When her feelings turn from tender to toxic, best strategy is keeping my mouth shut

What’s bothering her? She’s barely 10 years old. What weight of the world is she carrying? Is there something big going on in her life, or is she simply submerged under a landslide of minor injustices and irritants? Tender queries reveal two answers: “No,” and “Nothing.” Stomp. Slam. It must be hard growing up in … More When her feelings turn from tender to toxic, best strategy is keeping my mouth shut

More Daddy-Daughter dynamics: Thawing the Cold Shoulder (if you can put your finger on it)

What am I really supposed to do when we see each other in the hallway or the library or the cafeteria? The first time this became an issue, I never saw it coming. I was trying to land a job at my daughter’s charter school. There was nothing too terribly wrong with my current job. I was working … More More Daddy-Daughter dynamics: Thawing the Cold Shoulder (if you can put your finger on it)

40th Class Reunion pits memories vs. ambivalence; what’ll it be like for her?

Forty years. Sounds like a long time. That’s probably because it is a long time, even if you’re one of those Galapagos turtles. There’s a Pink Floyd lyric that’s always been lodged in my brain (taking up room that should be devoted to more important matters): “Then one day you find, 10 years have got … More 40th Class Reunion pits memories vs. ambivalence; what’ll it be like for her?

The Banana Incident: Dad stands firm, instead of slipping up

Younger Child is getting older. We marked her 9th birthday with a truly enjoyable trip to the American Girl Doll store in New York City, and took in another few attractions. I didn’t expect a birthday to bring overnight changes in Younger Daughter, of course. The changes are there, but they are slow to evolve. The … More The Banana Incident: Dad stands firm, instead of slipping up

The wonder of imagination: Wayward fish gets a condo; preparing for ‘awful’ nuptials

One of the many gifts a child can share with you is the joy of imagination, the ability to sidestep the real world and build a unique environment — one that that can pull in adults and help them recover their own memories of childhood imagination. Each day is another amazing display of how deep … More The wonder of imagination: Wayward fish gets a condo; preparing for ‘awful’ nuptials

Illness in the family: But I didn’t realize they had one of those

We had a health scare last week with the newest member of the household. It made me confront for the first time how we would break the news to our child and cope with the death of a loving family pet. When it comes to animals, though, I’m a very effective grief counselor. I go to pieces. I try to … More Illness in the family: But I didn’t realize they had one of those

Final say on Obituaries: Now it’s ‘Surrounded by family members’

You could say I’ve had a lifelong interest in obituaries. It began with writing them, in the early days of my career in journalism, and continues even today. But it makes me wonder about the future of these re-caps, recounting and chronicling of someone’s life.   I fear the importance of and attention to printed … More Final say on Obituaries: Now it’s ‘Surrounded by family members’

Book ‘shares’ Lost in Space? NASA Barbie goes for a ride — Sally Ride, that is

They used to call them book reports, back in my day. Plain and simple, with your neatest handwriting. There was a word count, and you learned the tricks for padding your prose. Book reports were generally a chore, and squelched the joy of reading. Some short-sighted classmates would “borrow” information from the inside of the book … More Book ‘shares’ Lost in Space? NASA Barbie goes for a ride — Sally Ride, that is

Tiny daggers to a child’s heart: It’s parents who feel them most — and deepest

When your child comes home with one of those little daggers in her heart — or you sense the threat of one — parental instincts move into overdrive. One time while she was in Pre-K, our daughter had spent a great deal of time at home drawing and coloring four unique pictures for four of … More Tiny daggers to a child’s heart: It’s parents who feel them most — and deepest

An old dog struggles to learn new tricks — but refuses to roll over or play dead

“Daddy, you smell like Sizzli.” I had just walked in the door after my overnight shift, and we were in the midst of our 3-way turnaround — Mom leaves for work, I get our daughter to the bus stop, and I come home and consider going to sleep. This all unfolds over 10 or so … More An old dog struggles to learn new tricks — but refuses to roll over or play dead