Monthly Archives: August 2013

Let’s Start With the Expendables And Work Backwards From There.

As a father, I want only the best for my son. For myself, the bar is set significantly lower.

For the little man, fresh produce, no sugar, everything organic. For papa, greasy pizza, gallons of coffee, and whatever ice cream’s on sale. For the little man, hip colorful books – counting and alphabet included, but not exclusive. For papa, books with swords and space explosions and Dark Jedi. For the man, Sesame Street, tasteful quirky British cartoons, and train videos. For papa, The Expendables.

What I love about The Expendables – and I do mean love, not simply appreciate – isn’t the explosions, or the chase scenes (though I do greatly enjoy them) nor even the exquisitely detailed set dressing. No, what I love about The Expendables is that it has absolutely no pretensions to be anything other than exactly what it is.

Why am I talking about The Expendables?

No, I’m asking you.

Oh. Rocky IV. Yeah. No, here – I was thinking about the fall of the USSR, and how Rocky’s sound vanquishing of Dolph Lundgren’s SuperComrade to the cheers of a Russian crowd begrudgingly won over ended up being an inappropriately apt metaphor for Capitalism’s fisco-political five-knuckle-shuffle over Soviet Communism.

And then it occurred to me that without Rocky IV my current guiltiest of pleasures would never have come to be. An I’d be reduced to watching Big Trouble In Little China over and over again on those infrequent occasions when I get to drink beer in my brother’s basement.

But why was I thinking about the fall of the Soviet Union? This has some connection to fatherhood, somewhere I swear.

Preschool! It all comes back to preschool! Here, watch – fall of the USSR. Once, they had no money. But now, MONEY! This sudden influence  of “opportunity” instead of making it all better just mashed it all up worse than a three-year-old’s play doh collection. Before there was corruption but some semblance of order, now you’ve got the mafia running the country, the president-for-life stealing superbowl rings and judo chopping tigers, and anybody who protests is shot, irradiated, or thrown in prison. A not-dissimilar situation as when you have 2 parents who devote all their time to child rearing (with occasional breaks for dishes or jobs) sending their kid to preschool for the first time.

Before, there was no time. But now, TIME! An eternity of time! 3 hours a day, 3 days a week! You have no idea what this means. Three hours. Booked. Locked in. On the calender. Not happening by accident, you’re not wondering when it will end. The ramifications are tectonic. Rome could be built and felled by a new parent with that kind of time.

Of course, this doesn’t happen. You kind of sit and stare for a while. You become crippled by the potential, no idea in what what order to take on the many volumes of your to-do list.

And mamas and papas have different ideas of how the time should be used. And this can cause friction. Spats and grudges and separate computers watching separate shows sitting in sullen separation.

But then, it’s resolved. Because there’s time. For 3 years, anytime we were awake and alone had to be spent in rapid fire debriefing of the day’s vital info, or hashing out next week’s menu family events, or strategizing the next developmental hurdles.

But now there’s time. Time to hold hands and not say anything. Time to not only fight, but make up. After 3 years of being partners in the trenches, we’re actually like a couple again.

Kinda like Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham.

Well, not anything at all like Sylvester Stallone and Jason Statham. I don’t use nearly enough beard dye to be like Sylvester Stallone.


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Plugs of the Shameless Variety

As if anyone who’s ever been covered in urine has any shame left.

So I have a blog. You know this because you are reading my blog.

But now I have another blog. Like, a professional blog. Professional as in money.

I am paid to blog. Looks like my imaginary punk band, Weapons Grade Meconium , will have to break up, as I have officially sold out.

The thing about selling out is, you can buy things.

It’s a site for dads, mainly dads of the new school – active, involved, the baby-wearing, Dr. Sears, attachment parenting set. The kind of dads who read dad blogs.

They have an online magazine called Catch, which I’ll be writing for. There’s 8 of us doing weekly posts on various fatherhood-related topics: dads & fitness, play, outdoor stuff, fatherhood throught history, and fatherhood & cooking. Which is me, my blog is titled “First, Get The Pancake”

And as long as I’m being shameless, I get a little bonus anytime somebody comments on my posts. So, you know, help a brother out.

Until next time, I remain commoditized and loving it.


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A Little Bit of Seoul, Now.

When I was growing up in a small town in —

Hold up. I’mma pause the blog for a second. I have to apologize for starting this blog, or any blog with the phrase “when I was growing up.” I am sorry for being that guy. Fatherhood, as it is so many things, is also the dawning realization that whichever guy may be referred to at any given moment, you are, or soon will be that very guy.

So, sorry.

But anyway. When I was growing up in a small town in Iowa, my family had HBO, and thus I considered myself (not unjustly, relatively speaking) cosmopolitan. We would go to see family in Madison or Boise, and weren’t we so traveled? In High School I became aware that Ireland had a strong musical tradition because my brother brought home some Pogues CD’s from college. In Northeast Iowa terms, this boy was a Scholar of Global Cultures.

It used to be so easy for a nerd to feel superior.


