Posts Tagged ‘Lydia’

Chris wants to know:

Did you always want to be a dad?

I’d have to say no. Fatherhood was never anything I ever gave more than a passing thought until I was about 40 and I was with someone who wanted to have kids.

Before that, I went out with a couple women who had already had children and weren’t going to have more, and that was fine by me.

I didn’t dislike children. I was/am very fond of my nieces, Rebecca and Alex, and my wife’s brothers’ girls too. In the family photos, it’s me carrying Rebecca when we were in NYC. I’d be coloring with her at my maternal grandmother’s funeral in Binghamton. I still marvel that I picked out a nice reversible outfit that Alex wore for a couple years.

And I’m actually pretty good with other people’s rugrats. My daughter is amazed and more than slightly embarrassed by my willingness to distract crying babies on the bus, often successfully.

BTW, dating women with young kids can be very complicated. Usually, she doesn’t want you to be too seriously involved in her children’s lives until she is sure the romantic couple seems secure. Yet she can’t get TOO involved with you unless she thinks you’ll like her kids and vice versa.

Of course, NOW I am happy about fatherhood.

What are some things that you’ve learned through life that you hope to pass on to your daughter?

It’s always this tightrope. I don’t want her to be filled with my opinions about religion or race, for example, and want her to discover for herself. Yet I have learned a few things on these and other topics, and need to pass along some of that foundational structure, without her being a philosophical clone of me.

I’ve done a good job introducing her to the Beatles and Motown, but there’s plenty more to share.

And the truth is that we do think alike a lot, even in relationship with my wife/her daughter. The two of us literally hear things the same way quite often.

There’s only three of us, but we calendar a LOT these days so that we don’t inadvertently book a couple items on the same day. These all happened in June.

ITEM: The Wife and I saw, at the local Steamer Number 10 theater, Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead, an “unauthorized parody” written by Bert V. Royal. The “play imagines characters from the popular comic strip Peanuts as degenerate teenagers.”

It starts when “CB and CB’s sister have a funeral for their dog, who recently contracted rabies and was put down after killing ‘a little yellow bird’.” This is NOT children’s fare.

It was very good, but obviously very dark. I would like to believe that the homophobia displayed by Matt, a manifestation of Pig Pen, would not be as virulent in 2017 as it was when the play was first performed in 2004, but maybe it is.

Here’s the script.

ITEM: Friends of ours gave us tickets to the Albany Symphony Orchestra, which is a very fine symphony indeed. This program was held at the EMPAC, a fascinatingly cool structure.

The logistical issue was the birthday party to which the Daughter was invited late in the afternoon, but that ended up working out well. She stayed at the party long enough that she was home alone only about an hour. In large part, that was aided by the ASO decided NOT to perform the first piece on the program because ot wasn’t ready, the first time that’s happened when we’ve attended. But the other four pieces were quite enough.

ITEM: The three of us saw the last performance of Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Mac-Hadyn Theater. All I know of this musical is the LP I owned, barely 30 minutes. This is expanded by at least three songs. The performances were good, but the storybook is still very thin.

ITEM: Another trip to Mac-Hadyn a couple weeks later to see Anything Goes. The first time I had seen it was a couple years ago at Catskill High School. I continue to marvel how well the choreographer coordinate people coming off and on this tiny stage.

ITEM: I’ve mentioned our church’s relationship with Giffen Elementary School, with with the Book and Author event the past five years, and tutoring for even longer. We went to the grand opening of Wizard’s Wardrobe, “a non-profit organization providing a free, after school tutoring program for elementary school students in the South End of Albany.”

So it was distressing I read that rabid goats had to be euthanized at Albany’s Radix Center. Three second-grade classes at Giffen Memorial Elementary School took field trips to the Radix Center during this time period. Yuck.

It is difficult to explain to outsiders the pull that the dog Nipper has in Albany. From the Albany Institute of History and Art:

“The twenty-eight-foot [8.5 m] tall, four-ton [3600 kg] steel and fiberglass canine statue anchored atop a warehouse on North Broadway has captured the hearts and minds of young and old alike for three generations.

“Nipper was a real-life dog in nineteenth-century England who was painted by the dog owner’s brother, Francis Barraud. He depicted the curious dog listening to a gramophone and titled it ‘His Master’s Voice.’ It became an internationally recognized logo for several audio recording companies, including RCA.

