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Growing up...

Looking Back, and Looking Forward

So, here we are, the tail end of another year. I got older, my kids got older, and bigger, and stranger. My big boy uses deodorant now (I’m not embarrassing him by saying this, he was excited to hear that he’d reached this milestone.) Meanwhile my little boy (oops — I promised him I wouldn’t say little anymore, even though truth be told my 8-year-old is really the size of an average 6-year-old) has decided to grow his hair. Curiously, this makes my boy look even more like I did at that same age, with his pointy chin, jutting shoulder …Keep Reading

Fear (of the van, of strangers...) replaces good commonsense.

Beware the White Van! How Do You Balance Safety with Fear?

Kids! Beware the white panel van! I kid, sort of, but we got one of those robo calls from the school district superintendent last night informing us about two girls being approached or called out to, while they were walking home from school, by someone in a white van. (I’m sure a letter is coming, too, probably two copies of it in my boys’ separate homework folders, plus maybe another copy in the mail for good measure.) We get a lot of these, all written or spoken with great gravity and engineered, in my opinion, to stoke the maximum of …Keep Reading

Hurricane Sandy and E.B. White brought my sons and me a little bit closer together this week.

What Superstorm Sandy Taught Me About Parenting (That I Already Knew But a Reminder’s Always Nice)

When I was a young kid — surprise! — I was a big reader. I could read any time, anywhere, and I can’t recall a single moment of my childhood in which I was bored. Unlike my sister who was prone to carsickness, I could read in the car, so even a relatively short trip (say, the 45 minute drive to my grandparents’ homes) passed in a flash. I could read upside down, I could read sitting hunched on the floor until my butt fell asleep. After a while, trips  to the library were utilitarian: My mom would drop me …Keep Reading

A perfect shot of a perfect evening.

The Magic Beach. Some Thoughts on Life and Love.

That photograph, above? It’s the best picture I took this summer. When I downloaded the photos I took during our three-day trip out East on Long Island in late August, I literally gasped when I saw this one. I’m usually a pretty crap photographer, and of course this is the beach at sunset, which is basically a gift to bad photographers, but isn’t it pretty? You weren’t there, of course, so I have to tell you why else it’s perfect, other than its beach-y/sunset-y composition. It was a perfect evening, and this shot, which is of my son James and …Keep Reading

Disconcerting that this sign is necessary at a private home!

Please… No Snacks!

Last week, I took the boys, as usual, to piano lessons, which take place at our piano teacher’s house. Over the years we’ve been going, the kids’ lesson times have changed — we’ve been there on Fridays before dinner, Wednesdays immediately after school, and now, midday on Saturdays. While one of them practices in the sunroom-turned-music-room off our teacher’s living room, I sit in the living room with the other kid. I always implore the kids to bring something to do while they’re waiting — homework, a book, a word search (James went through a bizarre phase of wanting me …Keep Reading