Monthly Archives: December 2013

Interview on Zen Parenting Radio

Here’s some fun A Family in the City news: Todd Adams and Cathy Cassini Adams are the hosts of a parenting podcast called Zen Parenting Radio (the link goes to the home page of their website) and they were nice enough to call me up and interview me! I really like the perspective they take on things. They focus a lot on being self-aware as a parent and, more generally, as a person. They’re certainly worth a listen!

The post they interviewed me about, called “How we talk to kids” here on A Family in the City, was republished on the Good Men Project back in early December under the title “Why Aren’t We Rude to Grown-ups the Way We Are Rude to Kids?”. Todd and Cathy saw it over at there and liked it enough to want to talk about it a bit further.

Anyway, if you want you can listen to the interview here (this link goes to the podcast I got to be on). They’re fun to listen to: they have an easy banter, they have some really cool insights, and, most importantly, they made me sound like much less of a bumbler than I actually am!

Why Santa Comes to Our House

Kids with Santa, Santa kids
One day, all these Santa jobs will be yours, kids.

Santa visits us every year. What can I say, my kids have a long track record of good behavior. We’re in a new place now and, while there’s no chimney, I’m sure he’ll be shimmying down the elevator from the roof of our apartment building.

All that said, there’s often a certain degree of consternation in the air amongst parents – especially parents with young kids. Should we tell our kids about Santa? What if they decide they can’t trust us? Continue reading Why Santa Comes to Our House

A Family in the City News

Hey, maybe you’ve enjoyed reading this blog because you think I’m brilliant and handsome! Maybe you read this blog because you feel like you deserve to be severely punished for secret infractions that only you know about and the dreck that spews out of my keyboard is the only thing that does it for you. Maybe you’re my mom and you’ll read anything I write because you love me (hi mom!).

Regardless of the chain of events that brings you to A Family in the City, you’ll be either excited, angry, sad, or emotionally blank to know that you’ll now be able to find more of my inane ramblings over at The Good Men Project. That’s because I’m the new editor of their Marriage section!

My initial introduction and call for submissions went up a couple of days ago and a new article, The Best Way to Argue (A how-to for couples) just went up yesterday afternoon.  You’ll also be able to read lots of other writers opining on marriage stuff.

So, let’s say you’re either married or you’re in a long-term co-habitating type of relationship. Let’s say if you’re not that you either know someone who is married, or you don’t and you’re curious what all this marriage business is. Well, if any of those things describe you, you’ll be either excited, angry, sad, or emotionally blank to know that I’ll have a weekly post, right here at A Family in the City, with links to all the articles I’ll be publishing in the Marriage Section!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Joyous Kwanzaa, or Season’s Greetings!


My Daughter’s Joke

At age 9, most of my daughter’s recent jokes have been of the knock-knock variety. There have been a lot of  “no, wait” and “hold on” and “ummm” type interjections in most of her jokes. Prior to that they were of the gleefully spontaneous shout of “I’m jumping on a hamburger!” variety. Actually, that one is her little brother’s, but hers were similar.

That’s why I’m pleased to announce that she hand-crafted and told a joke today that Wendy and I both legitimately laughed out loud at.

First, the set up. We have a neighbor upstairs – I guess it’s a family. We’ve never met them and I don’t know anything about them aside from that they have either wood or tile floors, they seem to drop a lot of loose change, and they apparently enjoy playing marbles. Also, the man sneezes twice every morning at around 7:00.

But it’s not just any sneeze. It’s like a screaming sneeze. Or a barking shout of a sneeze with the Ah, but no Choo. Like, “AAAAAH!….. AAAAAH!” So this morning he did his two shout sneezes at 6:50 and I turned to my daughter and did my (quieter) impression of them to make her laugh and she responded,

[insert drum roll here] “Maybe he’s afraid of the dark so when he wakes up he screams over and over until somebody turns on the light for him.” [insert ba-dum tssss here]

It was a great visual that’ll bring a smile to my face every morning at around 7:00 for the rest of the time they live above us!

Humor is one of the hardest things for kids to get a handle on, but it’s also one of the most rewarding. It’s often easy to make kids laugh, but harder for them to make adults laugh. When they really, honestly do it for the first time it’s like a great equalization.

An Ode to Community Builders

There’s a woman who volunteers at my kids’ school, let’s call her Claudia – she’s leads the PTO and she volunteers with a lot of programs the school runs. She also leads my daughter’s girl scout troop. I was talking with another woman who was housebound for the last couple of months after breaking her ankle and whose daughter is in the same troop. She mentioned that Claudia had come to her house to help clean during her convalescence.

It struck me the other day, while Claudia was carrying boxes of girl scout cookies through the snow from her car to the table the girls had set up outside the toy store, that it’s really remarkable how much the local community relies on her. It seems that whenever the school or the local kids have a need, she’s willing to step up and see it through. Continue reading An Ode to Community Builders

A couple of new links for you.

I thought I’d let you know that I’ve added a couple of new links to the Links page. I thought about creating a brand new page called Grizzled Tricycles to add them to, but then I was all like, “That doesn’t make any sense. I’ll just put ’em on the Links page.”


First, I’ve added a link to It’s a new blog about blogging. Since I’m a new blogger who’s blogging it seemed appropriate. Perhaps you’re a new blogger who’s blogging as well, in which case, The Blogologist might be a useful blog to follow.

Second, I’ve added a link to the Honea Express (Honea is apparently pronounced to rhyme with Pony, which is what makes the name not be dumb). It’s an entertaining family type blog that you may think is worth a look.

Correcting other people’s kids: It’s not as easy as taking a plastic light saber from a baby.

What’s the deal with Other People’s Kids (and by “Other People” I mean people who aren’t you or me)?  Well, obviously, they aren’t as cute as our kids.  Plus, they’re usually not nearly as well-behaved.  I’ve also noticed that when my kids (and yours, too, of course) mess up or misbehave it’s really just a deviation from their norm rather than a reflection of their deeper character.  Other People’s Kids, of course, are displaying their true colors.  Evil colors.  How do all these Other People deal with such evil little kids?

My kids (who, like yours, are angelic nearly 100% of the time, I promise) were at the park recently.  There was also a good sized group of Other People’s Kids there.  Kids being what they are, a game broke out.  It was a swordfighting, swashbuckling adventure type of game that relied heavily on the use of plastic lightsabers.  I think it was a mashup of Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, and total chaos.  There may also have been a hint of Lord of the Flies.

One kid in particular, who I know to be a 3rd grader, was really into the sword fighting part.  Really into it.  He was raining down holy, plastic, light-saberized terror: two hands held high, white-knuckled, swing-it-so-hard-the-sword-bends-itself-around-the-sword-of-the-defender style play. Continue reading Correcting other people’s kids: It’s not as easy as taking a plastic light saber from a baby.