All posts tagged: kids

So That’s Where We Are, Now

Welp, we’ve hit another funky milestone. We’re trying on different pronouns in our household. Before school started, my partner and I asked the big kid, “What would you like to say, this year? ‘He’ or ‘she’?” Kiddo answered sheepishly, “She.” Oh. Okay. So there we are. An hour later, we were discussing my show, Head Over Heels,in which a trans actress plays a non-binary character. My older kid is officially obsessed with this gender-bending character (played by Peppermint, the drag queenfamous for her stellar turn on RuPaul’s Drag Raceas well as for being the first contestant who was outwardly trans beforecompeting on RuPaul.) In the conversation with my kiddo, I had to backtrack withhersaying, “But wait. You know Peppermint is a trans woman playing a non-binary role?” “Yeah! A ‘they’. Like me! I’m ‘they’!” Oh. Okay. So there we are. An hour later, I sat with her/theyand said, “Now, sweetie, do you want me to say something to your teachers about how you want to be addressed?” “Daddy,” she/they said, “can we stop talking about …

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 …

Being a Gender Hypocrite

I’m sitting, watching both my kids play soccer in summer camp, right now. I can’t believe my gender-fluid kid is playing soccer. I mean, last week, when my younger one took his lesson, the older was impressed there was a girl in his class. So this week? Older was mildly curious. And the next week? Suddenly he’s playing. This is amazing. And stupefying. He insists he doesn’t want to play soccer, but he jumped in with only mild prodding by me just five minutes ago. I want to expose my kids to everything. Being well-rounded makes life so much richer. I loved being a college athlete and artist and academic, simultaneously. I’ve often been conflicted about sports because our culture is already so ridiculously Type-A, competition-obsessed, but I think playing a game and exercise are interests to cultivate. Plus, if you at least know the rules and have basic skills in a sport, life’s just easier and more fun. And less frustrating when you’re stuck at a high school retreat for the student council and …

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 …