and cancellations of The Good Wife. But we are the country of shining cities on a hill and streets paved with gold. We are the emulation of the entire world. Everyone wants to be us.* And yet we are so very afraid. Whites are afraid of Blacks. Southerners are afraid of “Northern aggression”. Northerners …