The Divide and Conquer Technique

The beauty of domestic bliss is that it’s so elusive. Our family is usually at its most dysfunctional when all four of us are together. My wife and I try to discuss important “grown-up stuff,” which the kids react to as if it were a level-4 biohazard that can only be neutralized via obnoxious singing and fights over crackers.[…]

The G-Rated Phraseology of Motherhood

After feeding, comforting, dressing, teaching, entertaining, and loving our children, the remaining 30% of parenting is basically trying not to say the f-word in front of them. When they’re babies, it’s fine, blast away if you want. But as anyone knows, when they get older, children have a knack for repeating things, and when given the choice between “Oh my Golly” and “Holy Fu*king Sh*t”, they’ll always choose to yell the latter in front of the new neighbors.

Are My Eardrums OK?

The four of us flew to California to visit my parents for the week. Unfortunately, Lindsay has a head cold which she contracted because Arlo likes to give her sloppy kisses followed by brazen hacks that launch glistening clouds of phlegm into the back of her throat. The boy feels just fine, and is totally himself, but has that lingering toddler hack. If he gets to laughing really hard, or breathing heavily, he breaks into a chunky spell that makes one wonder whether a thousand-year old Rabbi just climbed two flights of stairs or perhaps a Thanksgiving witch is percolating gravy in an adjacent apartment. It’s jarring until you see that every child his age has a similar hack this time of year.

What’s Illuminated When The Lights Go Out

It’s either day 6 or 7. I can’t remember. After a while, the days without routine and electricity blend together into a foggy-headed smoothie that tastes like the middle of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” sounds. We’re all walking around with grim heavy-metal faces, but all feel confused and awkward, like maybe we accidentally ate some Percocet dusted catnip.