All posts tagged: gay families

Kids: Please Don’t Follow (too many) Rules

I’m nice and I strove to please my teachers. But nice people who please teachers don’t paint the Sistine Chapel. They don’t break sound barriers. They don’t develop Apple Computers, right? Crazy people who break rules and smash conventions do big shit. I say that I just want my kids to be happy. But also kind. And smart. And independent. And creative. And change the world. No pressure, kids. Of course I want my kids to be trailblazers. Like the kids about whom the teachers throw up their arms and say “what am I going to do with you?” And then they end up being Einstein. But aren’t genius/artistic/world-changers often miserable, asocial sad-sacks destined to substance-abuse who cut off their own ears and live within prisons of their own artistic genius? So then will they be happy? Maybe we should just hope for nice. But am I trying to raise  nice kids? Those rule-following, vanilla, boring goody-two-shoes? (Who wants to be nice, anyway? Nice is so…insipid. Do you ever want to share a drink with …

What are You Pansies So Afraid Of?

(Apologies to grammarians for this post’s title ending with a preposition. “Of what are you so afraid?” or “You’re afraid of what, you pansies?” didn’t seem sufficiently direct.) Seriously: what are you so afraid of? So the Supreme Court has upheld Trump’s banning of the trans community from military service. I’m confident this will be over-turned by lower courts since it’s fundamentally backwards and history progresses forward. (I also fundamentally believe that Trump loves to battle the trans community so he can fire up his base in the midst of the Mueller investigation, emoluments, family corruption, etc etc etc. It’s distraction by the master-distracter, himself.) And Trump needs to whip up a frenzy of fear in his base. Because this is all about fear. But fear of what? The entire Republican paradigm is about fear…fear of change, fear of whatever might be un-American (defining “American” in a very narrow context, fear of Iran/Chinag/North Korea/everyone, fear of others, fear of not being the biggest/strongest/fastest, fear of strangers/immigrants/boogeymen, fear of not facing their own demons and whatever …

Why Does Everyone Hate Charlie Brown?

On Christmas night, the screen time my kids chose (for daddies’ down time) was “Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown.” I was happy to hear the familiar music and dialogue in the background as I sipped bourbon and stared at my phone. Around the fourteenth time Lucy declared, “You blockhead, Charlie Brown,” my older kid asked, “Why does everyone hate Charlie Brown?” And it gave me pause. Why does everyone hate Charlie Brown? In the Christmas special, Charlie’s the Christmas pageant director. Leadership often brings up conflict. But all Charlie’s trying to do is focus collective effort on getting the damn pageant done. But just because Charlie can’t control the cast doesn’t justify the near-universal derision of his peers. It’s not like Charlie’s leading acting exercises that force Lucy to dredge up that time a teacher told her she’ll never amount to anything after which the class bully looked over and said, “you smell like shit and you’ll never find love in life and you’ll end up with warts all over your nose and children will run …

The Reason for the Season

Though I loathe the culture war centered around “putting the ‘Christ’ back into ‘Christmas’”, I’m definitely one who wants my children to know the reason behind every season, or in most cases…holiday. This applies most especially to holidays as “abstract” as Veteran’s Day. Yesterday my older kid jumped with joy as she celebrated having THREE DAYS OF MORNING TELEVISION this weekend. Uncharacteristically, I held my tongue so as not to deflate her joy. I’ll save the posturing about Veteran’s Day for the actual day. I’m feeling particularly attached to Veteran’s Day, this year, because of the 100th anniversary of the WWI armistice. I’ve always been masochistically fascinated by WWI. It never fails to send a sobering chill down my spine to reflect on the first war in which men were able to massacre acres of men without catching sight of each other. The wide-scale use of machine guns, tanks, airplanes and trench warfare that wasted a generation all because of agreements between insecure, rich white men trying to keep their place in the upper-class mastering the …

Battling the Ballet

My older son’s going through his ”I’m going to put on a dance show for you” phase. I’m the asshole parent who immediately hounds him, “Okay, I’ll watch. BUT – I need to see a beginning, middle and end. We need a storyline, here, kiddo. Also? No more than three songs.” Because Daddy’s got other stuff to do. Oh, and performance standards. No. I’m not exaggerating any of that. Way to take the fun out of everything, Dad. But these dance “recitals” are an unwatchable combination of a bad drag show and, well…I think I can stop there. Just bad drag. Whenever we ask if he wants to take dance, he says, “Daddy, I’m already a great dancer.” Yeah, no. Until this year, we didn’t push it. No need to over-schedule in first grade. But I heard about an excellent dance studio that gives free ballet lessons to boys. And because I’m a cheap SOB, I was all about that. But then, approaching the audition time, I started to go down my normal cerebral rabbit hole …

Did We Avoid a Summer Slide? Meh.

