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Month: May 2012

Fatherly Lessons

I suppose they were reasonable things to come from a father’s mouth. Still, they took me by surprise. “Only move one body part at a time,” I overheard my husband saying as he helped our young son up a ladder. “Grab it around the stripe; fingers across the laces,” he explained a few days later on the subject of throwing a spiral. That night, he gave an impromptu lesson in scooping unyielding ice cream from a carton: “Use the fancy spoons,” he said. “They don’t bend.”

The information floored me. I didn’t know these things. How did I not know these things? Was I supposed to have learned them from my dad?

I asked friends what their dads had taught them and was aghast to find that their pops had instructed them in physical feats like surfing and fishing, and practical tasks like changing tires and hammering nails. They’d insisted their kids give firm handshakes and pack only what they could carry. They spouted sensible maxims like “Finish what you start” and “There’s no excuse for being late. Ever.”

Size 10s Need Not Apply

I thought I had women all figured out. Thought I understood how they think. Thought I knew what makes chicks tick.

Ladies, I’ve always presupposed, want a man with a certain set of attributes: funny, smart, romantic. Confident, dependable, good listener. Passionate, generous, and possessing a pot to piss in. The list is so predictable, it’s clichéd. Or so I thought.

Turns out there are at least 13 single gals in the greater New York area who find this to be a fetching characteristic in a fella: He requires that his sweetheart fit into clothing between size zero and eight … and that she prove it.

Earlier this month, a baker’s dozen of single-and-searching women paid actual money to attend a Manhattan matchmaking event called Skinny Minny Speed Dating. Hosted by, the soirée promised to introduce single fellas (of any size) to women three to seven dress sizes smaller than the average American gal.

The photo accompanying the online invitation shows a man stroking the chin of a woman who looks like Skeletor on Atkins. “Guys, no need to worry about meeting a biggie-size chick,” the invitation said. “We’ll be checking labels at the door!”

One Tyke, One Teen

It’s the most irksome and indubitable law of the universe: Fate favors The Planner. The gal with the foresight to research preschools while she’s pregnant. Or to begin funding a 529 plan before her child can even gurgle the word “college.” Or to know what the frack she’s serving her family for dinner before she gets home from work at 6:22 p.m. and announces, yet again, “Umm … exciting news, everyone: It’s soup night! Grab your favorite can!”

In life — and in parenting, especially — she who wings it regrets it. But that’s exactly how I wound up having my kids seven years apart. When the other moms in my baby group were plotting their second and even third children, citing anecdotes about brotherly bonding and quoting stats about the effect of sibling spacing on each child’s health, intelligence, and self-esteem … I was busy trying to distinguish Boudreaux’s Butt Paste from Motherlove Nipple Cream, clawing my way out from beneath daily heaps of burp cloths and wondering if I’d accidentally stuffed my once-vigorous mojo into the Diaper Genie during a bleary-eyed late-night changing.

By the time I emerged from the disorienting fog of baby care into the dense haze of toddler care and then, well, into the light but still unpleasantly wet mist of 1st-grader care (okay, I’m easily overwhelmed), it was too late to have children who would ever want to ride the same rides at Disneyland much less be able to attend the same school.

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