All posts tagged: kids

So…Now I Confess…

While my blog is often about my personal/public therapy, it’s now truly my own confession time. I started blogging to sell stuff. I know, I know. Once again, I’m a monster. Worse than when I went hoarse yelling at my youngest due to his #tearlesscrying. But lemme explain: A few years ago I founded a company making “baby gear for stylish dads”. See, when I was expecting my first son, I wanted a really nice diaper bag. Something super stylish, super masculine, and not necessarily inexpensive. I was thinking, “I’m cool with paying $250 for a bag that states, ‘I’m a proud dad and I’ve got style.’” Shockingly, I couldn’t find anything like it. So I had a kid, got a dumpy bag, became permanently sleep-deprived, got some gray hairs, had another kid, became ten times more overwhelmed and under-rested, and then decided, “I think I’ll start a company making stylish baby gear for dads. I’ve never been a business person, I studied international affairs and philosophy 87 years ago in college, and I’m just …

I Waited for Two Hours. What was the Point?

Here’s a conversation I had with myself while waiting in sub-freezing temperatures for two hours to spend about five minutes in an art exhibit. I had some real epiphanies about parenting and art… 9:40, not bad. Surely that chalked sign on the sidewalk can’t be accurate: ’90 minute wait from this point.’ Yeah, right. It can’t seriously take that long to see this Japanese artist. Wait, what is this exhibit, again? I dunno. I just saw it on Instagram and read about it in the Times, a few months ago. So…I’m here because the Times and some people on IG told you to come? More or less. So we are posers. Just wanting to see things cuz other people are doing it? I guess. Isn’t everybody? Especially in New York. Seriously – except for the 1% of artistic elite (and who are those people, anyway?) aren’t we all just seeing stuff cuz other people tell us to? Do you think we’ll get in and think it’s stupid? I mean, duh. It’s some 90 year-old woman’s …

Well…It Finally Happened

It finally happened. My son was publicly shamed for wearing a dress. And my fatherly instincts screamed with leonine ferocity inside my head, but the diplomacy of a damn Israeli-Palestinian negotiator without. I took my kids to France, again, for a few weeks, this summer. I figured the cost of the trip was less than paying for 2 kids’ camp in New York City; plus, I used the last of my AmEx miles to pay for the flights. Anyway. My gender non-conforming son wore a dress every single day, except when he squeezed himself into his 4yo cousin’s pink bathing-suit-with-attached-tutu. And it was all fine. His new short haircut (see here) drew some double-takes, but, overall, it was fine. Until one night toward the end of our trip. I went to a restaurant with another dad and his son, and my kiddo was decked out in his Trolls “t-shirt-attached-to-flouncy-dress”. We were along the banks of a EuroDisney movie set replete with medieval castle backdrop and window boxes exploding with flowers. My kid saw the quai …

Happy Father’s Day, Mom.

On Father’s Day, I’m reminded I’m the mom. Not in the ignorant person asking, “Yeah, but which one of you is the mom?” way. That has a connotation of “which one of you is the girl?” I resent that. We aren’t that superficially categorized. But I guess the semantics need simplification. I’m confusing myself. Lemme explain. My partner is the one who knows how to “just be” with our kids. He’s the one unperturbed with sitting on the bedroom floor, letting them toddle about, babble, sing, and play. He’s agenda-less. He lets the kids come to him and welcomes them with open arms, hugs, tickles and tolerates their make-believe. I’m the agenda-follower, vegetable-force-feeder, schedule-keeper, nighttime routine follower, iPad shunner, project-manipulator, muddy puddle-avoider, quiz-annoyer, list-checker, freaker-outer, frustration-succumber, unnecessary battle-seeker-outer, tear-causer. But not him. One of our favorite bedtime stories (Little Boy…check it out. It’s perfection), ends with the statement, “Little Boy, you remind me how so much depends on days made of now.” And my partner lives that. He’s able to be in the “now”, let …

I’m not Racist, but…

A few months ago, after my four thousandth reading of Pinkalicious, I closed the book, and thought, “Man. If I were an African-American father I would be disgusted by our book selection.” Pinkalicious. Vanilla Icing Icing Baby. Fancy Nancy. Frilly whitey. Biscuit Goes to the Farm (or does whatever). Yellow lab, white identity. Curious George. A monkey living in a white world. Ergo: white monkey. Hungry Little Caterpillar – a little white boy with an eating disorder. Clifford. Big red dog, little white girl. Where the Wild Things Are. White monsters. Dr. Seuss One fish, two fish, white kid, white kid. Goodnight Moon. Little white bunny and his old white granny whispering “hush” Harry Potter Even the “dark arts” wizards are white. (Thank goodness. Because awkward.) Lego’s are all white people, My Little Pony and Strawberry Shortcake couldn’t possibly be whiter. Sofia the First has a white character…once every 8 episodes when they’re running out of story lines for princess entitlement. And let’s not even touch the main Disney princesses (pre-Tiana, I suppose). (Alright, alright …

London With Kids: Don’t.

