While on a walk, Ellison climbed the stairs to the entrance of a church. We are still in the period where he explores every set of stairs, store front, or tree stump. Why can’t I plan accordingly and let him explore? Instead, I’m too often I bark, “Come on, Ellison! We need to get home to…(fill in the blank)…eat, let Daddy potty, crochet an Afghan.” But this once, I wasn’t in a hurry. He peered inside the candlelit glass doors and whirled around to shout excitedly, “A show! A show!” The previous year,
1. “Granny Hour” Back when Ellison was born, I read (meaning watched the 20-minute bootleg video) of HAPPIEST BABY ON THE BLOCK. I understood the “5 S’s”. But at about six weeks, when he became inconsolably irritated and annoying, my sleep-deprived mind didn’t realize Ellison needed the 5 S’s. I was suffering more than he. A friend told me it was “Granny Hour”. In olden days when we lived in tribal villages, or just villages without cars and YouTube, Granny realized that Daddy needed a drink around 5pm and she’d come over and bounce Junior so that Daddy could get fresh air (into his glass of wine). Nobody told me that
Since you read my last blog, I don’t need to remind you that Ellison chose to be “Zoe Zebra” for Halloween, right? I will remind you, however, that “Zoe” is a 7th-friend-from-the-left (essentially background) on the uber-popular British cartoon, Peppa Pig. Per Ellison’s request, Colton dressed as Peppa’s little brother, “George Pig”. The two of them were an adorable, zoological sight stumbling down SoHo cobblestones knocking “store-to-store” at the likes of Tiffany’s, BoConcept, Jack Spade and Louis Vuitton. I’m not kidding. It was absurd. And hilarious. No, the stores didn’t hand out $10 bills or
We all know what island the imbecilic “Thomas the Train” hails from, and it ain’t Sanibel. It’s the mythic Island of Sodor, somewhere between the coasts of Britain and Braindead. Because of Thomas, we have spent 1.2 million dollars on trains and tracks. And what does my son do after I set up tracks? He places the trains around the track a few inches apart and stares at them. I try to push the $22 wooden blocks around my expertly crafted track, but he screams, “Noooo! Not that one!” Ellison doesn’t play with the trains. He stages them. Thank you, Great Britain, for making my son OCD. Then there’s the Thomas plot lines. In every story,
So we just had a fun weekend celebrating Ryder’s third birthday. (Ryder’s mother and I have been dear friends since first grade. Our boys have no choice but to be besties. It was sealed in the family fates.) We went to Vernon, NJ, to accomplish several things: celebrate a 3-year-old birthday, try to have parental fun, swim in a hotel pool and visit a pumpkin patch. We accomplished all of the above. And it was great…in retrospect. In the moment, why must so many activities be so laborious? Am I alone in finding it hard to relax during activities that that take us a 5-minute walk from our apartment? Creating picture-perfect experiences is just so difficult.
And by “everyone” I mean parents. Not Ukrainians. Calm down. Most of the last year has seen me as a single father. My partner conducted and directed concerts across the country, and that meant many weekends away. I’ve been stuck, un-showered, with a double-stroller and the stinking feeling that everyone else is having more fun than I am. So I occasionally set myself up for bitter annoyance by trying to create a solo (with kids) “ideal Saturday morning.” Let’s go to Tribeca and
Certain events with the kids cause me serious angst: subway trips, birthday parties and plane trips. Subway trips mean we’ll be out for a long time. Beyond temper tantrums, this is what stresses me out: What if it’s a 105 degree summer day on the subway platform with 98% humidity and I get swamp-ass and people laugh at my wet khakis? What if the subway stops and we’re stuck inside for three hours without enough battery life on my phone to keep the kids quiet or enough goldfish snacks to keep ME happy? And then what if desperation drives me to pee between subway cars?
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.”
The other day I read a spot-on post by a mother lamenting the fact that her kids don’t look out at the river when they’re driving. Instead, their faces are buried in touch screens. Screw my kids’ appreciation. What about my burning desire to stare at a touch screen? I stand at the playground and challenge myself to see how long I can hold off checking texts. Sometimes I make it two and a half minutes…if Colton isn’t gleefully stealing toys from younger kids. Once I’ve extracted the phone and glanced at the home page alerts, I might as well swipe, punch my code, and see if emails jumped from 13 to 14. Maybe a life-changing message arrived in the ninety seconds since I slipped the phone into my pocket (to unload the stroller). Yes, I was scrolling HuffPost while pushing the stroller to the playground. I might not have looked up as I crossed streets, dodged an old lady using a walker, and avoided dog poop. Busy bodies might think I never looked up …
Remember when Ellison and I were “dressed from the future?” Well, on our return from that trip, standing in the security line, Ellison melted down. It was understandable. He hadn’t napped. I withered in front of the French travelers tsk-tsk’ing me with masterful condescension. No sympathy for this dad traveling alone with a kid. I’d held off giving him his pacifier until absolutely necessary. It was now absolutely necessary. Frantically I searched the diaper bag, but I found only one pacifier. I’d lost four over the trip. This one happened to be a newborn pacifier: for Ellison’s newborn brother. Uh-oh. I handed it to him. He looked at it and chucked it across three lanes of security traffic. I ducked under dividers, between people and started to sweat profusely. I offered the paci, again. He took it, looked at it, screamed and tried to throw it, but I swiped it back. He swung his hand toward mine and successfully knocked it away. Again I crawled between French people to retrieve the paci. Mercifully, we soon …