wpid-wp-1440170713928.jpgWhen my daughter was very young, she liked to grab my ears. I wasn’t able easily to locate the photo, but there’s a nice picture of the two of us from years back in which we’re walking around at the zoo. Well, I’m walking, and she’s on my shoulders, holding on by my ears. At about that time, she developed the occasional habit of rubbing my earlobes, which I suppose are soft.

I am a man who has little trouble growing hair, and my eyebrows can grow to be quite impressive if I don’t keep them in check. A few years ago, my wife let it be known that she preferred when I kept them a bit shorter, so I started getting them trimmed when I got a haircut. I sort of like when they grow a bit longer because it’s silly, but my wife is the one who most often has to look at my face, so I’ve happily deferred to her preference.

My daughter’s fondness for my ears has in recent years been joined by a fondness for my big spidery eyebrows. It started when she began getting allergy shots. For kids new to allergy shots, parents are encouraged to sort of kneel down in front of the kid for some reason, and the kid is encouraged to exhale while the injection is occurring. This arrangement gave my daughter a recurring opportunity to take note of my eyebrows, which I’ll confess I may have waggled at her a few times for comic effect to try to help take her mind off the odious shots. After a time or two of this, she began pinching my eyebrows a bit, and a new weird habit was born.

My wife and daughter have now expressed opposite preferences with respect to my eyebrows, which puts me in a bit of a tough spot. When I go for a haircut, whose preference do I honor? That of my wife who has to look at me or that of my poor daughter who I force to get bi-weekly injections and whose chief solace is this weird eyebrow ritual?

A few months ago, I made a deal with them. If the person cutting my hair mentions my eyebrows and asks if I want them trimmed, I say yes. If the he or she does not mention my eyebrows, I don’t mention them either, and they continue to grow. It’s been a couple of months since my last haircut, and my eyebrows are becoming very impressive (they’d be more so if they weren’t so light), the longest hairs an inch-and-a-half or so by my quick informal measurement. Just the other day, my daughter conceded that they had probably grown very nearly enough and added that once she could stretch them down to touch the tip of my nose, it’d probably be time to give them a bit of a trim.



My wife ran across an idea for making home-made coasters using glazed tiles, sharpies, and rubbing alcohol. You start with a plain white tile and scribble on it with rainbow sharpies. Then you spritz or dropper alcohol onto the ink. The alcohol makes the colors run together and then it evaporates, leaving the color smears behind.

Sometimes you wind up with these weird almost burned looking effects (I think probably where alcohol has puddled too much). You rarely get quite what you expect. The tiles are dirt cheap, and it’s a quick, neat craft. Once we figure out how to seal the colors in, we’ll have a nice new assortment of coasters, and we’ve talked about figuring out a way to mount these together somehow as a wall hanging in the kids’ playroom.

My tiles are the rainbow one in row 4, column 3 and the one with lots of sort of marbled whitish space (intentional but not exactly as I had intended) in row 3, column 1. I think the top left one looks really neat — like something the Hubble telescope would send back — but my son was really disappointed in it. The one to its right has some neat striations that I think were the result of blowing the pooling alcohol a little.

Sock puppets

A few weeks ago, I proposed that we make sock puppets as a fun activity for the kids. My wife was out of town this weekend and I was antsy to get the craft going, so we went ahead without her. After a trip to the craft store, we laid out our supplies, and the kids started designing their puppets. Although I had intended to make one of my own, we found that our various room-temperature glues weren’t really doing the trick, so I operated the hot glue gun (a first for me) and stuck the various limbs and accessories on. The kids were really happy with their puppets and went straightaway after finishing them to go write and perform for me a brief puppet show that made absolutely no sense. It was a fun afternoon. Pinterest, here I come.

I Love My…

When my son was just about three years old, my wife captured several audio clips of him saying and singing cute things. In three of these clips, he declaims his love for his parents. In another, he says hi to his aunt.



My 9-year-old daughter recently brought home an essay she had written in school that I liked quite a lot. The argument lacks nuance, and there’s a minor grammatical stumble or two, but I really love the spirit of the piece and thought I’d share it.

Have you ever seen those big, strong women on the Olympics? Did you notice that they are not allowed to compete with men? The reason different genders have been segregated is that many people think that men are better at sports as women. It is my opinion that they are the same.

Although men think that they are better at sports than women, there are many incredible female athletes who could easily beat a man. Here are some examples: Charlotte Cooper was the first woman in Paris, France to win an Olympic title. Wilma Rudolph was one of the greatest female athletes of all time. She won three gold medals!

Men think that they are bigger and better than women. I know that this is not true. My dad plays softball on a team. There are often women playing with him that are way better than him (sorry dad).

Many girls are as good as boys. Some are even better. Boys, you had better watch out.

A few weeks ago, my daughter had an opportunity to play Ultimate Frisbee with another girl or two and a bunch of boys. At the end, one of the boys taunted the losing team with their having been beaten by a girl (in spite of the fact that both teams had girls on them — talk about an argument lacking nuance!). My daughter was not just rightfully outraged but simply didn’t understand how one could come to say such a thing. She was incredulous that the thought could have crossed someone’s mind. This makes me feel pretty good about our parenting in at least this department. In spite of every thoughtless thing in the world suggesting that women are worth less than men, my daughter finds it inconceivable that anyone could think such a thing.

I am a little disappointed that in her argument, she says “many girls are as good as boys” and “some are even better.” I can’t decide whether she’s actually lapsing into the position here that only a subset of women can be as good as or better than men at things or whether she’s just using sloppy language (or perhaps a sort of intentional rhetoric that’s less troubling in other contexts). I suppose the ambiguity gives me an opportunity to raise the issue and reinforce the feminist perspective. In spite of any little bugaboos, I loved reading this.