Showing posts from April, 2013

Divide and Conquer

I once heard people with only one child referred to as Hobby Parents. This has never seemed fair. I had only one child right up until I had two and I don’t ever recall thinking that it was easy. In fact, in many ways, having two children is easier than having one. For one thing, you’re better at it; being a parent, that is. You’ve deposited all your failures into your first child, like a miniature human latrine filled with all the arrogant assumptions and parental hubris you acquired by commiserating with other over-informed, over-programmed, doula-hiring white people during your first pregnancy. Put another way, the second time around, you know that you cannot possibly prepare for having children any more than you can prepare for the apocalypse. You just stock up on canned goods, dig a bunker, and hope you picked the right god. Before child #2 arrives, you don’t read a single book. You don’t go to a single class. You’re too focused on the vengeance your first child is preparing

The Yearbook

There are many things to say about my middle school. So many factoids, experiential leavings, tragicomic anecdotes. Like my math teacher, the deaf World War II veteran who made us write lines when he saw our lips moving. Or the English teacher who sent me to the vice-principal’s office for publicly correcting her spelling of “greatful.” Or the rampaging flocks of seagulls that laid siege to the yard during lunchtime (we had no cafeteria), stealing sandwiches from unguarded six graders and shit bombing a student or two per day. The school was located across the street from a sewage treatment plant. We once had to evacuate because of a chlorine gas leak. It was designed by the same architect who designed San Quentin. The dark tinted windows allowed us to see out, but no one could see in. My town was a progressive one, even more so in the mid 1980s. Yet I somehow recollect that the majority of our black classmates were in the same homeroom, assigned to a husband-and-wife teach

Day Eleven

Having children changes you forever. On the list of things you don’t need to be told, this fact slips neatly between stapling your finger really hurts and grown men who wear backwards baseball caps are assholes . But the funny thing is, in my case, it wasn’t really true. At least, not at first.  I do remember welling up when they placed my blood-and-vernix-covered daughter on my wife’s chest. I do remember being dumbly happy for several days after we got home from the hospital. I do remember staring at my newborn for longer than I normally stare at things that aren’t doing anything. But I don’t remember feeling like I had changed. Not meaningfully. There were practical differences. Our grocery bill had inexplicably doubled. We now owned eight quarts of Purell. And my house smelled like a dairy on a hot day. But I didn’t really feel any different. At my core, I was the same person the day before my daughter was born as I was the day after. Until the eleventh day.