And How Dirty Are You?

Last Friday, I let Roan skip school to go to a casting call my friends over at Planet Awesome Kid hooked up for a Benetton Ad photo shoot.  Roan’s friend Sachin went with us, and I just have to admit one thing.  The weather was much too nice to let them go back to school, even though there was plenty of time.  After such a mean winter, this day with its sun and its flowers blooming and its two boys of summer practically exploding with electricity was too too much to deny.

Breaking the Law

After a quick session with the Benetton folks, we went to Chelsea Market and got a few snacks, then headed over to a park near Chelsea Piers.  Sachin and Roan couldn’t have more excited.  There’s something extra magical that makes everything extra fun when you know you’re getting away with something, no?  Missing school to be at a park = heaven for a six-year-old.  Anson was working just a few blocks away so he snuck off for lunch and joined us at the park which totally made Roan’s day.

We headed back home in time to go teach our kickboxing class (per our verbal contract, Roan is not a student, but an assistant).  We walked Sachin home, and Boone (who also happens to be an assistant in the class) managed to convince us to go to Target and then host a sleepover.  That kid is like a ninja with getting me to say yes to things.  Because I would really never go to Target voluntarily.  He’s dangerous with persuasion.

The following day was a the Planet Awesome Kid event at Milk Studios.  This is where I had my run-in with Brooke Shields that I couldn’t help but write about.  I know, I’m pathetic.  But you know what redeems me?  The fact that I didn’t mention that Beastie Boy Mike D was there, and didn’t even hint that super duper coolness ultrahipstess Agyness Deyn was also making the rounds.  So you know, I’m cool like that, unaffected etc.

Whatever.  I’m lame I can’t help it I love to star spot and tell.  That’s my weakness.  The only one.

And the grand finale was Boone’s Birthday party at the park – with beautiful weather and good friends and three-legged races, (which Emmie figured out how to win), and my favorite thing, frisbee playing with my kidney-challenged nephew, Dallas.

Three-Legged-Race

That's Not Cheating, Right?

The weekend took one shower and three baths to finally get all the dirt off of my son’s body, but that to me is a badge of honor.  I believe the amount of dirt on a person is directionally proportionate to how much fun was had.  And makes no mistake, this was one filthy child.

[P.S. Momversation is running my City Kids vs. Suburban Kids piece.  Go see me at the big time!

P.P.S. The Stir is also linking to the piece.  Checkitout here!]

City Kids vs. Suburban Kids

Not Thinking About It

This vs. That.  Left vs. Right.  Gay vs. Straight.  Butter vs. Margarine.  Breeders vs. Ballers.  It would seem that we human beings are hard-wired to compare everything.  And in the comparing, we become competitive and not just collectors of information.  It ends up being My Way vs. Everyone Else’s Way or simply put, “LA LA LA LA LA I can’t HEAR you LA LA LA LA my way my way my way”.  I’ve found that this is particularly true in the parenting conversations.  I’d guess that through my empirical research (of thinking in my head) that the reason parents get so hot when defending their parenting style choices is that if they were wrong, holy cow.  That sucks to actually parent in the wrong way.  So, it’s best to defend one’s choices to the death.  Clearly.

I’ve heard more than one time, from more than one person, that they could never raise their child in New York City.  This is usually followed by a somewhat disingenuous caveat “But you of course seem to be doing fine with it…”

I get it.  Totally.  No space, unpredictable wacked out people on the subways, the filth, the crime.  I apologize daily in my heart to my son for not having a bigger home (though he never ever has seemed to want more space), and I wonder how awesome it would feel for him to hop on a bicycle in front of his home and cruise around in a cul-de-sac like his cousins in Utah do.  He is filled with wonder by all things suburban:  Malls, shopping centers, and drive-thru’s.  These are pure magic to my city kid.

But I don’t doubt for a single minute that Roan benefits so much from growing up in this city.  He has a wicked sense of navigation on the subway.  My 6-year-old can get you uptown, across town, and even out-of-town pretty much on his own.  I like that.  He’s confident walking through subway stations and operating subway turnstiles.  Roan knows to give up a seat to someone elderly (like me), he knows to avoid eye contact with strangers who are acting strangely.  He also can walk miles and miles in a day, because we do not own a car and that’s the deal.  A really cool perk of living here?  About 80% of the things he sees on TV shows (Sesame Street, Cyber Chase, etc.) are things he can actually visit if they piqué his interest.  Everything is just a subway ride away.