So we survived summer and I utterly failed at having my kids on their “summer academic schedule.” My plan was merely to have daily quiet time. Thirty minutes, kids. That’s all I ask. Technically, you’re allowed to stare at the ceiling or look at books. But this is NOT coloring or wandering time. This is day-dreaming or reading time. Is that so much to ask? You’ve done this at school – your teachers gave you quiet time every single day and you were allowed to stare at the ceiling or read a damn book. Why is it pulling teeth with you guys, here and now? I tried to get them to be mildly academic to avoid the unacceptable slide into stupidity. Also? “Quiet time” means calm time for me, too. Win-win. Or maybe just I win. But anyway. But insisting on thirty minutes of quiet time might’ve made my kids hate summer. They begrudgingly sat in silence, but mostly just glared at me. And that’s the opposite of what I’m trying to do: foster a love for …

Sex Talk with My 5yo

So my kids saw Head Over Heels and they loved it. Or well, the younger one couldn’t focus on the first act because he was totally focused on the snacks my partner smuggled into the theatre in his ECKnox diaper bag. (This blog posting sponsored entirely by ECKnox.) I should’ve just given my partner the heads-up “He’s going to fixate on snacks and ask multiple times ‘is it break time, yet?’ Just give him the snacks to shut him up. Anyway. They loved the show. And while I thought most of the plot points would fly over their heads, they seemed to get most of it. They knew that the sword fight didn’t actually kill anyone. Nope. Violence was no biggie. They got that the flags fell when the oracle’s prophecies were fulfilled and that the king was a rube and the princesses were marrying the people their parents didn’t want etc etc. But what really intrigued the kids? Potty humor. After the show, their first question was, “Did that guy really pee on that bush?” “No, …

Love a Good Cross-Post

I was flattered to be posted by my surrogacy agency, Growing Generations, with this missive about maintaining my expectations as a new dad. Growing Generations was one of the first agencies to help shepherd the parenting process in the surrogate realm. We were so lucky to find them and I’m honored to be featured on their blog. Check it! https://www.growinggenerations.com/news/parenting-dont-bother-preparing/

Major Strides, Minor Paranoia

So it’s been a bit since I stopped to reflect on my family and wonderful trials of parenting. Luckily, I haven’t had major dramas to sort out, all year. How magical is that? But something cropped up, recently. The other night, my older, gender-fluid kiddo went to bed seemingly without a care. Later, my partner poked his head in and kid crying in bed. Though I was in another room, my antennae snapped to. I knew something was up. I poked my head in right as older peanut explained why he was crying to my partner. As an avid reader of my blog, you might recall (ahem) that we had a bit of bathroom anxiety at the beginning of the year, which my kid admirably solved for himself. But unbeknownst to us, he’d been using the girls’ room for the past few months. From what we were able to decipher through the 1stgrade sniffling, our kid peed in the bathroom and another girl (we’ll call her Anna) was “in” the bathroom. For some reason, that …

Chapter 2 – Starting the Path

So I called a good friend, (also an actor), who had some experience in design, James Brown. I asked him, “I have a random idea for a design I’d like to ask you about. Can you meet me at the playground where I bring my kids?” A few days later we met at a playground, aka my office. “What do you think of making a stylish diaper bag for dads?” He didn’t guffaw in my face. Phew. First step down. Right away, James put together some inspiring ideas and notions of other bags. A week later, we met up at a coffee shop (so we’d have a table for sketching) and laid out a basic idea of a messenger bag. I mentioned, “I’d like the bag to be deep navy blue. Like Louis Vuitton material, but blue.” Armed with a design, I first reached out to a friend, Mike Lubin, whom I like to call “the unofficial president of an unofficial gay dads club” with which I’m remotely active. I texted him a pic of …