For those of you who have yet to be startled, it is being reported that Clay Aiken of American Idol and Kelly Ripa affront fame is announcing his apparent fatherhood.
So many questions.
"Aiken's 50 year old friend, Jaymes* Foster, who produced several of his records" (he had several records?), "is due to deliver a child by Clay in August. Though she was artificially inseminated, the pair plan to raise the child together."
Everyone knows how important it is to read to your children. Language development, cognitive learning, reasoning processes, understanding of cause and effect, la da da da.
I know that I am not alone when I say that a great part of our nap and bedtime routine involves the reading of a library of books. "If You Give A Pig A Pancake", "The Very Grouchy LadyBug", "Horton Hatches An Egg" (yes, still), "How Does A Dinosaur Say Goodnight", "Hug", and the ever challenging "Goodnight, Gorilla" (it has no words and by the 3,000th read, my imagination is tapped).
If you are also like me, you probably feel pretty confident in your expanding knowledge of children's literature.
My greatest challenge for this week's poll was narrowing down the list of people we'd prefer did not provide society with some spawn. I am by no means suggesting that I had some divine right to contribute to the global gene pool, but for the following slew of fame mongers it should be against the law.
Coming in with twice as many votes as the second place finisher, Lindsay Lohan was voted the least desirable future mother. Is it the history of drug use? Bad acting? Questionable morality? Relentless fake tanning (which has probably reached toxic levels)? No, I think it's probably the leggings. Regardless of your own reason for voting her in, she is clearly not the ready image that comes to mind when we think of "Mom of the Year" (despite her own mother's surprising designation by one misguided publication).
A distant second goes to Paris Hilton who probably would have been a shoe-in for 1st place a year ago, but has since lived up to her post-hoosegow promise of using her notoriety for positive influences by touring with her boyfriend of the minute, Benji Madden. The world is certainly a better place.
Star Jones followed closely behind Hilton for the 3rd place finish. I am not sure why I'd rather she not continue her legacy through the next generation, but I do know her choice in husbands, publicity stunts, and career paths strike me as, well, odd. I'm sure someone else could articulate it better, but anyone whose name is Star and seems to seek the spotlight so tenaciously as she should probably stay focused on the most important thing in her life: herself.
Finally, Tyra "Ty Ty" Banks finished last with only one vote. Yes, she is effervescently annoying. Yes, she thinks everything she says is both groundbreaking and insightful. And yes, she makes her eyes "smile" way too much, but she may make a pretty happy mom for some future cheerleaders / motivational speakers.
So...I have definitely shied away from this installment of the blog since the whole Capri-gate, but I just could not resist blogging about one of my favorite people: Mariah Carey.
If I were to make a list of the top five people I would like to have move to another planet, she would certainly be in contention for the top of my list. Unfortunately, no matter how much she annoys me, I can't stop singing her songs. Argh.
Anyway, though I do not claim to be a credible fashionista, I can aver with almost complete certainty that the above ensemble is a look we should all AVOID this summer (unless, of course, you are a Laker girl or a model advertising for Mandee).
Oh, and also the awfulness that is the gladiator sandal.
Every morning, while my little man takes his first nap, my daughter and I play a little, bake a little, and just enjoy some down time before jumping into the business of the day. One of her favorite things to do is play hide and seek.
Her version, however, is slightly altered from the conventional game.
She counts to ten and comes to look for me (as is expected); however, instead of actually finding me, she wants me to jump out from my hiding place and scare the beJesus out of her.
She screams, and then falls to the floor in a fit of uncontrollable laughter....and I love, love, love to watch her do it. It really never gets old.
This morning was no different.
What was different was the little revelation that opened itself up to me after the three thousandeth surprise: her developing personality is becoming more and more apparent.
She has always been very curious, extremely social, pretty tempermental (she is female), relentlessly maternal, slighltly possessive, and very much a scorekeeper. However, this daily game also suggests that she will:
Love roller coasters
Bask in the excitement of Christmas
Revel in the surprises of life
Seek out scary movies
Challenge her fears
And, with hope, greet the world with an adventurous, arms wide open approach.
Perhaps I am drawing a lot from a little, but as an English teacher, I am a natural moth to the great metaphor of life and all its symbolic dressings....and I just love watching my little ones grow.
I used to think a staid family life in the suburbs kind of meant the end of excitement, which was a more than fair trade for my tastes. But, it seems, the excitement is really just starting....and I know more than a few of you out there agree with me.
This weekly installment is dedicated to addressing those all too common comments said by strangers and family alike. If you have been the recipient of uncalled for remarks, share them with us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Comment: Um, shouldn't he be off the bottle by now?
What You Want To Say: Oh, I must have missed you on the cover of Parenting magazine! Was it the issue devoted to unsolicited advice?
What You Could Say: Well, since he's perfect in everything else, we like him to have one bad habit so the other babies don't feel so inferior.
What You Should Say: Well, as I'm sure you know, every day is a work in progress and I appreciate your concern. How is everything with you?
*For the record, I have a hard time taking the high road (and, yes, I have actually used the first response....which is why I should never let myself out of the house).
As promised, I have generated a poem for the first person to correctly identify the startling image of Tanya Harding. The winner and obvious Tanya Harding fan is film editing extraordinaire and amazing dad, Chris Fernandez. Since I have only been acquainted with Chris for about two years (and most of the things I know about him come by way of his lovely wife, Susan), you can say I took more than a few liberties with my masterpiece.
Ode to a Woolwich Warrior
You may be a Tanya Harding fan,
But do we really know you?
Beyond a television editor,
and a father of two?
