All posts tagged: kid

Screw Normal. Dresses are Fun.

So I wrote in another piece how I often want to say to my son, “Just be a normal boy!” (Disclaimer: I don’t actually say that to him.) And since I talk about this, frequently, with more people than the ½ dozen who read this blog, I’ve had a lot of conversations that checked/schooled/inspired/calmed me. A few that put me at ease and reminded me that my “issues” with my kid’s “issues” are really just my issues. Last year, when I visited a childhood friend in suburban Denver, I gave him a heads-up that my eldest son might want to wear a dress. So my friend gave his own three sons a heads-up: “Guys? So this little boy is coming and he might wear a dress. You guys know that’s ok, right?.” Their response? – “Duh, Dad.” (Followed by eye rolls.) I was not expecting from suburban Denver. Recently I reached out to in-laws with whom we spend a lot of time. Neither they nor their kids had ever acknowledged the fact that my older …

Ain’t This Absurd?

Daddy? What’s up, buddy? Did you know some guy killed a bunch of people who were just having a good time? Yes, I did know that. Does this happen a lot? Totally, buddy! It happens all the time! Last time, there were some people at a Christmas party, the time before that were some people at a movie, then there were some kids at a school… Whoa, whoa, whoa. Kids? Heh-heh! Why, sure, buddy! You mean I could be playing on my school playground, some day, and my little 4-year-old friends and I could be mowed down while hanging on monkey bars and sliding down slides? You bet. Would you be sad? Yes. I would be very sad. Would you come take me home, anyway? Well, your clothes would be bloody and your shoes might have bullet holes in them, so they wouldn’t be any use, anymore, and I don’t think I would want to have your pants sprinkled with bone tissue. That’s yucky. Can I have some fruit snacks? You just had breakfast. Darn. …

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. …

A Little Poop. (And Other Stuff)

Last night, both my sons were taking part in a favorite activity: dancing naked after a bath. They aren’t nudists. Some kids drop trou (trow?) the second they walk in the door. Ours merely love shaking their hips and slapping their hynies to “When Will My Life Begin?” My older son sort of twerks and slaps each butt cheek chanting, “Look at my body! Look at my body!” I can’t help but laugh. (Also, he does it perfectly in time to the music. So: nudist, lewdest musical genius.) And then my youngest son sat on one of his riding trains, grinned at me and ripped an epic fart that (due to his spread-cheek placement on the plastic vehicle), echoed throughout our apartment. I laughed. Hard. But then there’s the constant verbalizing of bodily functions. Stopping my kids from saying “poop”, “penis” and “pee” are not an issue. It’s more than that. They chant and scream and change song lyrics to the aforementioned taboos. My youngest recently screamed, “Daddy! Need napkin!” Me: “Buddy? How do you …

Melancholic Thanksgiving

When I think “Thanksgiving”, I also think “melancholy”. When I was 8, my dad died about ten days before Thanksgiving. And for the following 12 years, other family losses bunched up in November and December, culminating with my mom in December, 2007. For most of my childhood, Thanksgiving felt like a tremendous effort to ignore loss while meeting idealized (commercialized) celebration standards. My mother succeeded in creating a Norman Rockwell fest, even for our family of 2. Frenzied joy trumped her sadness (usually). But the pall of loss lingered. Now, this year, there are some health concerns in our family. And of course, it’s all timed around Thanksgiving. Do I bring this on, myself? I suppose Thanksgiving is a holiday of dualities: we celebrate our bounty at the same time nature turns cold and brown around us. Under dreary November skies, we fill our dining rooms with a feast. It’s also the first time of the year we’re expected to sit down as a family. For ten months there’s been summer BBQ’s and a few …

Catty Commentary on Halloween Costumes

My kids are still not old enough (at ages 4 and 2) to have moved into the age of pimp/slut Halloween costumes. But even “cute” Halloween costume catalogs deserve to be criticized and laughed at because, well, over-the-top anything deserves ridicule. And nowhere else do I find such derisive pleasure (and headaches from eye-rolling) as from the Catching Fireflies Halloween catalog. Ergo, I give you: This poor child didn’t understand when his daddy said, “I’ll throw some things together and make you a costume” that he’d dress as a ragged rug riddled with small pox. Chasing Fireflies. OK. The production value of the costumes in this catalog is pretty high. But this girl’s passé is horrendous. Point those toes, girls. Make those hands even. Circus ponies need better posture to be hired in Vegas. Chasing Fireflies Being cast as Brunhilda at age 7 is not cute. This is called a 3rd-grade school play costume…in Lappland. Not Halloween. There’s nothing glamorous about vikings. They had to live by pillaging reindeer jerky and salted cod, not Red …

I’m With the Pope

Before I became a parent, I had dinner with some co-workers whose children I found admirable. When I asked, “What’s your formula for success in raising kind, engaged, intelligent children?” They responded, “They watched no TV.” Oh. Bummer. I intended to teach limits, not be a TV Nazi. But they went on, “They watched plenty of DVDs. They just didn’t watch commercial television, so we avoided ads for buying toys and candy.” Smart. Very smart. I’m reminded of this every time my son goes down a rabbit hole of acquisition requests: “Daddy? Can I get a little ‘Scruff’ [a friend of Thomas] for my birthday and a ‘Glitter Glider Sleeping Beauty’ for my birthday and a ‘Zoe Zebra’ stuffed animal for my birthday and a racetrack for my birthday and four pink donuts for my birthday and the ‘Jasmine’ princess movie [Aladdin] and ‘surprise eggs’ for my birthday?” Thank goodness he’s accepted the “maybe for you birthday” mantra and doesn’t scream, “NO! I WANT IT NOW!” But still. He will go on and on and …

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 …

MOM’S NIGHT OFF?

When Big E was seven weeks old, a friend invited my partner and me to an antique auction in Nowheresville, Connecticut. My first auction. I’m always game for “firsts”. There were hilarious (shocking) items for sale. Of note was a box of lawn boy/mammy figurines, including a 7-inch Aunt Jemima iron doorstop. Not all of Connecticut is Martha Stewartville. We ended up buying a 5-foot tall gramophone. It collected dust for two years, then we donated it to a flea market. But I digress. Big E got fussy, predictably, when serious bidding began. So I took him into an adjacent room where a woman sold hot dogs, coffee and cookies. She had a mullet half way down her back. On her sweatshirt was an airbrushed wolf howling at the moon. It was awesome. Not that I’m furthering rural stereotypes, but across the street was a drag racing track. Anyway. She ooh’d and ahh’d over Big E and marveled at me keeping him quiet. We made small talk about regular baby things: birth weight, sleeping, etc. …