All posts tagged: parenting

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 …

A 3rd Few Words about Surrogacy

So we got paired with this amazing woman who was willing to get knocked up by us. Our surrogacy agency had a thorough protocol for making matches-made-in-heaven between surrogate carriers and parents-to-be: 1. Phone interview, 2. Home visit, 3. One day spent hanging out. The agency understandably wanted all parties to feel comfortable with each other. In our phone interview, the mediator asked “How much contact do you want with the surrogate during and after the pregnancy?” Obviously the agreement we’re forging is profound and involved, but I didn’t think we needed to force a family bond. An un-forced, organic friendship would be ideal. During the interview, Sheryl said, “If we’re friends during and after, that’s great. But we don’t need to force anything.” This vegetarian, non-smoking, non-drinking, non-caffeine-drinking, marathon runner was my kinda organic friend. As luck would have it, two weeks after our phone conversation, I was in Denver. I arranged to have lunch with her family in Colorado Springs, her hometown. Hers was the same highway exit as the national headquarters of …

Deep Thoughts from my 18-month-old

Colton is in a blissfully frustrating time at 18 months. He understands, “Want to brush your teeth? Take a bath? Stack blocks?” He runs to said item and is ready to brush, wash or stack. Soon he’ll be talking for real. Before that happens, I still like to imagine his thoughts: Wait, have I awoken? Yes. I’m still behind the bars of this bed. I shall make shrill sounds that force that tall one to come into my room. Cry! Ah. Hello, tall, haggard one. I’ll be quiet now. Wait. Let me collect three blankets and my paci before you pick me up. Fine. I’ll sit with you. Why would you deign to thrust this small car in my hands? Wait. Are your eyes still closed? Ugh. I’ll go entertain myself. I see a sippy cup under a chair. Four days of bacterial build up. Deeeee-lish. Tall, neglectful one? Take this sippy cup. Now. Wait, are you standing up? Cry! Blocks? Oh, fine. I’ll indulge your silly obsession with stacking blocks. Stack again. Oh, tall, …

The Single Measure of Parenting Success

I never fell apart. I felt bereft for hours and sad for days; but what most strikes me about the weeks and months after my mom’s unexpected death was that I never fell apart. (I got “the call” 7 years ago, today.) I was sad and lonely at the thought of facing life without either of my parents (Dad died when I was 8, plus I’m an only child). And I was overwhelmed by planning a funeral and closing an estate. But I never fell apart. As parents we stress about our kids measuring up to our expectations. We “just want the best for them”, (but secretly hope they’ll be the smartest and most talented and most accomplished…oh, and happiest.) We want them to win at Field Day and avoid broken hearts. We hope they’ll “go” Ivy League, find the