All posts tagged: kids

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 …

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 …

#letsbebetter

I’m embarrassed to have remained Facebook-silent about the tragedies in Baton Rouge and St Paul and Dallas when I’m frequently outspoken about other issues. It took me a few days to formulate my thoughts in the hurricane of disgust and depression we all feel. My simple thought is this: why are we so damn afraid? FDR had it right declaring fear the only thing we have to fear. But from the most recent tragic shootings in the forefront of our minds to the all-but-forgotten massacre in Orlando, our society is just so afraid. And of what? We Americans are literally inventing reasons to kill each other. Yes, there’s the 1%ers and climate change and job loss and globalization and economic downturns and cancellations of The Good Wife. But we are the country of shining cities on a hill and streets paved with gold. We are the emulation of the entire world. Everyone wants to be us.* And yet we are so very afraid. Whites are afraid of Blacks. Southerners are afraid of “Northern aggression”. Northerners …

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 …