Month: March 2016

Skin in the Game

At a recent family get-together, I was lucky to have a conversation with a distant in-law who’s a 27-year Marine Corps Colonel. Several times he’s been considered for a generalship. I so looked forward to chatting with a colonel. That’d be a first, for me. After small talk about summer vacations and Broadway shows, I cornered the colonel in a quiet moment to say, “Hey, um…I rarely get the chance to talk to people who’ve served as long as you. I have some burning questions that’d probably be best discussed over multiple bottles of wine. Do you mind indulging me?” “Why, sure. Go ahead,” he said. “I’m shocked how few people ever ask me about the military. It’s like no one cares. That’s the problem these days: the country, as a whole, doesn’t care. Or they inform themselves through Facebook articles. But no one ever asks me about my actual experience or opinions.” “That’s shocking,” I responded. “I’m embarrassed that I can count on one hand my acquaintances who’ve served.” The colonel nodded. “The biggest …

Savage Children

Recently my boys and their friends were beating the shit out of each other. A group of families from our preschool had a group play-date using Imagination Blocks (my computer’s freaking out and I can’t insert hyperlinks. But having immediate visual of Imagination Playground Blocks isn’t something to lose sleep over.) Predictably, our wild ones used the foam blocks and cylinders to wail on each other. We parents let them get some rough-housing out of their systems as we marveled, “They really are savages, aren’t they?” That prompted more questions: “Is violence in our fundamental nature? Should we just let them go at it? Are we adults repressing our violence? Do we grow out of it? Should we indulge or deny it?” Watching the kids reminded me of my favorite college philosophy professor. She was a quintessential Boulder, Colorado, hippy: long, gray hair parted in the middle, ragamuffin dresses, Birkenstocks, patchouli aroma. I miss that world. Anyway, she marveled to the class while discussing the formation of societies: “I allow no play guns for my …

I Lie to My Kids. It’s Cool.

There are a lot of behaviors I didn’t expect from my kids for another four or five years: Rolling their eyes at me. Telling me they don’t love me, anymore. Saying “Nothing! And stop asking me!” when I ask “What’d you do at school?” And, “You’re going out in that?” And I definitely didn’t expect lies for another few years. I guess it’s my bad – after all, I began lying to them at a young age. It began with the stellar (unsolicited) advice I received from an old lady at the playground (who writes her own blog, Life Lessons From an Old Bitch. Seriously.) Her: You want some advice? Me (in my head): No, crazy lady. Her: Lie to them. Me: Jigga-what? Her: Just tell them…“I don’t know who made the rules. But those are the rules.” Me: Laugh. Dispense with my disrespect for a wiser generation. Her: I mean it. I don’t know why it works. But it works. Just lie to them. They believe everything. Me: For example? Her: When they say …

A Little Poop. (And Other Stuff)

Last night, both my sons were taking part in a favorite activity: dancing naked after a bath. They aren’t nudists. Some kids drop trou (trow?) the second they walk in the door. Ours merely love shaking their hips and slapping their hynies to “When Will My Life Begin?” My older son sort of twerks and slaps each butt cheek chanting, “Look at my body! Look at my body!” I can’t help but laugh. (Also, he does it perfectly in time to the music. So: nudist, lewdest musical genius.) And then my youngest son sat on one of his riding trains, grinned at me and ripped an epic fart that (due to his spread-cheek placement on the plastic vehicle), echoed throughout our apartment. I laughed. Hard. But then there’s the constant verbalizing of bodily functions. Stopping my kids from saying “poop”, “penis” and “pee” are not an issue. It’s more than that. They chant and scream and change song lyrics to the aforementioned taboos. My youngest recently screamed, “Daddy! Need napkin!” Me: “Buddy? How do you …