My city kid has started using city kid lingo.  He says, “I’ll wet you” when threatening to throw a water balloon.  We didn’t say that in Colorado.  He tells me to get “on-line” not “in line” which still sounds funny in my Colorado ears.  He calls the corner store a “Bodega” and not a corner store, and has started fluidly turning the phrase, “How ya doin? How’s everything?” like an old school neighborhood guy.  Roan thinks all things are delivered and really they are.  From dinner to laundry to groceries, everything comes to our front door.

And I was raised in exactly the opposite way, by an opposite set of parents in an opposite land.  I think back on summer nights spent running around like a banshee with parents nowhere in sight, and having to get in a car for every single outing.  I was happy.  Roan is happy.  And I think that in this battle of raising a kid in the city vs. raising a kid in the suburbs, the answer is:  kids are kids and have a capacity to be happy in pretty much any circumstance as long as they know they’re loved.  And parents are parents, regardless of population or geography.  Parents have the capacity to make a child thrive even in the most difficult of circumstances, be that suburban or urban.

But still, you demand a winner in this versus match?  Ok, city kids win.  But that’s just because I’m raising my kid in a city.  And also?  Where else could Roan and Rowan dance while Rowan’s mother, Brooke Shields, and I lament about the cost of the gymnastics class our kids are going to?  (I know it’s obvious, but I’ve been dying to fit in a way to get that story into Pistols.  Desperate and sad, I know.  But true!).  And as I said, it’s best to defend one’s choices to the death.  Clearly.

What about you?  Where are you, and how’s it going?  Would you move to the other side if you could?

Too Soon to be Left Alone?

Update: please check out fatty’s site today – for information on how to help my nephew, Dallas, as he goes hand-to-hand with kidney failure, again.  Thank you!!

Too Soon to be Left Alone?

I make really stupid decisions sometimes.  The problem with me (or perhaps an amazing attribute), is that I’m great at justification, rationalization and twisting an idea just so, to fit what I need.  Typically, the fallout of being built this way just lands on me.  Ok ok and Anson too, as this super power also extends to arguments and the ability to twist things in a very nuanced way.  Back to my stupidity, though –  I had two situations come up recently that I think I might have blown.  They both involve leaving Roan unattended, not for a very long time, but still – unattended.

The first was a morning when I had a doctor’s appointment.  I needed just five extra minutes to get there on time.  Five minutes that ran smack into the time I’m dropping Roan off at school.  I asked him if he felt comfortable staying in the school yard without me.  He lit up like a fire and said, “YES!”  Roan is really excited about expanding any boundaries in his six-year-old life.  I’m pretty sure he’d move into his own place if we offered it.  So long as I was there to read books each night.  And cook.  And play video games.  So we walked to school together, and were around five minutes earlier than normal, and there was exactly nobody there.  The school yard was empty, there were no teachers.  I hesitated for a minute, and Roan said, “I’m fine, go!” I watched him mill around the yard for around 45 seconds, then ran like hell to get to my appointment.  Guilt plagued me.  What if…and what if….and what if….It wasn’t a great morning.  My friend Adam who is a champion Chops-Buster sent me this email, which I read in the doc’s office:

Do you know who this abandoned child is? – was thinking of doing a post about him on my blog. ….. but then I thought ….. there’s this really cool blog about parenting, etc …. guns and gummy bears?? … something like that … written by this excellent mom who’s really funny (to some) ….

And by the way, Roan is an excellent actor.

Have a great day -

From the pudgy little loser. X

Then he was kind enough to add this picture, just to put my heart at ease:

Abandoned.

The email actually did me a world of good as I knew my friend the Pudgy Little Loser was looking after Roan. (Full disclosure:  he’s not pudgy, little or a loser.  Actually, he’s a real life Rock Star)  When I picked Roan up from school that day, we went over how the abandonment went, and he actually admitted that he didn’t like it very much.  Which made my heart bleed a few drops of blood into my spleen but that’s cool.  So I pretty much deduced that I had blown it, that I wouldn’t be leaving him in the school yard again.  Until he’s eighteen.

The next situation came up last week, while Roan was sick.  It was on one of the days where he was doing alright – but really low energy, and glued to the couch, in and out of sleep.  Okeee…how do I write about this without it becoming way tooooo much info….?  Let’s just say, I suddenly needed some toiletries, and there were no toiletries of the specific kind I needed anywhere in my home.  My choices were to drag Roan off the couch, get him dressed, and pull him into the cold hard winter day to walk to the corner store.  Or I could put on a movie, throw on my running shoes, sprint there and be back within six minutes.  I chose the latter.  Roan was all for it, and again, even a little stoked that I trusted him to be there for a bit on his own.  But my heart raced the entire time, thinking what if….what if….what if….

