Month: February 2019

“Second Grade” Makes Me Shudder

I’m astounded at the level of learning my second grader is experiencing. I don’t remember reading chapter books in second grade. I barely remember knowing my ABC’s. I certainly didn’t know how to calculate complicated word problems with the inexplicable American coin system, and I sure as hell wasn’t doing multiplication. So I’m impressed. As my second grader grows every more independent (read: irascibly defiant), I constantly think, “Was I this way in second grade at age seven?” And then I remember: I have very little recollection of second grade, because for me, second grade was dealing with a father who was at death’s door from his long-suffering cancer and a mother who was loving but tremendously distracted, as well. And after my father’s death in November of second grade, the rest of the year was dealing with being “Gavin, the kid whose dad died, this year.” That’s quite a realization I’m trying to absorb. Every single time I say the two words, “second grade” I’m transported to a year of sickness, accidents, falling, crying, …

Kids: Bend the Rules

I’m a rule-follower because I think society operates better when we are all on the same page. And at the same time, life’s tough; we all need to give each other a little help from time to time, right? And sometimes rules need to be bent. Check out my entitled rant… I rode my kid to a swimming lesson on our Yuba bike. For once, we were on time. The swimming lesson takes place in a community college swimming pool, so 7 year-olds and their dads are not the top priority. Upon arrival, I realized I’d forgotten my bike lock key. (Long story, but I ride this bike so rarely I stupidly took the key off my keychain thinking “I’ll definitely never forget to bring this.” And for me to ever say “’l’ll definitely never forget this” is a laugh line to beat all laugh lines.”) Anywho. I walked into the pool entrance and charmingly asked the security guard, “Could I please stash my bike in the corner, here?” Readers – I promise you, it …

Ignoring My Little One

My blog started out as a fashion/parenting blog of unsolicited opinions. Then, I got distracted by just complaining about how difficult and needy was my youngest son. For the last year, or so, all I do is talk about my older kid. And not one of you has requested updates on my younger, needy little tyke. How dare you. But so I don’t seem like my entire world is consumed by my older kiddo, let me report to you: my youngest is the bee’s knees, the cutest, the cuddliest, the most sickeningly adorablest, smiling-est, most wonderful little kiddo in the world. I’ve never been the type to state, “I could just eat him up.” But truly: I wish I could devour this little guy. I love both my children equally.  (Yeah, right, you’re snidely thinking….and justifiably.) But my little one gets extra points for sheer cuteness. He sits in our laps to read books, climbs in bed and snuggles in the morning,  has an impish grin that melts hearts the world round. Years ago, my …

Wait – Is this for Me or Them?

(Disclaimer: this is a long overdue follow-up to my ballet missive from a few weeks ago…reading that first will make a helluva lot more sense.) And then I think, “Wait. I don’t even want my kid to be a ballerina/o. I’m just a cheap SOB who wants free lessons at the most prestigious ballet schools in the country!” (Also, it’s fun to take lessons in the same building as Julliard.) But still – ballet teaches total conformity. No one may stand out, you’re a member of a corps-de-ballet and complete anonymity is the name of the game. I have even experienced that in certain Broadway shows – when you’re part of an ensemble, there might occasionally be time for showing acting expression. But in big dance numbers, wrists need to be uniformly flexed, arms inconspicuously stretched, and jumps need to be measurably consistent. The ensemble often is not a place to stand out – and certainly not in ballet. In my tiger dad moments, I obsess over wanting my children to be leaders, take risks, …

Kids: Please Don’t Follow (too many) Rules

I’m nice and I strove to please my teachers. But nice people who please teachers don’t paint the Sistine Chapel. They don’t break sound barriers. They don’t develop Apple Computers, right? Crazy people who break rules and smash conventions do big shit. I say that I just want my kids to be happy. But also kind. And smart. And independent. And creative. And change the world. No pressure, kids. Of course I want my kids to be trailblazers. Like the kids about whom the teachers throw up their arms and say “what am I going to do with you?” And then they end up being Einstein. But aren’t genius/artistic/world-changers often miserable, asocial sad-sacks destined to substance-abuse who cut off their own ears and live within prisons of their own artistic genius? So then will they be happy? Maybe we should just hope for nice. But am I trying to raise  nice kids? Those rule-following, vanilla, boring goody-two-shoes? (Who wants to be nice, anyway? Nice is so…insipid. Do you ever want to share a drink with …