My son, as you may guess, has a much harder row to hoe. We ride the bus and my little guy will hear, literally as many as 4-5 languages spoken. There are entire theater companies in the cities devoted to Asian theater, Latino theater, puppet theater, and museum, don’t get me started on museums.There are science museums, art museums, children’s museums, museums dedicated to electricity to trains, there even used to be a Museum of Questionable Medical Devices.

Minneapolis lost a little bit of its soul when that place closed.

What I’m trying to say here is that my son’s superiority complex may have to be based entirely on actual personal accomplishment. Poor guy.

But all is not lost, because at almost-three, my son may be able to speak Korean.

Maybe. A little. We’re not sure.

I can’t really wrap my head around it. The internet, is, of course, to thank. Or to blame. To thame.

We watch videos in the morning to give mamas and papas a chance to wake up a little, and then again before his bedtime. I’ve mentioned this before, I think. And he’s been into a few cgi cartoons from the land of Kim Chi and Bulgogi. Both of which involve anthropomorphized heavy machinery. And mama has allegedly heard him parroting lines from these shows.

It stands to reason, really. The human brain is just a wrinkly little language sponge at 3 years old. He learned English the same way. Why shouldn’t he speak Korean?

If nothing else, he can explain to me what the hell Gangnam Style is about.

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Don’t Believe The Hype

Ahem…Facebook trading publicly. The Phantom Menace. Aaaaaaand….Swine Flu.

Name 3 things that were dramatically anti-climactic.

It comes as a surprise to no one, I would guess, but my ownself, that the first day of pre school was a non event. Little Man was a champ. To paraphrase Julius Ceasar, “He came. He played. He rocked it”

Sage, veteran, experienced parents of four year olds (and up) all advised that we’d be the ones doing the adjusting, not him. And so it went. Emotions ran a bit high in the over-three-years set that morning, but for no good reason and to no good purpose.

Now, the second day saw a little more of the drama I dreaded on the first, but the giant tub of trains in the corner was discovered and the clouds parted and birds did sing.

So we’re good now, right? Pre school? I think we’ve pretty much got that in the can. I’m now free to shift all my ambient parental anxieties towards the next major hurdle – paying for college. Nothing much happens until then anyway.

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Twas The Night Before Preschool

We got the letter last week, Little Man was accepted in to the pre-school down the street. He starts tomorrow.

I’m a wreck. I’m a wreck. Know what I am? A wreck. My little boy, my son who I’d cradle when he couldn’t even hold his head up, is going to school. When we had trouble nursing in that first week and I’d let him suck on my finger to calm him down for a few seconds and he’d look up all frightened and confused not 20 inches long and he’s going to put on a backpack tomorrow and walk down the hall away from me.

I’m bouncing off the walls. I’m freaking out here. This little person who I’ve had the inestimable privilege to watch and nurture from a pooping lump of adorable into this ambulatory, reasoning, sensitive little boy who can do character voices and quote his favorite books in their entirety, this little person is on the cusp of a massive, massive developmental change. And I am lucky enough to a part of it.

He’s going to be alone! We never did daycare, and made the decision at the beginning that Mama would stay home and we’d eat beans and rice and never buy things, so he’s never had to be in a strange room with strange adults and kids. What if he doesn’t understand? What if some kid bullies him? What if he feels abandoned by us and some sacred toddler trust is betrayed and he never loves us the same way again? It’s too soon. It’s too soon. We should wait to put him in school until he’s like, 16.

I can’t believe we’ve waited this long to do this. Everyone in our circle of friends and family have had their kids in daycare. I cannot wait to see what he’ll pick up. He’s at the point verbally and cognitively where he’s forming opinions and observations and putting things together like Sherlock with superglue. I think that this will be, developmentally, like sending a shuttle to the moon. There will be some up front challenges, but the benefits will be felt for a long time afterwards. I can’t wait to listen to him tell me about his day, about the other kids in his class.

He’ll be around other kids, he’ll start getting a group of friends. This is the beginning of our ever increasing loss of influence over him.

He’ll start making friends. This is the beginning of him growing into the man he’ll be come.

This is the beginning of him growing into a man. I’ll never hold my son again.

I’ll never hold my son again. My shoulders are relaxing thinking about it.

When we send him out with his grandparents I start missing him 10 minutes in. I don’t know what I’ll do with myself while he’s at school.

I don’t know what I’ll do with myself while he’s at school. I start getting confused and lost when I have 10 minutes to myself. I’m going to get 3 hours a day, 3 days a week now. I could…I could get bored again.

He’s going to be at school 3 days a week. How the butthole am I going to pay for this? Is there a market for the opinions of a straight white man in his indeterminate 30’s? There’s gotta be someone interested in my unique perspective on current events. Crap. Will the Baby-Mama have to go back to work?

The Baby-Mama could go back to work if she wanted. Nothing crazy, just to get out in the world again. Has it really only been 3 years?

Has it really been 3 years? I can’t believe this is happening now.

I can’t believe this is happening now.

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