All posts tagged: dad style

My Son Wore a Dress for a Month. Nothing Happened.

So my son wore a dress for a month in France. Nothing happened. (Why we were in France for a month is explained, here.) I anticipated my older son (he of the “anything-princess” persuasion) would want to don frocks the entire time. So I let him. Some Americans might think of France as a bunch of WWII-losing philosophical wimps who eat cheese and are lax in the morality department (ergo they’re “kinda gay”). But in reality, theirs is a traditional, macho culture where men are men and women are objects of beauty. In some ways, the French lag behind the US in terms of sexual equality and gender identity. Gay couples can marry, but only since 2013. They do have parenting rights, but surrogacy is absolutely interdit. And little boys in dresses? That’s something you see even less in France than in the US. Further, it’s a land of conformity where people avoid bothering others. Don’t speak too loudly in restaurants, don’t touch anything in stores, don’t color outside social lines, and make sure you dress …

Dear Senator

I’ve Emailed this letter to these 50 senators. And I’m going to print 50 copies and mail them to their offices, as well. I hope you’ll do the same. Feel free to use this as a template or change however you’d like. Here’s the link for the senators’ addresses.   Dear Senator: Don’t worry – this isn’t just another letter about gun control. Instead, I’m writing about your character. I’m terrified that my two young sons are in danger whenever they venture out of my house. You have created this danger by shirking your legislative responsibilities and being the pawn of special interests like the gun lobby. As an educated, intelligent person, I’m sure you know that reasonable gun reform is supported by a majority of Americans. (And by “reasonable,” I merely refer to background checks, waiting periods and outlawing automatic weapons.) I’m sure you don’t want history to smear your name with the blood of innocent children on playgrounds. I bet you dare to emulate our Founding Fathers. What would they say about the …

When I Grow Up…

With one month left in the school year, my son’s school creates a yearbook. (Yes, NYC schools seem to go year-round. Eat your heart out.) For this project, class parents needed to photograph each kid. My cohort concocted the adorable idea of photographing the kids with a prop suggesting what they want to be when they grow up. My first thought was: I’m pretty sure my kid has no notion of what he wants to be when he grows up. The next morning, I polled the class. At the first table, one kid said “Firefighter!” Three boys and one girl parroted him. At another table, one girl squawked at me. Literally. Another delivered a 15-second unintelligible monologue, from which I discerned “lion” and “zoo”. Another girl replied, “Nothing.” “But what kind of job would you like to have?” I clarified. “Nothing. Like my mom. She does nothing.” I suppressed a guffaw and continued. The next girl said, “Policeman.” I gave her a high-five. The next girl said, “Sleeping Beauty.” Oh, shit. My son heard that. …

The happy meal place (or: the time I took a side of parentheses with that)

First of all, if there was any question in your minds, let me shuffle-ball-change out of the closet loud and proud: I’m a food snob. I wholeheartedly embrace Michael Pollan’s “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly vegetables.” When I was the perfect parent (meaning: before kids), I knew fast food would never touch the lips of my precious snowflakes. Admittedly, it’s easy to avoid fast food living in New York City. You’re never in a car, the kids haven’t fallen asleep in the back, and all food is fast. But I understand that fast food drive-thrus are a godsend…in desperate situations… zombee armageddons, heavy thunderstorms and refugees. Oh, and when Daddy flirts with jail time during a road trip due to a desperate yearning for “friesandashake” and considers* leaving the kids asleep in the backseat cuz who’s gonna know and you’ll be really fast and besides the dog’s in there with them. But we all know (don’t we???) that McD’s is responsible, in part, for the destruction of now-infertile fields from Fargo to Fresno, the …

Dear Other Dude at the Playground…

Dear Other Dude at the Playground on Saturday – I couldn’t fight the need to write you about an incident between our kids.Remember me? I was the dad with the son wearing a pink dress. Before he burst onto the playground, and as I parked the car, he was positively vibrating. I asked, “Now…you’re sure you want to wear your dress?” He shouted in response, “Yes! Because I want to show everyone how beautiful I am in this beautiful dress!” It was a big deal for him; and for me. He hasn’t asked to wear a dress “out,” before. I didn’t fight it. Who cares, right? Or so we’d like to think. As you noticed, he couldn’t contain his excitement showing off the dress to the only two kids playing…your daughter and her friend. He skipped and twirled and chased them for ten minutes shouting, “Do you like my dress? I’m wearing a dress! Can I play with you? Will you play with me?” Remembering those ten minutes fills me with emotion…because his unencumbered joy …

Rainbows and Unicorns

Recently a dear friend told me she reads my blog (13th reader!) and likes it, but…“I could use a few more rainbows and unicorns.” She is sweet. I am not. Well, I can be. But I won’t sanitize my parenting life…because it is HARD, people. Given the choice, I would have another acting gig and make peace with giving 85% of my salary to childcare. (It ain’t for lack of trying. Any casting directors out there reading this?) Admittedly, then I’d complain about being away from my boys so much. Complaining is so satisfying. Aren’t playground conversations all about commiseration? It lets us know we’re not alone. Plus, rainbow and unicorn parenting blogs just annoy me. 1. They make me feel like I’m not creative/energetic/crafty enough, 2. I don’t believe them. I think I’ve made it clear I would take a bullet for both my kids, but being a stay-at-home-dad is not in my DNA. The fact is: my days don’t feel full of rainbows and unicorns. It actually feels like a frantic struggle to …

I was a (Sleep-Deprived) Mother

When Colton was 7 months old, his #tearlesscrying teamed up with three wake-ups at night, making me unrecognizable to myself. At the time, my partner was busy preparing symphonic concerts and was in desperate need of rest. Because I didn’t need to think beyond mere “survival” and hitting my sounds as a tap-dancing Santa Claus in Annie, I felt responsible to get up those three times/night. Mercifully, Colton never stayed awake, he just squawked. I re-plugged him with a pacifier and he went back to sleep. By that seven-month mark in December, I had not slept more than three hours at a time for 9 months. I. DO. NOT. KNOW. HOW. BREAST-FEEDING. MOTHERS. DO. IT. It was the time in my parenting life when I most related to sleep-deprived mothers. Disclaimer: No, I did not carry that child for 9 months. No, I did not push something the size of a melon through a hole the size of a carrot. No, I did not have hormones raging through my body. I did not suffer more …

Giving Thanks: My Mom Made Me a Dad

Last night, as I opened a beer seconds after putting my boys down, I felt gratitude that they most likely won’t wake for 10½ hours. I am so lucky to have sleepers. As I sipped, I thought about gratitude. It was a Hallmark Channel moment. And I was reminded: the strongest thanks I can give this (and every) year is to my mom…for making me a dad. I write about her in the past tense. Six years ago, she died unexpectedly from a cardial arrhythmia. Doctors said it’s the way we all want to go: one second you’re here, then you’re not. I was suddenly an orphan (my father passed when I was 8 years old). There are worse tragedies in the world, but in our culture, 32 is young to be parentless. Thanks to

Being a “Broadway Daddy”

I was leading a tour of friends backstage at ANNIE (in 2013) when I described my schedule: “We’ve got eight shows a week, including Wednesday and Saturday matinees.” “Whoa. How do you do it? When do you see your kids?” “Oh, it’s great,” I said. “I get to spend all day with them five times a week. Before leaving in the evening, I feed them and they basically go to bed an hour after I leave.” “When do you get home?” “Eleven thirty.” “You must be exhausted.” “Well, it’s a good exhaustion.” But this description was filtered. Usually I say, “I’m stuck ALL DAMN DAY

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,