All posts filed under: lists

Some lists of life lessons I use to cope as a dad and hope to instill in my kids.

9 Reasons Your “Adorable Kids’ Picnic” is Gonna Suck

A super-fun friend recently visited New York with her newborn. She emailed: “Meet in Central Park for a kids’ picnic at 2:30.” She saw Pottery Barn picnic photo shoot (PBPPS). I saw hell. Dear super-fun friend, Let me enumerate the ways this picnic is utterly inconvenient for everyone else with kids: 1. Timing – Your child is a house plant who sleeps all day long. We, the toddler-encumbered, schedule our sanity around naps. You’ve asked us to schlep DURING PRIME NAPPING HOURS to come coo at your kiddo. Though your kid might not let you get 8 hours of beauty sleep, mine will turn the remainder of my day into tantrum hell. That’s worse than sleep-deprivation. 2. Enclosure – I know urban playgrounds are hell for those who don’t rely on them for socializing, herding, and sippin’ on gin-in-juice. There’s no grassy knoll for pretentious picnicking. But those gates spell the difference between fun and fury. Toddlers don’t do open-space in NYC. They do caged asphalt. 3. Sweat – If I choose to sit for …

9 Helpful Suggestions for Partners of Stay-at-Home Parents

Having commiserated for hours with every other stay-at-home parent (SAHP) on the playground, I’ve learned my complaints about the “home front” are the same as every other stay-at-home parent (SAHP). Since we SAHPs are on the same page, this helpful list is for our partners to help our families stay happy. (Cuz when SAHP’s happy, the family’s happy.) Please, partner parents: avoid saying the following… 1. “Wow. The place is kind of a mess.” Really? I’ve cleaned the apartment three times, already. Those trains have been in and out of baskets twice, those Legos have been constructed and deconstructed thrice. I used 7 of my normally-inconsequential 22 minutes of decompression during nap-time to CLEAN. Meanwhile, do you have any idea where the race cars even go? It’s not my fault you haven’t adapted to stepping on Thomas the Train barefoot without whining…like a baby. Instead of commenting, how about quietly grabbing the kitchen spray and wiping down the table, yourself…while entertaining the kids. I’ll be doing shots on the john. 2. “What did you do …

3 Logical Arguments About Religious Extremism (for my Toddlers)

(My kids are extremists. About hot chocolate. Hence the pic.) When I was in college (during the era of dial-up and Toad the Wet Sprocket), I took a lot of philosophy classes. This was at the height of political correctness in Boulder, CO, where the students would rather give up beer and bongs than offend with words. Most courses, regardless the title, would include discussions of universal truths; e.g. “What’s absolutely right or wrong?” My professor for Ancient Philosophy argued that the only universal truth (or universal wrong) is: “Rape, purely and solely for the pleasure of the rapist is wrong.” It’s not that we justified murder, burglary, or playing Miley Cyrus songs in public; but in philosophical logic, if one instance disproves an argument, then it’s no longer a universal truth. Example: Killing is wrong (universal truth) A person runs at you with a knife You kill them in self-defense Therefore, killing is not always wrong (no longer a universal truth) Since the horrendous attacks on Charlie Hebdo in Paris, I’ve thought a lot …

Canine Crisis: Chapter 4 (of 5)

Happy 2015! On our drive to pick up Maddie, my partner and I discussed our worries. “What if she’s no better? It seems a real possibility.” “I don’t know. Let’s wait and see. But I can admit, I don’t want to have a paralyzed dog. We aren’t going to configure wheels under her hind end.” “Nope. That’s no life for her. Or for us.” “But do we?…” “Let’s just see.” We walked into Wizard of Paws. There was Maddie. Her head popped up and she tried to drag herself to us. Frankly, I couldn’t see any difference. Poor dog still soiling herself and dragging legs behind in her own filth. Deb (the Wizard) enthusiastically welcomed us. “Come on in and see what she can do.” She carried Maddie to the mat corner. There, Deb propped Maddie between her own legs. True: Maddie stood. Definite progress. Then Deb supported Maddie on a kidney-bean therapy ball. As we held the contraption still, Deb said, “See? It’s just like human therapy. With these balance balls, all her tiny …

4 of My Mom’s Parenting Traits I Hope to Leave Behind

My mom was the best. And she was doubly amazing for having raised me after my father died when I was 8. She devoted her very being, to me. I’m eternally grateful. Aaaaaand…as with us all, there are a few things I hope to do differently. I’m probably doomed (or blessed) to repeat what I see as mistakes, but are probably in my genetic makeup. KEEPING UP APPEARANCES Mom was perpetually preoccupied with outward appearances,

8 Justifications for Childless Travel

Last February I frantically brain-stormed a last-minute timeshare getaway to warmer climes with the family. It would include our 2-year-old and 10-month-old. My stress over rising airline tickets and dwindling hotel availability prompted my partner to say, “You could just go on your own.” (Disclaimer #1: Getting away for an adult vacation wasn’t feasible. We don’t have family nearby on whom to foist two kids under 2 and we can’t afford 4 days of round-the-clock baby-sitting.) “What?” I sputtered. “Yeah, I mean it’s so much work to take the kids. It’s expensive, it’s a headache, and it’s not relaxing. I’m all about taking my own solo mini-vacation, later. You want to get away more than I do, right now, anyway.” (Disclaimer #2 True. I’d been very full-time daddy for the past couple months.) “So you just go for a couple days.”

8 WAYS MY KIDS’LL NEVER HAVE IT AS GOOD AS I DID…

Processed foods. I ate Mac’n Cheese, Kool-Aid, Fruity Pebbles, Pop Tarts and Fritos. And my kids will only have those on special occasions. Like Haley’s Comet visits. Now we worry about red dye, HFCS, and chemical additives that render food addictive. And we obsess over our kids eating vegetables. Actually, red dye confounds me. But I totally obsess over the veggies. In my childhood, canned creamed corn counted as a vegetable. And I will never serve that to my kids as a vegetable. Unless we’re camping. Actually, they can eat all those foods can be eaten when camping. All bets are off camping. But every day? Sorry guys. You’ll never have it as good as I did. Seat belts. My dad drove a Volvo in the early 80’s. There was a confusing black handle that jutted out from the dashboard. When riding in that car, I’d hold onto the black handle to get myself as close to the front windshield as possible. Occasionally Dad would ask, “Gavin, please sit back and put on your seatbelt.” …

6 Do’s and 3 Don’t’s When Expecting

Some very close friends are expecting babies, right now. Here’s some of my uncommon knowledge for them before their lives are wonderfully destroyed by blessed rugrats… 1. DO sit around playing mindless games on your phone and indulging guilty pleasures. You won’t have time for it ever again. Or if you do, it’ll only be for 17 seconds after you lay in bed, flip on your phone, pretend to “catch up”, and immediately fall asleep. 1. DON’T read any “expecting a baby” books. Trendy, “latest research” factoids muddle your brain. Seek advice from friends, and know that your parents’ example (or your friends’ parents’ examples) will be enough to get you through the first few months. 2. DO buy basic baby gear, but limit the rest. The basics: diapers, food, changing pad, swaddling blankets, sound machine, teething “chew toy”, baby swing, car seat, baby carrier (like bjorn, ergo or moby) and a stroller. That’s all you need, especially at the beginning. Babies have spent their first months in baskets, mangers, drawers and padded boxes for …