My nine-year-old daughter brought forth the following question while we drove home from Hogwart’s Camp the other evening: why does boys call “them” “nuts”.

I had to stop from driving into a ditch because the “them” meant “nuts” and the “nuts” meant “nuts” and I was about to go some special kind of other “nuts” – something like an aneurysm – just thinking about all the potential ways I didn’t want to discuss this topic with the intelligent, funny, athletic and gorgeous nine-year-old in the backseat.

She’s still my little girl, after all (no matter how 50’s paternalistic that sounds).

And while I have no trouble imagining her as a respected lawyer or a talented heart surgeon, I have an incredibly hard time with her using the term “nuts” and then laughing like the child she still is. It just doesn’t jibe with what I know about her and what I’ve experienced about her personality over the past nine years.

(Her ENTIRE life!)

No one tells you these things when you become a parent.

“Oh, Seth, that first time your pre-teen daughter asks you about not-so-clever nicknames for boys’ genitals (nads, junk, twig & berries, balls), it’ll just be a hoot!”


They just lob sexist crap like “you’ll have to beat the boys away with a stick” or “you’ll have to lock her up” or “you’ll have to buy a shotgun“.

You get the gist.

I’m not sure the truth is any better than the trite lies. The real truth is that now I have to explain that boys use all kinds of words to describe themselves (and her). Don’t envy me.

In short: I was/am woefully underprepared for her tweenagedom and I’d like it to stop post hast, please and thank you very much.

That said, I want to inform her.
I don’t want to hide sex or sexuality from her.
I want her to be knowledgeable and comfortable and prepared in every way, shape, and form she can be.

I just didn’t realize I’d be the Urban Dictionary for genital slang to a kid who isn’t yet in double digits.

The actual definition conversation hasn’t taken place yet, but I’m actively using any forum I can think of to solicit feedback. I’d love to hear from folks about which “dirty word” or piece of filthy sex slang you learned first, whom you learned it from and when your parents had any form of “the talk” with you.

You know, for research.

I definitely dodged a bullet though, since we were pulling into the driveway when she brought up the topic (while my in-laws were visiting), so I punted saying I “didn’t want to get into it now” or some such parental excuse.

I can feel the “next time” coming soon though.
Sooner than I would have imagined or liked, but I don’t have to imagine or like her being uninformed – I can do something about that.

Which may be this: never trust your kid at a Hogwart’s Camp at a church. It’s unnatural the kinds of things (witchcraft, monotheism, “nuts”) they’ll pick up there.

Until next time, gentle reader, watch your nuts.

Seth, I am your Father’s Day

As a father of four, I didn’t harbor any hopes of sleeping in this past Sunday. I expected maybe some breakfast in bed, but I knew I was in for some kind of surprise.

I awoke to the best kind of gift: a heartfelt & handmade card from my daughters (all 3 of them) and a lightsaber from my son.

You read that right; a lightsaber

For some perspective let’s rewind back to Christmas when my son, Owen, was given an ultimate fx lightsaber. At his request (and interest) we made sure to get the green lightsaber used by Luke in Return of the Jedi, though there are 3 or 4 other models.

It just so happens that Owen presented me with one of these other lightsabers – Darth Vader – just after his elder sister gave me the card. The little guy could hardly contain his excitement when he handed it over and begged me to get out of bed and “fight” the moment I got the box.

I’ll let that sink in for a minute: my son wanted to play-fight with lightsabers where he was Luke and I was Darth Vader. That’s either a complete and total nerdsplosion or an invitation to all kinds of therapy down the road.

Darth Vader Ultimate FX Lightsaber
The gift that keeps on giving … Oedipal complexes.

My thoughts at the time were three-fold:

2. Thank goodness he hasn’t seen all of the newer trilogy.
3. Should I pretend to chop off his hand?

In the end I went with a modified version of the third item and just intoned “Join me and together we can rule the galaxy as Father and Son!” in my best James Earl Jones.

That particular move earned me a groan from Jenn, but I still got some quality playtime in with the boy, as you can see here:

[Footnote: the Darth Vader Ultimate FX Lightsaber really is an elegant (toy) weapon, even in one’s underwear]

After the melee was over, we all went to eat brunch and, upon our return, Owen claimed Vader’s lightsaber as his own, saying I could “borrow it whenever I wanted to”. That’s a win in my book, even if the symbolism doesn’t catch up to him until later.

I went to sleep Sunday night knowing at least I was a better Dad than Anakin Skywalker. 😉

Happy Father’s Day to me!

The Beginnings of Personality

In the life of any child – whether it’s your first or (in my case) your fourth – there comes a time when you can really start to see what they’ll be like as a kid or even an adult.

Our youngest, Imogen Rose, has just crossed that threshold at 10 months. She’s just on the cusp of walking, she babbles incessantly and she even waves “goodbye” if you ask her to.

This past weekend we spent nearly the entire 48 hours out on our back patio enjoying the gorgeous Spring weather and the sounds of our newly-repaired water feature. Imogen joined us in her UFC-style octagonal playplen and some interesting results emerged, photographic evidence below:





For those of you with children, this kind of behavior is pretty commonplace, but this was our first chance to see Imogen press her face against a surface. The more we smiled & laughed, the more she did it. The kid was an incorrigible performer.

She would also lean her back against the side of the playpen and fall backwards for the cradling effect of falling. She missed a few times as well – the backwards aim of an infant/toddler is unsurprisingly suspect – but she was having a blast.

In a crowded field, amongst her 3 older siblings, she seems sweet, silly and sure of herself.

I can’t wait to see what her little personality shows us next.

Happy Thursday!

The Call All Parents Dread

Today’s event(s):



“Hi, this is [redacted] from [also redacted], Owen’s daycare.”

“Yes?” (Feeling nervous now)

“We wanted to let you know that Owen had an accident, but everything is all right.”

“What happened?” (Feeling more nervous now)

“Owen fell and cut his head pretty badly.”

“Is he OK?” (Freaking out a little)

“He’s fine. The paramedics are here now and they’re seeing if he needs stitches or not.”

“Is he conscious?” (Freaking out)

“He’s laughing and smiling now. They don’t think he’ll need stitches.”

“I’ll be right there. Don’t let him fall asleep!” (Freaking the fuck out)

While I may have taken some liberties with the dialogue, there’s more truth to this story than the average Mike Daisey monologue.

What really shouldn’t surprise – being the father of four and being a recipient of two concussions myself – is just how small the injury is relative to the blood it was said to have generated.

Photographic evidence that makes everyone, especially me, breath a sigh of relief.


The funny thing is no one, not even Owen himself, could give me a very specific account of exactly how the injury occurred. One minute he’s riding a trike outside, the next he’s on the ground, bleeding and clutching his head.

Reports of a collision, a prat fall and sudden stop all seem to contradict one another, but maybe I’m not imaging the creative destructive capacity of your average Pre-K boy.

The worst part of the whole ordeal? Washing the boy’s hair in the shower. Nothing says “awesome Tuesday night” quite like shampooing a flesh wound.

Better luck tomorrow, I suppose.