Has it really been two months since I've written anything here? Hard to believe. The truth of the matter is that life, as always, has been hectic these days. I won't bore you with all the details. The important thing is that I've missed writing here and I'm going to try and make more of an effort. Of course, we've all heard that before.
Anyway, in lieu of a real post, here are some random cocktail napkin thoughts...
MORNING BREATH DEATH & MY NEW FAVORITE QUOTE
Like all kids, when the Peanut was a baby, her skin had the aroma of rose petals and her breath smelled like cotton candy. Those days are long over. A few weeks ago, the Peanut came into my room to wake me up. Before she could even say anything, I was overwhelmed by her morning breath. Words could not describe how bad it was.
Luckily, I was flipping through Kingsley Amis' "Lucky Jim" last night when I found quite possibly the best description of morning breath ever.
"His mouth had been used as a latrine by some small creature of the
night, and then as its mausoleum."
Does anyone else find that as brilliant as I do? No? Ok, carry on then.
WELCOME TO MY (FASHION) KINGDOM
When my wife Kelly Cutrone and I are finally in charge, wearing Crocs and socks will be punishable by death. As will jorts, Birkenstocks, and jumpers. You've all been warned.
QUICK PARENTING POLL
Sadly, the following news stories are all completely true. Help me settle a bet with a friend over which one you think is the most egregious and deserves the "worst parenting" award:
- Tattooing a one-year-old girl.
- Locking your children, ages 3 and 6, into the trunk of your car
while running errands.
- Auctioning off your 16-year-old daughter's virginity.
I voted for #3 as the worst parenting story. However, my buddy chose #2 because that parent potentially put his kids' lives at risk. What say you?
THE "F" WORD
As long-time readers know, I tend to think of myself as the Poet Laureate of Cursing or the William Strunk of Swearing. As I've said many times, I'm an avowed believer that swearing properly is truly an art form that is equal parts discretion and timing. I have little patience for people who use curse words indiscriminately.
In my humble opinion, cursing can have a place in civilized conversation but it should be used sparingly...like saffron in a motherfucking paella. You feel me?
I was thinking about swearing recently when I came across an excerpt from Sarah Silverman's new book:
Like most children, I learned to swear from a parent. But most children learn to swear by mimicking moments when a parent loses self-control. That is typically followed by the parent stressing that such words are bad and shouldn't be repeated outside the home. When I was three, I learned to swear from my father, but he taught me with every intention to do so. It was like he was teaching a "cursing as a second language" course for one.
"Bitch! Bastard! Damn! Shit!" I proclaimed with joy, if not necessarily wit, in the middle of Boys' Market in Manchester, New Hampshire. Random shoppers stopped in the aisle, and watched me with delight—or at least curiosity—as I regurgitated this mantra. Dad stood by with genuine pride, beaming through the mock surprise on his face.
When I was four I sat coloring a piece of paper during a dinner party at my Nana and Papa's house in Concord. It was a white ranch house perched on a hill with long concrete steps leading up to the front door. Nana, a fashionable woman in her late fifties, who rocked hot pink lipstick under a swirly mane of salt-and-pepper cotton candy, came out of the kitchen carrying a tray of her famous brownies.
"Sarah, Nana made brownies for you!" she beamed in the third person.
I looked up from my drawing, glanced over to my father, who gave me the nod, then turned to Nana.
"Shove 'em up your ass," I said.
The tide of the guests' laughter quickly swept away any anger Nana had toward Dad. She had to smile. Remembering this very early time makes me nostalgic for the days when naked obscenity was enough for a laugh, and didn't need any kind of crafted punch line to accompany it. It was good to be four.
Guess where I'm going with all this?
That's right. The Peanut got in trouble at school for cursing.
Now, before you all wag your fingers at me, let me just say that I do NOT curse in front of my daughter. I may let something slip out every once in awhile but I make a very conscious effort to avoid using any profanity while in her presence. BossLady and I are both quite sure she learned the curse words from one of her little friends.
Anyway, according to her teacher, the Peanut was quietly sitting with a group of friends at a table when she made a mistake on a drawing and spilled some ink. At that point, my little girl apparently yelled out, "AWWWW, FUCK!!!"
I have to confess. I was somewhat impressed with not only the Peanut's sense of comedic timing but also by the fact that she was able to use it in context.
As the old saying goes...the apple don't fall far from the fucking tree, yo!