I was gone probably five minutes (I’m a good runner when I’m motivated!) and the boy was fine, exactly in the same place I’d left him.  I didn’t feel too badly about this choice, rationalizing that in Suburbia, people leave their kids on one floor of a home, while they run to the basement or garage or some such.  Was it that different?

I’d love to hear what you have to say about these two situations.  Be honest, I can take it.  Plus, my lapsed Mormon-girl-self I left in my teenage years is hungry for some guilt, so bring it. Of course, if you think I was right on spot on, let me know that too.  It may help me sleep better at night.

Little Lunalu

www.littlelunalu.com

There’s a supercool lady by the name of Adina who runs an equally supercool site called Little Lunalu out of exotic and exciting LONDON.  Seriously, I know living in Metropolitan NYC means I shouldn’t be starstruck by an English accent or the coolness of living in the UK, but I just can’t help myself.  I like it, I like it a lot.

Adina has invited me to contribute to her site, and has published my first attempt here.  Check it out.  Little Lunalu has an exciting future coming up.  They’re a children’s site which will be re-launching in March with a new fancy pants look and lots of the coolest items for your kid.  But for now, click here, and please read my entry with a British Accent.

Cheers and Tally Ho!

Sick Day Quickie

XXXHolic

Another quick and dirty post because Roan is totally giving me the stink-eye for being on the computer.  He would prefer that I watch him watch semi-inappropriate Japanese Anime (current favorite: XXXHolic.  Believe me, I’m well aware that the title would lead you to think it’s a show only a freaky freak would look at, in private.  But it’s actually a pretty beautiful and only subtly wrong show that has captured my boy’s heart.)

So Roan had a fever Sunday night and we rested on Monday.  Tuesday he rallied and we went to the Sony Wonder Technology Lab with Roan’s homie, Sachin.  This place is great, and it is free.  If you live in or around NYC and have kids it’s a destination, for sure.  Plan on spending a few hours, and it’s not ever over crowded as they only let a limited number of people in each day.

But unlucky Roan spiked another fever last night, and is still hot today.  So today is another rest day, full of TV, Monopoly and juice.  He is extra cute when he’s sick so there’s that.  And because Roan has just put his head in my lap, I’m outta here.

Appaman Coats!

But I will leave you to ponder the connection between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie dressing their kids in a lot of Appaman lately, and these images (scroll down the boys numbers on the right).  Or maybe they saw this?  My feeling is that Brad and Angie were heavily influenced by the little Blondie with the colors in his hair.

And one more thing!  (Oy Roan is seriously practically on top of me.  I can no longer access the right side of my keyboard.)  Tonight is the NY Premier of Shutter Island, the Martin Scorsese film starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley and Michelle Williams.  Last year Michelle Williams donated tickets to this premier to my Livestrong Challenge Fundraiser.  I just want to say to the winner, Michelle from Thursday Night Smackdown….I’m still available as a date tonight, and I clean up reeeeeeeeel nice.  I’ve had a pedicure just in case you call.

Auditions, Photo Shoots and Brownies

My Zoolander, from the Appaman Fall/Winter 2010 collection

There are a myriad of ways I can think of to screw up my kid’s childhood.  I could be an absent parent, I could be over-involved.  I could be oppressive suppressive or repressive.  I could push him to fulfill the dreams I had for myself, the ones I couldn’t get around to doing on my own.  I could over-share about him on a blog (*ahem*).  And with these things in mind, I can barely just barely mask my excitement at Roan being invited to audition for an Adam Sandler movie.  I mean – I would have totally lost my mind over something like that as a kid.  And Roan?  After initially being Mr. Cool about it, is now kind of on fire about it.  My friend Anna over at Mommy Poppins put the word out that they were casting for this movie here in our town of NYC, so I emailed a few shots of Roan from his Appaman photo shoot to the casting agency.  Now – I’ve never gone to casting agent school, I’ve not ever been to an audition and I’ve not even watched Living Lohan so I don’t really know how these things work.  But suddenly an invite, a script, a time and date landed in my inbox and my wahoooooo we’re on our way.

