All posts filed under: stuff

Maintaining an Ancient Wardrobe

Growing up, I marveled at my mom’s commitment to maintaining an ancient wardrobe hidden in her bedroom. She was famously nostalgic and her closet was no exception. In her bedroom, hidden under the bed, bursting out of her closets and poking out of the dressers were: Costume jewelry from the 60’s and 70’s “Oh, just in case they ever come back in style!” Pants that were just…old. “Well? They’re perfectly good and they still fit!” Shoes she never, ever wore “Well, I know they’re dated but they’re still just so comfortable!” I’ll never forget a pair of underwear she had for decades that barely stayed up for its lack of elastic. But “I just think they’re funny and I’ve never found ‘dancing skeleton’ underwear to replace them!” (Yes Dancing skeletons.) There were tons of unopened items she’d probably bought on sale – all underwear and socks (but no dancing skeletons). Ugly Christmas sweater upon ugly Christmas sweater, never purchased or worn for its ironic ugliness. Each one would make an appearance at some point in …

Parenting: It's Hard Y'all

I crossed another Rubicon, with my kid. Ugh. Parenting: it’s hard y’all. Both my kids were running around in the twilight in blissful imaginary play. They were both wearing dresses (cuz that’s how we roll – and luckily the younger doesn’t mind being occasionally treated like a dress-up doll by his older sibling.) So there was a lot of squealing and laughing and I noticed a couple times my older kid lifted up her sibling’s dress revealing that he was commando. (Quick side note – can we all just agree that running around commando in a dress is the way we should all be living regardless our gender expression?) The younger one laughed but yelled “stop!” and kept running and laughing. But it happened a few more times, specifically just after I called them in for bedtime. And as they continued squealing and ignoring me and playing “lift the dress”, for some dumbass reason, in that moment, I was furious. I read the riot act to my older kid about how she was crossing boundaries …

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, …

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 …

Mother’s Day for Two Dads

I was at the playground with my older son when he found a toy and wanted to take it home. (It was a broken robot I’d wager was abandoned.) I told him he needed to ask around to see if it belonged to any other children and, if not, he could take it home. He approached a nanny a few feet away. I couldn’t hear what he asked or how she responded, but as he turned away from her he said, “No I don’t have a mommy. I have a daddy.” He took a step, turned back, and finished, “No. I have two daddies. I have Daddy and I have Tatty.” Then he ran onto the next guardian at the playground to continue his canvassing. The nanny turned to me and we both smiled. That was the first I’d ever heard my son reference our family make-up. It was awesome. My partner and I didn’t specifically discuss Mother’s Day during our months of debate over having a child. We did, however, discuss the significance of …

Baby Stuff You Gotta Have

I’d love to have some of your favorite “must-haves” for newborns and for toddlers. SHARE THE WEALTH! Rickety swing There’s no need to spend more than $50 on a swing for your kiddo. OK, OK, if you live in more than 800 square feet outside of New York City, you might have the room for something grander. But my $42 swing from Target was perfect. It was just rickety enough that we wondered if it could hold our kids’ weight. But when we pulled it out for the second kiddo, Ellison plopped his 2 ½ year-old, 30-pound frame into the chair, and it held. It clicked, it tilted, it bowed, and it put our kids right to sleep. On the flipside, three other families had luxurious gliders that didn’t rattle their babies to sleep. Use this test: if your swing looks like it’s gonna break, might fling your baby into the air, and seems to bump more than a 1957 Chevy truck on a potholed road in rural Tennessee, then your baby’s gonna sleep like …