“Nipper came to his downtown Albany perch at 991 Broadway in 1958 following renovations of a rundown reinforced concrete warehouse built in 1900 to house the American Gas Meter Co.”

It is an iconic figure in New York State’s capital city, believe me.

Recently, it was announced that “the upcoming round of downtown Albany public art projects will be decorated statues of Nipper.

“For this year’s exhibit, the Downtown Albany Business Improvement District is accepting submissions from artists who wish to submit proposals to design 36″ tall [0.91 m] sculptures of Albany’s famous canine resident.”

As it turns out, an Albany middle school teacher and some of her seventh-grade students were selected to work on their entry for the “Downtown is Pawsome” project, the only school so honored.

“The project involves twenty local artists putting their creative spin on three-foot versions of Albany’s iconic Nipper statue. Their artistic creations will be placed throughout downtown Albany this month and remain on display until May 2018.”

The “Pawsome” project kicked off with a garden party at Tricentennial Park on June 16. But unfortunately, the artist in my household was out of town, visiting our nation’s capital. Still, I look forward to see these critters around town, and one in particular.

2011: the Daughter, niece Alex, niece Rebecca


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From Dan – Hebdomadal: “Spell checker likes it. Means something that happens once a week every seven days, used especially for organizations. It’s not considered archaic, although usage was more common in the 1800s. Saw it in a (paper) book first published in 1986 that I am currently reading, used without a trace of irony.” Wouldn’t “weekly” do?

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Arthur’s household hints Read the rest of this entry »

I came across this article 8 Things Kids Need to Do By Themselves Before They’re 13. The premise is this: “How do we raise competent adults if we’re always doing everything for our kids? Walk away from doing these 8 things for your teen this school year.”

How did the Daughter’s parents do?

1. Waking them up in the morning

Guilty, and it’s usually me. I think it’s a function of the fact that I HATE waking up to the alarm clock, which I hear every weekday morning, not for MY sake, but for my wife’s. The Daughter DOES wake up occasionally on her own.

It’s been a real change from sixth grade, when she could literally wake up 20 minutes before school started, still getting there before the late bell, and now, which involves taking the bus, which sometimes comes early.

I HAVE stopped repeatedly nudging her, though, because that was too exhausting for ME!

2. Making their breakfast and packing their lunch

She usually gets lunch at school, and she could get breakfast if necessary. Still, I’d rather make breakfast, because the cleanup afterwards is much less for me. And left to her own devices, she might just ea that pizza for breakfast that I was planning for lunch.

3. Filling out their paperwork

The only really complicated one involves names and phone numbers of our friends and relatives as emergency contacts. I’m just happy she brings out the paperwork in a more timely fashion, usually.

4. Delivering their forgotten items

I have done that once recently, before a field trip when she needed money to eat lunch on a field trip. I delivered her cash just in time, and I received a rare public hug. OK, I’ll try to do better.

5. Making their failure to plan your emergency

This tends to be more her mother’s failing, getting stuff for her she needs at the last minute, but the Daughter has gotten much better over the school year.

6. Doing all of their laundry

Her mother does do most of the laundry, period. But the summer will be a good opportunity for Clothes Washing 101.

7. Emailing and calling their teachers and coaches

Interesting, a couple teachers have contacted US, saying the Daughter is doing well.

8. Meddling in their academics

In the first marking period, she was doing less well in her favorite subject, probably because she hadn’t handed in some homework she had actually completed. I know this because I’ve sat with her when she did it. But I never got involved with her teachers, mostly because keeping track of her 12 classes in 8 periods was too complicated for ME. And she’s come to do more of her school work on her own.

I’ll admit, though, that I like knowing what she’s learning. 7th grade math that I wasn’t doing until 9th grade. Manifest Destiny, NOT as a given good. And there’s the occasional exercise I find annoying, such as finding words in a puzzle across, down and diagonally, the learning value of which I found dubious; both her parents helped her find those backwards diagonals.

Boy, are we the terrible parents or what? To be fair, she has learned a lot about self-reliance this year, and I’m guessing next year will be more of the same.

The year after that, she’ll be going to high school, and she’ll be able to walk there, which I am looking forward to, a lot.

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