But first my head jumped to Macaulay Culkin.  I thought about Lindsay Lohan and Gary Coleman.  I wondered why I would even get Roan near an industry that turns out these types of disasters.  But as my sister Kellene pointed out,  it’s the kind of opportunity that will likely not fall from the sky again.  We should check it out, and see if it’s a good fit for Roan.  And he’s proud about it.  He got the attention he lives for from his cousin Emmie as she worked with him on the script over the weekend.  He snuck the script into his book bag today before school, and I caught him reading it silently while I was visiting his classroom this morning.  So I’m taking him to the audition tomorrow, and hoping that he knows how proud I am of him for being brave enough to get through it.

I think the chances are beyond slim that he could land the part.  My boy has no experience being a performer, other than the occasional dramatic put-on when negotiating for something he wants.  But luckily he doesn’t really have an awareness yet of getting chosen or rejected.  He enjoys the chase, as the end.  Roan went to a casting call for Mini Boden (a clothing company) over the weekend, and after they snapped a few test pictures and video of him, he told me that he loved that photo shoot.   He feels so confident and capable, and I love how that shines from him.

So.  Tomorrow, a movie audition followed by a Mommy-Roan date of hot cocoa and brownies in Greenwich Village.  I do not even have the words to say how much fun life is with this kid.  Lucky and Loved.

Muay Thai Kickboxing for Kids, Round 2

Photo Credit: Isak Tiner

After much procrastination and Roan totally getting ready to poke my eyes out because I’ve put it off for so long, I’m finally ready to start teaching Muay Thai Kickboxing for kids, again.  I love teaching these classes.  First, there is something inherently cute about a kid in boxing gloves.  Second, it is so cool to see kids feel strong and powerful, and third, there is also something profoundly hysterical about kids putting punching and kicking combinations together. Roan loves having me teach these things and I love having him be proud of me.

I’m starting with just two classes, so if you’re in the NYC area and have a kid between the ages of 5 – 10, you can register them here.  Registration is for twelve weeks, one day per week, either Thursday or Friday, from 3:30 – 4:15, beginning on February 25, 2010.  They’ll be held at Area Yoga but my advice is to not take a yoga class during that time because baby…..I like my people to get loud.  And in my experience, these kids do not hold back on their “Hiiiiiiiiii-Yaaaaaaaa’s”!

Superlatives Are Not My Style, But OK.

Roan is featured on Time Out New York Kids homepage this week.  For reals I’m not one of those moms who’s all “HEY LOOK AT HOW CUTE MY KID IS!” well I am a little bit but not to this degree but hey everybody?  Go look at how cute my kid is.

Time Out New York Kids

What’s This? Helllloooo 2010!

New Look

Along with loving me, Anson also loves things that are well placed and beautiful.  There was an incident one Easter regarding a hidden egg, and how it wasn’t necessarily placed in the most beautiful way upon the bathtub ledge, which he endured ridicule by me as he nuanced the egg’s placement.  I’m not kidding.  As you may well imagine, Anson’s sensibilities have finally had it with the slap-shot way my site has looked since its inception. Over the holidays he spent hours and hours, and also carved three new lines on his forehead from squinting to give me this new and improved specimen.  There are tweaks that cannot be un-tweaked in some cases, so please just endure old posts where things don’t line up exactly right.  My old platform was basically a sadistic archaic mean-spirited thing, which we will not speak of.  It’s just too soon.  I look forward to writing a post detailing the last week of the year, and all the Fat Cyclist hijinx, but for now, let’s just enjoy this new look together.  That’s it….settle in and enjoy.

P.S. Programming note to my Email Subscribers – we couldn’t figure out how to transfer your subscription, so you won’t be emailed with my new posts, unless you subscribe to the new RSS feed (See it?  Just up there up top?).  Sorry and thank you and also, sorry.  OK. Thanks.

Snow Man Boy



Every year of his life, so far, it has snowed on Roan’s birthday. It’s something he counts on, and he fully believes that the world just somehow knows to celebrate in this fashion. This year was possibly the best snowstorm yet. It began during his birthday party, which amped up the already super-hyper vibe of the day. It lasted all day, and left our fair town covered in a blanket, which was obviously begging to be rolled around in.






I don’t know if it’s because he was born in December or if he’s super human or just super weird, but my boy feels no cold. He can be found with an unzipped coat on the coldest of days, no hat, no gloves. I gave up the fight when he was old enough to express his needs verbally – I figured if he was cold, he’d tell me and that I could end the epic struggle to force him into warm clothing. So far? In his six years? He’s not asked for the warmth yet. And while it chilled me to shivers just watching him bury his body in the snow this weekend, the strange little child couldn’t have been happier.