Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I'm gonna let you in on a secret: People with two kids think of having only one kid as "a nice hobby".

This is, of course, horse-shit, but when you go through that second infancy, everything before kid #2 starts to look like an extended sunday afternoon seen through a gauzy filter. People with three kids are in an entirely different class than me. I have heard legends of people having MORE THAN THREE. Furtive whispers in the dark, rumors, even a few sightings in the wilds of suburbia. If you are wealthy and can afford staff members, I suppose you could squeeze out kids until they give you a reality special, but if you are a middle-class urbanite, sooner or later you're going to run out of room for extra murphy beds.

So two it is. I have no desire to weep from exhaustion yet again, I've only got two hands to hold while crossing the road, and I'm not going to leave the city until I have a chance to be one of those ancient urban dwellers that can always get a seat on the subway. Jack seems to be with me on this. He and Isaac helped mom work her shift in the childcare room of the food co-op the other day. Apparently they had a pretty small baby in there for most of the shift. As I walked the boys home, Jack looked up at me, one eye squinting in the sun.

"Y'know, dad? It doesn't take THREE babies to make trouble for a four-year-old and a five-and-a-half-year-old."

"Oh, yeah? How many does it take?"

"It takes ONE, dad." There is a smile on his face, but it is an ironic smile.

" It just. Takes. One."


Raising children wouldn't be so embarrassing if we didn't have to do it in public. There is a small, feral part of me that wants to run off into wilds and live in a cave or mud hut or a yurt. Somewhere where it doesn't matter if my kid has chocolate stains on his shirt or asks in the world's loudest voice why fat people waddle when they walk. I spend the better part of every interaction my child has with a stranger gritting my teeth in anticipation of some horribly mortifying bon mot like telling an an ABOSOLUTELY NOT PREGNANT woman that she has a "big baby in her belly" or calling the friendly African American guy on the subway "Blackie". And before you call the NAACP, Isaac was referring to his sunglasses. Which were...you know...black. See that, right there? I had to explain that to you. If I lived in a yurt, that wouldn't be necessary. Unless we had a sort of yurt village, and were neighbors...

Issac is four now, and is still working on some of his English idioms. Instead of "turning" something on, he wants to "get it on". No biggie, merely swapping one double entendre for another, as it were. One of his favorite things to do is turn the lightswitch off and on, especially in a bathroom, where it gets really dark. I just hope nobody called social services when Isaac asked me to come into the bathroom at our local coffee shop, so he could "turn off the light and get it on".


I'm raising a smart-ass. Maybe two. But at least one. I started to suspect the other day when Isaac asked me if I was going to get a haircut for the wedding. That wasn't the smart-ass part. Ike was just making sort of a lame joke, which in my book just makes a three-year-old, not a smart-ass. The smart-ass-ness came when I answered Isaac with the obligatory, "Oh, Isaac, you're so silly! I don't have any hair!" Jack smirks at me and says, "Sure you don't dad...Except for there, and there, and there, and there....."

He wasn't pointing out my beard, either.

My fear (pride?) was confirmed the other day. Jack was holding forth on many different subjects while he stood at a public urinal with his pants at his ankles.

"Ya know, dad? I drink a LOT of water (he does). But I don't pee a lot. (also true)
You DON'T drink a lot of water, but you pee ALL THE TIME." (Guilty as charged)

My 5 year old son, still standing bow-legged and bare assed at the pissoir, looks at me sideways and asks:

"HEY! Are you peeing my water??!!"


Isaac's take on felines:

Cats eat garbage. Only garbage. They don't eat food, so they don't poop. And since they don't poop, they can hang signs on their butts. The signs say, "CATS DON'T EAT CHEESE! THEY DON'T EAT ANY FOOD. THEY ONLY EAT GARBAGE. POOPIES, GARBAGE."