Nielsen reported recently that children ages 2 to 5 spend nearly 25 hours a week watching television, the highest figure on record.
Regular readers know that, despite my pathological love of TV, I have never let the Peanut watch much television. While her peers were all spending hours watching Dora or some other inane cartoon, the Peanut was always limited to about 30 minutes of television per day. Most days, I never let her watch any television at all.
As she's gotten older, I've slowly loosened up the reins a little.
Ok, maybe more than just a little.
For example, the Peanut has always loved cooking (to the extent that she's now enrolled in an after-school cooking class.) So naturally, in order to "foster" her passion, I apparently no longer have a problem with her sitting in front of the television and watching as many Food Network television shows as she wants.
In fact, last week, we were walking in Tribeca and she yelled out to me, "Look, there's Bobby Flay!" Sure enough, it really was Bobby Flay. It's funny. I'm not sure how many 5-year-old kids would recognize him from television. On the flip side, she thinks every large woman with white hair is Paula Deen.
For awhile, the Peanut was interested in American Idol. However, after awhile, she lost interest pretty quickly.
Because together we discovered the show "Glee" and are now both completely obsessed with it.
Seriously, I can't even begin to explain how much fun it is to have a show that both you and your kidcan geek out over together. It's BEYOND fun. The fact that the show is "Glee" makes it even better.
There are very few things that make me happier than walking the Peanut to school while holding hands and belting out duets of Kanye West's "Golddigger," the Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want," and Young MC's "Bust a Move." It makes you remember that half the joy of parenting is remembering your childhood through your own child's eyes.
Video to follow.
POP GOES THE CULTURE: MORE THOUGHTS ON TELEVISION
Best TV drama: Friday Night Lights
Best TV sitcom: Community
Scariest thing heard on television: "I home school the girls four days a week and all the curriculum is based on the movie 'The Secret." --- The Mom on Pretty Wild, E’s newest fucked up reality show.
Shows you'd think I'd wouldn't like that I do: It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Millionaire Matchmaker.
WORD IS THE NERD
Lest you think I'm devoting all my spare time to television, I'm still reading as voraciously as ever. In the past few weeks, I've just finished reading the following three books.
"The Ask: A Novel" by Sam Lipsyte
"This Is Where I Leave You" by Jonathan Tropper
"Disgraced" by J.M. Coetzee
Technically, they are all dysfunctional family tales covering the subjects of marriage, work, parenting, and abject failure. However, the styles of writing are so completely different from one another that I found reading them back-to-back-to-back fascinating. Give them a read. All are highly recommended.
THE HAIR APPARENT
When it comes to gender roles in parenting, it's become clear that most people are still not used to seeing fathers doing certain activities with their children. I can tell that this is true by the looks that are elicited whenever I am doing what are traditionally "motherly" things with my daughter: braiding her hair, shopping for dresses, or enrolling in pottery classes with her.
Why are people surprised? Is it simply lower expectations? Is it the sense that men are fundamentally unsuited to these small acts of feminine domesticity?
Quite honestly, I don't know and I don't really care.
The activity that seems to elicit the most reaction is when people see me brushing my daughter's hair. Little do they know that this is not an activity that I tend to do by my own free choice. Quite the contrary. Apparently, the Peanut has genetically inherited my obsession with hair. As regular readers know, I spend more money on haircuts and hair products than the gross national product of Greece.
The Peanut loves her hair. When she's not asking me to brush it, she's asking me to braid it or put it in a ponytail. And if she had her way, our entire apartment would be filled with the world's largest collection of barettes, hair clips, and hair bands.
I mention this because a few weeks ago, I was giving her a bath and noticed that her hair was getting absurdly long. When wet, it reached well below the small of her back. I asked her whether she wanted me to take her to my stylist for a little trim. She adamantly refused. So then I asked her whether I could just trim a little of her hair myself. Out of what I can only assume was her undying love and trust in me, she reluctantly agreed.
Well, one thing led to another and needless to say, I'm in a lot of trouble right now.
Because I might have accidentally gotten a little carried away with the scissors. (Ok, I definitely got a little carried away. In fact, I ended up probably cutting about almost 9" of her hair. Not on purpose, I swear. I just couldn't get her bangs straight!)
Anyway, ladies and gentlemen, please allow me to introduce Asian Ramona Cleary.
The Peanut was so mad at me, she didn't speak to me for two days. Man, I freaking love this kid.