Author: e.c.knox

Proud to be “Worst Daddy in the World”

“You’re the worst daddy in the world,” was stated, yesterday. Not the first time I’ve heard it. Thankfully, I haven’t heard it much (yet). But as a friend reminded me, it probably means I’m doing my job. Why’d I receive such 5yo vitriol? Because on a rainy Saturday afternoon, after offering my sons to veg out in front of the TV, I made the stipulation they had to clean their room, first. Now, listen: I’m no neat-freak. I don’t like dirtiness, but I don’t mind messiness. However, I won’t abide a bedroom that’s trashed with dress-up clothes, princess castles, Legos and monster trucks. I’m asking for the very lest, kiddo: shove your shit into the big toy baskets and clear the floor. I’m not asking for hospital-tucked sheets, folded underwear drawers or toothbrush-scrubbed window tracks. Nope. Just clear the floor 80% and you earned your special TV time (no more than ½ an hour. Let’s not get crazy, people.) So, on this Father’s Day 2017, I pledge to my son to earn top-billing as “worst-daddy-in-the-world” …

Happy Father’s Day, Mom.

On Father’s Day, I’m reminded I’m the mom. Not in the ignorant person asking, “Yeah, but which one of you is the mom?” way. That has a connotation of “which one of you is the girl?” I resent that. We aren’t that superficially categorized. But I guess the semantics need simplification. I’m confusing myself. Lemme explain. My partner is the one who knows how to “just be” with our kids. He’s the one unperturbed with sitting on the bedroom floor, letting them toddle about, babble, sing, and play. He’s agenda-less. He lets the kids come to him and welcomes them with open arms, hugs, tickles and tolerates their make-believe. I’m the agenda-follower, vegetable-force-feeder, schedule-keeper, nighttime routine follower, iPad shunner, project-manipulator, muddy puddle-avoider, quiz-annoyer, list-checker, freaker-outer, frustration-succumber, unnecessary battle-seeker-outer, tear-causer. But not him. One of our favorite bedtime stories (Little Boy…check it out. It’s perfection), ends with the statement, “Little Boy, you remind me how so much depends on days made of now.” And my partner lives that. He’s able to be in the “now”, let …

I’m not Racist, but…

A few months ago, after my four thousandth reading of Pinkalicious, I closed the book, and thought, “Man. If I were an African-American father I would be disgusted by our book selection.” Pinkalicious. Vanilla Icing Icing Baby. Fancy Nancy. Frilly whitey. Biscuit Goes to the Farm (or does whatever). Yellow lab, white identity. Curious George. A monkey living in a white world. Ergo: white monkey. Hungry Little Caterpillar – a little white boy with an eating disorder. Clifford. Big red dog, little white girl. Where the Wild Things Are. White monsters. Dr. Seuss One fish, two fish, white kid, white kid. Goodnight Moon. Little white bunny and his old white granny whispering “hush” Harry Potter Even the “dark arts” wizards are white. (Thank goodness. Because awkward.) Lego’s are all white people, My Little Pony and Strawberry Shortcake couldn’t possibly be whiter. Sofia the First has a white character…once every 8 episodes when they’re running out of story lines for princess entitlement. And let’s not even touch the main Disney princesses (pre-Tiana, I suppose). (Alright, alright …

Is Love for Sparkles Genetic?

Where does our draw to sparkly things come from? OMG. I can’t let that sentence stand…but “from whence does our draw to sparkles originate?” sounds ridiculous. Anyway. Why do we like sparkles? Is there prehistoric programming within us to collect sparkly things because sparkly things can be used as…currency? Or status- like the crab in Moana? Perhaps is purely aesthetics?…Zeus and Gaia and their ilk thought, “I should give these pathetic humans something nice to look at since life is so nasty, brutish and short. I know! I’ll endow  ‘em with taste!” Back in the day, did Neanderthals attracted to rainbows steer their tribes from danger? Or did they lead them straight into certain death on quixotic rainbow hunts…but have a fabulous road trip on their way to starvation? Did little girl cro-magnons (and boy cro-magnons, Gavin…don’t forget the topic of which you’re writing) decorate their animal pelts with daisies in the springtime? There was definitely an appreciation for art…just look at the Lascaux paintings in France. But were they also indulging an appreciation for …

What Came First: the Princess or the Girl?

It’s not just that my son loves Disney princesses. He loves the entire kit ‘n caboodle of what society would label (unfairly) “girly” stuff. Purple lollipops. (Not just any lollipop.) Sparkly tutus Barbie pink dream cars Cotton candy Fancy Nancy Glitter this Sequined that Pinkalicious Pink everything Purple everything It comes as a package. Walking down the street, he’s got a focused attention to detail that’s both annoying and astounding. He loves all dogs, but seeing a King Charles Spaniel is all the cuter. (And it’s TRUE! King Charles Spaniels are cuter…than labs or regular spaniels or golden doodles.) It’s a fascinating cliché. Listen, I don’t want to put anyone in boxes. And it drives me crazy when people make assumptions about any of my tastes (even if they’re right.) So I try to accept that a girl can be equally inspired by Lego’s as by Elena of Avalor. (Oh, you haven’t heard of Elena? You’re missing out on Disney’s cornering of the Latina market.) And I think boys could choose a red crayon just …

Brexit: Maybe It’s Not So Bad?

