All posts tagged: parenting

The Reason for the Season

Though I loathe the culture war centered around “putting the ‘Christ’ back into ‘Christmas’”, I’m definitely one who wants my children to know the reason behind every season, or in most cases…holiday. This applies most especially to holidays as “abstract” as Veteran’s Day. Yesterday my older kid jumped with joy as she celebrated having THREE DAYS OF MORNING TELEVISION this weekend. Uncharacteristically, I held my tongue so as not to deflate her joy. I’ll save the posturing about Veteran’s Day for the actual day. I’m feeling particularly attached to Veteran’s Day, this year, because of the 100th anniversary of the WWI armistice. I’ve always been masochistically fascinated by WWI. It never fails to send a sobering chill down my spine to reflect on the first war in which men were able to massacre acres of men without catching sight of each other. The wide-scale use of machine guns, tanks, airplanes and trench warfare that wasted a generation all because of agreements between insecure, rich white men trying to keep their place in the upper-class mastering the …

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 …

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 …

#MeToo and Douchebaggery

I’m late to the #MeToo conversation surrounding sexual harassment, but I’ve encountered fewer men weighing in than I’d expect. I know this is a time when men should often just shut up and listen. (Bad timing for some man-splaining?) But I also think dads and sons and brothers should be part of the conversation. This isn’t the time for anyone to ask, “but this all happened so long ago. Why bring it up, now?” (Because it still matters. Even you, Keillor.) This isn’t the time for postulating, “Yeah, it was bad, but should it really ruin someone’s life?” (Well, Spacey, maybe you should’ve thought about that before thinking with your groin. You weren’t 13. You were in your 20’s. You knew better.) Women: I’ll probably put my foot in my mouth wading into this delicate issue. So maybe I should just be speaking to the menfolk. But I have to say: I’m loving this. I love this zero-tolerance-for-douche-baggery moment we’re witnessing. And I hope it changes our culture for the good. Several female friends of …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Election 2016: Less about Hate, More about J.Lo

Oops. I’m a dumbass. And so’s the Democratic Party. We both forgot the immortal wisdom of J.Lo – to be “Jenny from the block.” For my entire adult life, I’ve stated that I’m a Democrat because I believe the powerful will always take advantage of the people. Traditionally, the Democrats represented the people, the Republicans the powerful. As I’ve reflected on the election (for every waking moment since Tuesday at 11pm), I’ve gone through familiar stages of political maturation: How could so many people be so hateful and stupid? Maybe this will be good cuz the Dems will come roaring back in 4 yrs Maybe, just maybe, this will be OK cuz Trump has been pretending to be a dipshit. Oops, nope. He’s recruiting the most insider-y of insiders to form his administration. Wait, why did so many people switch from Obama to Trump? The economy’s really strong, right? Oh, wait a minute. Economy’s strong, people are unhappy. What’s up? And then I remembered: it’s the economy, stupid. Jobs. Jobs. Jobs. Economic indicators indicate that …

Label-less and Limit-less

Over the last year I’ve had several conversations about sexual identity and gender orientation, a topic difficult for anyone to grasp, let alone our black-and-white culture. It usually begins, “It’s great you’re letting your son wear a dress.” And ends, “Do you think he’s gay?” And then I go in a mental tailspin. “What does it mean that my son wants to wear a dress? Does it mean he’s gay/transgendered/confused/abnormal? No. It’ doesn’t mean anything. He wants to wear a dress. In the end, maybe he will be one of these things, and maybe not. But why label or limit him, now? He’s 5, for Chrissake.” I try to shrug it off and be Zen. Many parents in the U.S. have already tread this path….evidenced in blogs/news/facebook/life. A boy in a dress is not that big a deal. Aaaaaaand…it still scares the shit out of me. I don’t want him to be teased. I want him to feel safe. And confident. And supported. And un-boxed-in. And this all comes from my own experiences. I came …