A big fan of sports,
and a trivia buff,
with a mack daddy tv,
and some other techie stuff.
Quiet and content,
A person first class,
Despite the Red Sox,
What a pain in my...shoulder.
But what else should we know?
Do you like Pepsi or Coke?
Ice cream or cake?
Do you prefer a natural tan,
Or one you might fake?
Do you hate traffic, large crowds,
Or trips to the mall?
Do you like much anything more,
than Phillies baseball?
And when you were young,
Did you like Chuckie Cheese?
Or just climbing trees?
Did you spend college listening to
Blues Traveler or Rusted Root?
Or, were you a closet Korn fan,
and Pearl Jam to boot?
There is so much to learn,
but one thing's for sure,
You're loved by your family,
And nothing matters more.
**Stay tuned for another installment of name that person, so you too can be the subject of my poetry or prose.
Saturday was sheer perfection: A Ferris Bueller Day meant a trip to Center City with shopping and a picnic in the Square. Then, a quick trip to see one of the two great grandmothers was followed by long naps, and flower picking fun in the backyard until dinner. Early to bed meant quiet time for the parents and the end to an idyllic day.
And then our good fortune seemed to run out.
The Anatomy of a Meltdown:
1) Begin your day at 5:34...raring to go.
2) Talk up the fact that we get to go to a birthday pool party
3) Only allow for a super short nap in the car on the way to the party
4) Tell the two year old that "yes, it is a pool", but, "no, we can not swim because the water is still too cold".
5) Say the word "no" three thousand times as the two year old begs to go in the pool or tries to reach for things as they float by, just out of reach.
6) Explain to the two year old that we have to leave the party before birthday cake for a family obligation.
In addition to skincare and room temperature, photography is the one thing I allow myself to splurge on. I think most people agree with me when you consider the typical hackneyed question of conversation:
If your house was on fire and your family (including pets) made it out safely, what would you take with you in one grab?
Most people would say their pictures, their home movies, or some sentimental belongings. All of these are irreplaceable, this certainly reflects that.
Knowing how important keeping a record of your family's history is, Shirley Magilton (the photographer who keeps my home a virtual gallery of my children) is running a contest on her own blog:
In it, you can nominate yourself or someone else for a chance to have a free photography shoot as well as a $60 credit toward the payment of prints. Shirley is looking for a family or person that may be in need of something positive that they'll also have forever.
For more information, visit her blog, or email her at:
This week's Parent Profile highlights one of my favorite dads (despite the fact that he included a Phish song on his ultimate soundtrack), Tony. He loves his kids, dotes on his wife, and occasionally laughs at my jokes. Oh, and he can play a mean guitar....or so I've heard (time and a few potent potables will have to tell).
Profile of a Parent
Name: Tony, aka: Daddy, the “poopipe” (don’t ask I didn’t make it up, just playing the role I was given), Prince Eric, Papa.
Father of: Jessica who just turned 3 and Danielle who just celebrated being 5 months old!
What You Did Before You Were Someone’s Daddy: Slept more, played more music with friends, read more books, drank a few more pints with friends.
What You Do For Yourself Now: Every now and then, after the kids are asleep, I sneak down to the basement and “Rock Out” on my guitar, watch horrible reality TV, pick a topic once a month that I am not familiar with and try and research it for general knowledge ( Yes it sounds dorky but ....it is. )
What is your favorite thing about being a father? Hugs and kisses from my gals, the way Danielle glows when she smiles at me, the way Jess greets me when I come home from work, being the butt of every joke, being able to watch cartoons as a grown up.
What is the one thing you wish you’d known before you had children? They can argue just like grown-ups and they don’t back down! Negotiating is futile.
What would you do with an extra free hour in your day? Play music, read, play some more music.
Who are your go-to people when you have a parenting questions? Stacey (my wife, I ask her what the book says to do), and my Mom.
What is the one thing your child(ren) do that always makes you smile? When they smile.
Who is your favorite fictional mother? Marge Simpson.
If you could be someone you know for a day, who would it be? Can’t think of one. Probably my wife and I would give my husband a back rub.
If you could ban people from doing something, what would it be? Smoking, text messaging, and voting for David Archuleta ( the kid just freaks me out).
If you could make one mixed CD that would be the only music you could listen to for the rest of your life, what songs would you put on it? “Box of Rain” by The Grateful Dead, “It’s Love” by Kings X, “Ezy Ryder” by Jimi Hendrix, “Life without you” Stevie Ray Vaughan, “My Best Friend” by Tim McGraw, “Somewhere over the rainbow” the Stanley Jordan version, “Space Wrangler” by Widespread Panic, “Say Hello to Heaven” by Temple of the Dog, “Freebird” by Lynard Skynard, “Hold on Loosely” by 38 Special, “Divided Sky” by Phish.
19-year-old Army Pfc. Ross McGinnis of Knox, Pa. was awarded the Medal of Honor for jumping on a grenade, which resulted in the loss of his own life to save the lives of others. He had recently graduated high school when he joined the Army.
McGinnis "distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism," said White House deputy press secretary Tony Fratto.
McGinnis was perched in the gunner's hatch of a Humvee when a grenade sailed past him and into the truck where four other soldiers sat. He shouted a warning to the others, then jumped on the grenade. The grenade, which was lodged near the vehicle's radio, blew up and killed him.
Lt. Col. Anne Edgecomb, an Army spokeswoman, said McGinnis easily could have jumped out of the truck and saved himself.
"The instinct is, jump out of the vehicle, but his four buddies were in the vehicle with him ... and he chose to place himself on top of the grenade and absorb the impact, and it saved their lives," Edgecomb said.