29 October 2010

On Self-Examination

I'm losing it. It's not that I'm less confused, but that I don't feel I have the time to be confused. Like it's a luxury. I still like writing and blogging, but dealing with my own self seems out of place right now.

Here, you can always count on Saul Bellow (from the short story, "Something to Remember Me By"):

. . . self-examination, once so fascinating to me, has become tiresome.

I now have a blog about fatherhood, and who knows, maybe I have more of them blogs lying around somewhere, but I feel like I'm losing my steam here. Like this one is becoming the dumping ground for things that don't fit elsewhere.

I mean, it's not exactly like that. This is still my own private space, my own literary journal. But maybe I need...

I've seen these posts before. Look at people's blogrolls and you'll find dozens of blogs that end with "I need a break," before the spam vultures take over.

I hate this, but I also don't want to write halfheartedly. What was once the only thing keeping me sane is now, well, a task. Maybe I'll be back. Maybe I'll start again. Maybe not. I can't tell right now.

Thanks to everyone who has grown with me and celebrated with me and laughed with me and laughed at me.

20 October 2010

If I Don't Play, No One Gets to Play!

Now that he's older, raising him is not just about making sure he gets through the day. It's not just about feeding him and making sure he naps. It's also about making sure he grows up to be a good kid. It's about finding the balance, which I think my mom always tried to find, between these two contradictory statements: One, be good. Two, don't take shit from no one.

I love this video. Before we got in to see a soccer match between Manchester City and Inter Milan, a group of older kids got some cones and started playing in the parking lot. They were nice to the little guy who really didn't know what he was doing and had no place there. They let him kick the ball a few times, and they didn't complain when he ran up and down and got in their way, but they didn't come there to babysit. They were there to play soccer.

And I have to say I was a little bit proud to see him being a bully without even knowing it--basically acting the old bully line: If I Don't Play, No One Gets to Play!

07 October 2010

I Understand the Haters

There are websites devoted to people who hate parents (found via Sex and the Single Dad).Well, there's everything on the Internet. It's like that parallel universe theory. If the universe is infinite, then there's bound to be another planet just like this one, only a little bit different. Like, rainbows smell bad different. I'm trying to say that everything is on the Internet--including a site devoted to people who call parents breeders. It doesn't mean the Internet is full of haters, just that it's infinite and that infinite things contain all the beauty of the world and all its ugliness.

Thing is, it could have been me. I could have been the one complaining I had to work on Halloween because my co-workers' two-year-old kids wanted them around for trick-or-treat. I could have been the one saying fertility drugs should be banned. Maybe I would have been the one calling an online discussion between mothers a Moofest.

It's all there. And it could have been me.

I understand people who choose not to become parents. There are many good reasons not to be parents. Maybe you had bad parents and you're afraid of making the same mistakes. Maybe you heard "a child changes everything," and you want no change. I understand.

And I know it could have been me.

You go to a restaurant with a couple with babies. In the car, all they talk about is the kids. At the restaurant, the kids do all the talking, because it's exciting to be in a restaurant. And then the parents go to get a soda refill, and you give their kids a chip. When they come back, they say, "You gave him a chip??? Now he won't eat anything else!!!"

So I understand. You get older, and everyone you know is making babies. And you can see them losing their identities to their new glorified Parent identities, and just when you think they're about to regain some of what it was they had lost in the delivery room, they go and make another baby!!!

So I understand. Because it could have been me. I didn't want to become my parents, and I didn't want my life to change, so why make babies?

And yet, of course I was going to have babies. They're fun. And they allow you to relive your own childhood. And they cuddle. And they learn and they teach.

I understand the haters. I wish they didn't hate, but I understand them. I wish they didn't care about what I choose to do with my life, but that means I shouldn't care what they choose to do on the Internet. The Internet is infinite, which means I can avoid the ugly parts.

Oh, and there's a punchline. Earlier tonight, a friend (with no kids) and I went with my kids to Chipotle. We sat down with the food, and I went to get drinks. By the time I came back, my friend had already given Liam a chip, which meant Liam would eat nothing but chips. And as soon as I told my friend that Liam now wouldn't eat anything else, I realized I should have kept it to myself. Parents are annoying, I know. But look, he's reading my favorite book!

25 September 2010

Madeline's Name

A couple of months ago, a high-school friend asked me (on Facebook) what was Madeline's Hebrew name. In his defense, maybe he was joking. You don't know with some people. Still, it's common for Jewish people to have a Hebrew name, and even though I don't believe in that whole God and His Talking Snake thing, it was on my mind when I was thinking about a name.

When the name Madeline came up for the first time, I wasn't sure. It wasn't just a non-Jewish name--it was a New Testament name. The only way it could work was if I found an example of a non-observant Jewish Madeline who was also a cool, strong woman. Then I found this video, and Madeline got her name.

15 September 2010


I think I'm losing the Hebrew battle. He used to talk to me in Hebrew and to everyone else in English, but right now it's pretty much all English. Not sure what to do about it, though. The only thing I can think of is somehow finding another Israeli around here. I actually thought about putting an ad on Craigslist, looking for Liberal Atheist parents of a two-year-old Hebrew speaker. In Baltimore. Anyone?

Not enough people watched Drag Me to Hell to appreciate the brilliance of my previous post. Which means I might have to forgo my 2012 post. And I had such great insight about the President in the movie, who just like our current President, is African-American, loves his family, and will kill anyone who stands in his way.

As much as I hate the New Yorkers who protested the "Ground Zero Mosque," I have to appreciate them for choosing Carl Paladino as the GOP Governor candidate, because at least they have an apocalyptic sense of humor. Congratulations, CP!

So now that I'm slowly realizing Facebook is not JUST about creating enemies, I find more people I knew in high school. But my hand shakes every time I hover around the Add as Friend button. Because then what? She'll tell me my kids are cute, I'll tell her she looks happy. And? Am I missing something? Is it worth it? Because I have a feeling that it makes more sense to lose touch with your friends just after high school than reconnecting twenty years later to find out your high school self should have been a little more picky. I don't know. Or should I press the damn button and ask questions later?
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