Day 2 in London (or was it 3 or 1? I’m confused) had the kids begging to return to the playground where we ended up after seeing ancient mummies and marble breasts. (That playground had a kid-friendly zip-line.) I had other plans in mind to torture them (and myself). I took them to the science museum because everyone says it’s spectacular. After a fairly quick Tube ride (do I put “Tube” in quotes?), I told the information desk, “I’ve got 2 hours to kill with two kids who collectively have 24 minutes of attention span. What should we do?” “Well…you could walk through the center.” “Um…OK. Just…let the science lead us?” “Precisely.” I listened to her instead of to my instincts screaming “ASK SOMEONE ELSE!” We walked through the center. On that ground floor there were feats of engineering – 1950’s Citroens, experimental airplanes, antique locomotives, space capsules (stolen?) from the USA, space suits (stolen?) from the USSR, and a laughable replication of the American lunar lander that – I shit you not – was …

Culturizing My Kiddos

My mother was an inordinately thorough tourist. It could be 6pm after a hellish 5-hour visit to some museum reading every. single. panel in every. single. exhibit. But then Mom would’ve remembered our AAA guide book said, “Oh, that house where some obscure author slept one time in 1957 is just 16 more blocks away.” So we went. She’d drag my whiny ass everywhere. And I do remember complaining; like…the entire time. I swore I’d never be the same. I feel empowered by walking out of a museum within 90 minutes because, let’s face it…nobody has that kind of attention span. Or hip flexor strength. Or stamina in their shoulders to hold a backpack of fruit snacks and water bottles while staring at dinosaurs/paintings/historical re-enactments for 4 hours. But folks…I did it, today. I’m in London with my partner (after two months solo in NYC). But he’s still working all the time as his two shows are prepping for opening night. So it’s still just me and the boys. Except we’re in London. So today …

Me: Solo.

I’ve been solo for 2 months. If you’ve spoken with me for more than six seconds over the last month, I’ve definitely reminded you when you ask, “How are ya?” “Oh…solo. That’s all. Me with two kids. All the time.” “Ohmigod. How are you holding up?” I’m fine. My partner is in London supervising two West End productions. This is what we signed up for. Long ago, when discussing becoming parents, he said to me, “But what if I have to go conduct in Vienna for three months?” “Well,” I quickly countered, “until the kids are like – fifteen? – we can all just go together. It’ll be fun!” Not for one second did I consider schlepping our lives to London for three months. I have a life – a performing career on life support and a small business that no one’s heard of (yet). I didn’t want to galavant to London for three months. And when I considered visiting for a mere month, my partner quickly brought me back to Earth. “Gavin, you’re accustomed …

Just Be A Normal Boy!

My kid’s complete obsession with princesses has not been a phase. It’s grown exponentially since he was 2. Anything with girls and pink and sparkles grabs his attention…from Strawberry Shortcake (shoot me, now) to My Little Pony (trample me, now.) Is this a genetic thing for kids (boys and girls)? An as-yet-undiscovered “pink frills” gene? And my kid’s passionate expression is impressively creative: blankies become boas, sweat pants are inverted around his head to become two braids cascading down his shoulders, skirts turn into a fierce blow-out. My son is Little Edie with a skirt-turned-turban on his damn head. Sometimes I want to shout “Just Be A Normal Boy!” (Don’t worry. I stop myself.) Instead, I vent to you, here; and the monstrosity of my intolerant thoughts becomes abundantly clear…for the entire internet, instead of just for my kid. I’m sure there’ll be no repercussions, whatsoever. But I realize my problem with his choices is my own latent self-loathing. The truth is: he’s doing what I wanted to do as a kid…twirl in beach towels-as-dresses. …

Disney Poisons My Kid

How I miss Thomas the Train.I never imagined typing those words.  To quote my older son: “I’m excessed with Disney princesses.” Truer words, son. Truer words.  I loathe those princesses.  To clarify: I’m totally fine with the veritable pu-pu platter of princess dolls he received for his birthday. What drives me ape-shit crazy is the inane conversations about dresses and hair accompanying this excession.  The princessification of our lives began with those damn YouTube videos featuring grown-ass women playing with princess “magic clips”. Seriously: they manipulate impressionable minds by opening toys shipped direct from Mattel and make videos. They’re the “Saturday morning cartoon ads” of the 2010’s. (Notice the above video has 84 million views. She must be loaded and I’m chiding her. Who’s the idiot?) It’s free advertising for Disney and (apparently) these grown-ups gain self-respect based upon their “likes” and “views” playing with toys. Worst of all, their dialogue consists of nothing more than: “Look what a beautiful dress Cinderella is wearing.” “Ooh, isn’t Anna wearing a beautiful dress?” What this woman is doing merits …