17 November 2009

The Kids Are Alright

Recently, my wife had a friend who had a party for a store opening. Her business is super cool and the stuff that they make is awesome:

It's in the same building as this place, also very cool:

Anyway, to celebrate the opening, there was a party. On a Friday night. So, my wife and I took our son out into the big, bad city after dark. On a Friday. And guess what? We were the only ones there with a kid. At least, the only ones who showed up with a kid. But I'm thinking, by the looks of it, we were the only ones there who had one.

And man, did we feel old. Even if the record scratching to a halt and the multitude of simultaneous turning heads were both a figment of my imagination, it still felt like we were suspiciously out of place. There were some other couples there, yeah, but not necessarily married ones. Young, single, possibly living in sin. No babbling little one to wake them up bright and early the following morning. It was the kind of gathering we used to attend with far more regularity pre-child. It wasn't the most kid-centric environment and our son soon grew antsy, so we didn't stay very long.

Yeah, we're those people. The ones who leave early, or worse, rarely come out anymore. The ones whose weekends are now a blur of pre-dawn wakings and diaper purchases and early nights.

"Well, um, actually a pretty nice little Saturday, we're going to go to Home Depot. Yeah, buy some wallpaper, maybe get some flooring, stuff like that. Maybe Bed, Bath & Beyond. I don't know, I don't know if we'll have enough time."

But for approximately ten minutes or so that night, it kind of felt like old times. We felt like our old selves for a moment. It was the type of thing we once did, sans offspring. I mean, there was a keg there. I almost didn't recognize it, it had been so very long since I'd seen one, even if it had been a staple of my earlier existence. Yeah. We did not belong.

Seriously, when did we get so frakkin' old?

Have we really, finally entered that grown-up phase of our life? The one with playdates and dinner parties and only associating with other old, boring marrieds? Where are all the other hipster parents (assuming that we are such)? You know, the ones from the Mini Boden catalog? Was it really that misguided and uncool to procreate?

And if so, why didn't anyone tell us?

16 November 2009

Book Club

The title of this post has a dual meaning. First, it refers to our son's interest in books, which is growing by the day, and which pleases us greatly. Second, it refers to the fact that he has, on more than one occasion, wielded a book like a blunt instrument, such as a truncheon, actually hit me in the face with a book, in his exuberant attempt to get me to read it. "Buh buh," he intones, over and over, as he shoves the book (dare I say, violently) in my direction. I should do just that, I think sometimes. Read it. To myself. Silently. And see what happens.

Probably yet another book to the face. The first rule of Book Club is . . .

Seriously, when did reading become a full-contact sport? You should see some of this kid's books. They've been completely ravaged. Thrown, torn, stepped on, chewed. My wife and I always wanted our son to be a quiet, bookish lad. This is not exactly what we had in mind.

I'm sure most new parents experience something similar, but I'm consistently torn between wanting my son to remain this wee, miniature creature forever and for him to get bigger, so that I can share more books with him, so he can read them on his own, and then we can discuss them. To introduce him to the classics. His first taste of Shel Silverstein. The adventures of Robert Louis Stevenson and Conan Doyle's tales of Sherlock Holmes. But then as my eyes scan the book shelf, my mind begins to wander, on into the future. When will he read Catch-22? Will he enjoy it? Will it have a similar profound effect on him, as it did on me?

What would he think of Everything Is Illuminated? A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius? Or the hilarious world of Ignatius P. Reilly in A Confederacy of Dunces? How young is too young to expose him to the brilliant, savage words of Hunter S. Thompson? It wasn't until college that I read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and it changed my life. Perhaps the question I should be asking is, when will his mother allow me to share such a thing with him?

For now, I'll have to remain content with the simple, delightful, toddler-oriented tomes on his shelf. The ones he makes me read so many times I no longer need to look at the pages, that I have actually committed to memory, verbatim, the way I once knew the lyrics to pretty much every Beastie Boys song. Instead, today, I know all the words to Goodnight Moon and Hippos Go Berserk! and There's a Wocket In My Pocket! And I will cherish those moments that he sits in my lap, sleepy and content, hearing his favorite story for the hundredth time and I will hope that this love of books will grow and his explorations will continue and maybe someday, he'll introduce me to some of his own favorites. Authors who haven't yet written a word, who will take the world by storm someday, the way I hope my son will.

But not too soon.

15 November 2009


For most of his very young life, our son has had a serious fascination with technology. It's been a part of his daily existence for a while now and it's interesting to witness. My wife and I did not grow up with computers or cell phones (no one in our generation did, at least not early on) and so it's bizarre to think that such items will just be a normal, regular part of our son's life, from his earliest memories.


I still remember my life before e-mail and the years I spent without owning a cell phone. They're so commonplace now, so entwined with how I conduct my life, that it seems unfathomable they weren't always here. But they weren't. Although they will be for my son. I wonder how old he'll be when he gets his first cell phone. Probably not that old. Or his first computer. Of course, there will probably be something even more futuristic than the iPhone at that point. Hologram phones or something, I suppose. Like a palm-sized RD-D2.

"Help me, Obi-Wan. You're my only hope."

He always wants to "play" with our cell phones and the TV remote and the DVD player (yes, the tray goes in and out, please stop pushing the button). We got him a toy cell phone, but with its flashing lights, cartoon voice, and oversized buttons, it's clearly an impostor and he's onto it. It rarely holds his interest as much as the real thing does.

And I'm not sure what people did before Google Images. I'm convinced now that cave drawings were early cave people attempts at entertaining their offspring. Although, our son gets antsy when it takes a few extra seconds for a web page to load, imagine waiting to see pictures chiseled out of solid rock. He's also discovered the magic of YouTube, in particular videos of Elmo from Sesame Street. We showed him that old "Menahmanah" segment from The Muppet Show, but it didn't quite have the same effect. But Elmo, singing his song about the ducks? The kid can't get enough of it. "Muh muh," he implores, meaning more, wanting us to repeat the video ad nauseum.

What about a good episode of Pigs in Space, buddy?