Before iPhones, NYC taxi drivers were reliably fun conversationalists. They still are in London. London cabbies are some of the most uniquely intelligent people in the world. They have unparalleled geographic knowledge set to navigate the mind-boggling maze of tiny London streets. And due to my lack of a cell phone, the cabbies were immediately engaging and friendly. And opinionated. After hearing our accents, three cabbies started our ride off by asking, “So, what do ya think of your new president, there?” Please…get me started. And those conversations immediately led to talk of Brexit. Every single one of our drivers voted “Britain Out”. And they were quick to talk about it. And boy do I feel schooled. It seemed to me the Brexit vote meant 52% of Brits were short-sighted and wanted closed borders; that, indeed, they were being xenophobic not wanting low-wage workers from Romania or Estonia, let alone refugees. And it seemed they were tired of having another “boss” in Brussels, the EU capital. I just thought – “What are you? Texas?” But …

Adele, THAT Adele, was our Nurse

So a few nights ago, I found myself in a London emergency room.I know: whaaaaat? My younger son had a collision at a playground and bit his tongue. There was a lot of blood, but it stopped quickly. He said he wanted to go home, but daddy was all, “Kid, we schlepped all the way to the Princess Diana/Peter Pan playground because the damn blogs said it’s a ‘must’. We ain’t leaving til you’ve found the Lost Boys and made someone walk the plank.”  He cried more. I bought him ice cream. He stopped crying. Shocker.  The boys played for another hour.  Getting ready for bed, younger kiddo says, “My tongue is bleeding, again.”  I might have rolled my eyes. “Come here, Buddy,” I beckoned, “and stick out your tongue.” He did so. And I stared into a lingual abyss. Seriously – the Grand Canyon had etched itself into his little 3yo tongue.  I went white, took a video, sent it to some medical friends in the states and they said, “Yeah. You should have …

More London Woes

You guys! I just keep doing it. I’m a moth to a flame.  A despondent liberal news junkie gravitating toward CNN.  A rat returning for just one last nibble off the near-carc…I don’t know where that metaphor is going. I keep falling for my the guidebooks and guideblogs that say, “Spend a scrumptious day with your child wandering baroque delights of Henry VIII’s residence as your child marvels at the throne rooms and bedchambers used for the British elites of the sixteenth century.” And I was like, “Yeah. This’ll be the day my 3 and 5-year-olds will become history buffs and focus on museum plaques written in higher English than the History Channel could hope for.” I need to close the books “London for Kids”. It’s not catering to idiots like me torturing their kids who just learned to walk and talk two years ago.  And why did I fall for the charms of a saccharine travel blog that’s really just a lifestyle and advertising webpage for one of those asinine people who take instagrammable pictures …

London With Kids: Don’t.

Day 2 in London (or was it 3 or 1? I’m confused) had the kids begging to return to the playground where we ended up after seeing ancient mummies and marble breasts. (That playground had a kid-friendly zip-line.) I had other plans in mind to torture them (and myself). I took them to the science museum because everyone says it’s spectacular. After a fairly quick Tube ride (do I put “Tube” in quotes?), I told the information desk, “I’ve got 2 hours to kill with two kids who collectively have 24 minutes of attention span. What should we do?” “Well…you could walk through the center.” “Um…OK. Just…let the science lead us?” “Precisely.” I listened to her instead of to my instincts screaming “ASK SOMEONE ELSE!” We walked through the center. On that ground floor there were feats of engineering – 1950’s Citroens, experimental airplanes, antique locomotives, space capsules (stolen?) from the USA, space suits (stolen?) from the USSR, and a laughable replication of the American lunar lander that – I shit you not – was …

Culturizing My Kiddos

My mother was an inordinately thorough tourist. It could be 6pm after a hellish 5-hour visit to some museum reading every. single. panel in every. single. exhibit. But then Mom would’ve remembered our AAA guide book said, “Oh, that house where some obscure author slept one time in 1957 is just 16 more blocks away.” So we went. She’d drag my whiny ass everywhere. And I do remember complaining; like…the entire time. I swore I’d never be the same. I feel empowered by walking out of a museum within 90 minutes because, let’s face it…nobody has that kind of attention span. Or hip flexor strength. Or stamina in their shoulders to hold a backpack of fruit snacks and water bottles while staring at dinosaurs/paintings/historical re-enactments for 4 hours. But folks…I did it, today. I’m in London with my partner (after two months solo in NYC). But he’s still working all the time as his two shows are prepping for opening night. So it’s still just me and the boys. Except we’re in London. So today …