All posts tagged: parenthood

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 …

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. …

The happy meal place (or: the time I took a side of parentheses with that)

First of all, if there was any question in your minds, let me shuffle-ball-change out of the closet loud and proud: I’m a food snob. I wholeheartedly embrace Michael Pollan’s “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly vegetables.” When I was the perfect parent (meaning: before kids), I knew fast food would never touch the lips of my precious snowflakes. Admittedly, it’s easy to avoid fast food living in New York City. You’re never in a car, the kids haven’t fallen asleep in the back, and all food is fast. But I understand that fast food drive-thrus are a godsend…in desperate situations… zombee armageddons, heavy thunderstorms and refugees. Oh, and when Daddy flirts with jail time during a road trip due to a desperate yearning for “friesandashake” and considers* leaving the kids asleep in the backseat cuz who’s gonna know and you’ll be really fast and besides the dog’s in there with them. But we all know (don’t we???) that McD’s is responsible, in part, for the destruction of now-infertile fields from Fargo to Fresno, the …

OMG. I’m on the Other Side

Last night, a good friend texted, “I hate everything and everyone.” We aren’t in regular contact, but we trade messages when we’ve reached the ends of our ropes. She has a 5-year-old and a 9-month-old. She continued, “Am I a bad parent if I want to give my children away? The oldest one does not stop whining. Ever. And the youngest doesn’t stop crying. I may have to commit myself.” I responded, “Yes. You’re a bad parent. And you’re on the bad parent bus with me as the driver. And let’s face it – do you really wanna be on a ‘good parenting’ bus with someone who can’t say a bad thing about their kids?” Her husband was home watching TV with their older son, the baby was in the crib (crying). I told her “Go scream into a pillow. Go outside and lie on the sidewalk and stare at the sky. Go. You have the right. Have a drink. You’ve earned it.” Then texting felt silly and I called her and said, “Vent. Vent …

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 …

Marathon Training: Not for My Mental Health

Ain’t that a cute video? Romantic shots of NYC during an evening run? So I’m training for the NYC marathon. I’m not a born long-distance runner, but I’m having fun. And I do enjoy my runs (afterward). A few weeks ago, I cranked out one of my 4-milers on a gorgeous fall evening along the Hudson River Park. I’ve been running with an action camera clipped to my visor to make silly videos like the one above. Here was my train of thought during the run: Nights like these I love New York; the weather, lit buildings, everyone exercising together. Tons of joggers. So. Many. Hotties. I’ve forgotten what it feels like to be out in public around kids’ bedtime. There’s life going on while I’m herding cats, brushing teeth, collapsing. But I feel so alive among the nighttime masses. Nice pace. I could keep this up for awhile. I’m not gonna let anyone pass me, this time. No more slow running. And the smell of the river. Hmmm. Sewage-y. Love that Lackawanna ferry terminal …

Little Girl/Gay Music

Driving up the Merritt Parkway and listening to Disney Pandora with my boys a few weeks ago, I found myself jamming to “When Will My Life Begin?” from Tangled. I’ve never seen Tangled, but I couldn’t resist that song. I know. I’m a grown man bopping my head to silly princess music. But trust me: it is so catchy. I felt silly, I admit. I’m a musician and enjoy all types of music. But the under-sized Napoleons in my life dictate “ABC’s” or “Princesses” when we drive. And I find myself bouncing my head to many of the songs on Pandora’s “Kid’s Pop” station. But don’t we all secretly like Katy Perry? Just a little bit? I mean, when she was on that awkward firework-spewing contraption at the Super Bowl, didn’t we all feel a little thrill? Well I did. I’ve always had a penchant for catchy pop music, within reason. Pop radio stations are awful for more than 15 minutes. Everything’s interchangeable. Too much is even too superficial for me. But those summer anthems …

Rainbows and Unicorns

Recently a dear friend told me she reads my blog (13th reader!) and likes it, but…“I could use a few more rainbows and unicorns.” She is sweet. I am not. Well, I can be. But I won’t sanitize my parenting life…because it is HARD, people. Given the choice, I would have another acting gig and make peace with giving 85% of my salary to childcare. (It ain’t for lack of trying. Any casting directors out there reading this?) Admittedly, then I’d complain about being away from my boys so much. Complaining is so satisfying. Aren’t playground conversations all about commiseration? It lets us know we’re not alone. Plus, rainbow and unicorn parenting blogs just annoy me. 1. They make me feel like I’m not creative/energetic/crafty enough, 2. I don’t believe them. I think I’ve made it clear I would take a bullet for both my kids, but being a stay-at-home-dad is not in my DNA. The fact is: my days don’t feel full of rainbows and unicorns. It actually feels like a frantic struggle to …