Wednesday, October 28, 2009


It’s a funny thing being a Parent. It’s a constant tightrope walk. You have to bend, guide, nurture and love. You can’t be too firm or too soft. You have to be kind, patient and calm. You have to have a black belt in distraction technique. You want to encourage expression of feelings while suppressing your own darker ones. You have to let them make mistakes even though you can easily right the wrong. You have to be a living example for your child. I’m exhausted and I’ve only scratched the surface.

Television is a parents’ biggest test. Television is the greatest example of the obstacles a parent faces. Television can be an incredible tool for teaching. Television can turn your kids brain into mush.

The Wiggles were on in our house this morning. We try not to do the TV in the morning but we all love The Wiggles and in a weak moment I put them on. This meant breakfast at the dining room table was out of the question. This meant Beautiful Bride and Daddy could not talk or we would be told “No Talking PLEASE!” in a rather emphatic tone. Usually the three of us dance and sing along with The Wiggles. This morning Ryan did not want to dance or sing. This morning Ryan sat like a zombie on the couch transfixed by the colors and movement coming from our oversized boobtube. It got worse! The Wiggles are usually twenty minutes in length but the one I put on was an hour long special with Kylie Minogue. I almost became a zombie myself at the sight of Kylie but she had more clothes on than I am used to and I was busy with the whole live by example thing.

At 8am it was time for BB to go to work. Ryan did not race to kiss her before me. I had her all to myself. I didn’t know what to do. It felt lonely. I tried giving her some Class-A Smooches to make up for this unfortunate break in our routine. I even made a big show of it to arouse the boy from his wide-eyed hazy glazed slumber. Nothing! Not even a “no talking PLEASE!” was uttered. BB couldn’t leave under these circumstances. She had to be late this morning and that was all there was to it. It was a lesson learned.

At 8:15 The Wiggles mercifully ended their reign of color over our home. Ryan instantly snapped out of his hypnotized state and ran to kiss BB. First he had to tug lightly on her lips and then press the same hand against my lips. This is his way of taking away my kiss and assuring that he has first kiss. Our boy was back.

As soon as BB left, Ryan outright demanded that I put The Wiggles back on again. I said no and he threw a terrible tantrum. I tried to distract him by pretending to fall and hit my head. Tantrum continued. I tried to get him excited about going to Daycare, which is his favorite place in the world. Tantrum continued. I told him I understood that he was upset but there would be no more TV for the day. Tantrum worsened. I started to feel some major aggravation and frustration. Why would I ever put the TV on again considering the reward I get? Tantrum continued. I went upstairs. I breathed slowly and deeply in my bedroom. After about a minute I went back downstairs. I held out my arms for him and he fell in to me and wept. I whispered, “Let’s go to Daycare.” And he answered, “No Daddy. Audition.” I said, “You want to go on an Audition with Daddy?“ and he replied, “Yeah.” An Audition is his least favorite place in the World. I squeezed him as close as can be.

The best morning of my life!

Monday, October 26, 2009

From the Jaws of Defeat!

Beautiful Bride leaves for work at 8:00 am every weekday morning. Ryan and I line up for kisses. Ryan always goes first. Ryan takes an incorrigible amount of time and then informs me it is my turn. Just as I pucker, Ryan remembers he forgot to hug. I get pushed out of the way and Ryan hugs and squeezes BB. He always manages to give me at least one glance during this ritual. The glance reveals to me that this two and a half year old angel has no intention of sharing his Mother with the likes of me. By the time I am allowed to get me mine it’s too late. BB needs to get to work and can only spare a quick smooch and no hug. One morning I cracked and had to do something. I tried to tell her that this was the boys’ plan all along. “Who’s the child here?” she said with love in her eyes. She then stooped to give Ryan one more kiss and hug and off she went.

I called her on her cell immediately to explain that I am clearly not a child because I did not complain about the injustice that was done unto me. After all, I could have gotten a hug considering the extra hug and kiss the boy got. I got her voice mail and realized I am in a “Catch 22”. If I boast about keeping my mouth shut I will not be keeping my mouth shut. How will she know that I’m not a child if I don’t tell her about my mature refrain from complaint?

Then lightning struck! I kissed her voicemail and described the hug I gave the phone. I pretended that she got shortchanged and was robbed of the chance to be enveloped by my strong masculine arms. I spoke in my low sexy voice and told her that my hug will melt away the stresses she will face at work. I sang our song “Let me call you Sweetheart” and started to slow dance with the phone cradled in my arms. One last audible smooch and I hung up the phone. I was very pleased with my mature masculine ways and myself.

Ryan couldn’t quite understand what he had just witnessed. A look of sad confusion washed over him. I realized he had been watching his father dance, kiss and sing to his phone. He held his hand out and said, ”It’s ok Daddy”.

Every morning since Ryan has made sure that Daddy gets a hug and kiss from BB before she goes. So, I win!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

An Open Letter to my Brain

Dear Brain,

You have got to get bigger! I know that’s a rude way to start but you are just too small lately and it’s beginning to bug me. Please don’t take me literally. My head is big enough as it is. I already have to buy all my hats at Fatheads or Wal-Mart as it is named in the rest of the country. I need you to quickly acquire the knowledge I need to function in my life. I don’t need to perform brain surgery. I just need to not wet my pants.

Quite simply, I need to be able to rely on you to tell me when I should go to the bathroom. That sounds pretty simple to me. Yet there I am leaving my auditions and gathering up Ryan and his stroller and his toys and his video player. All the while I have that very strong tickle in my bladder. For some unknown reason you have relegated this very important bodily function to my subconscious. It would be almost easy to go before I leave my audition. I could just grab Ryan and the key. I am now skilled at dragging the oversized bucket attached to the key behind us. (See “Ryan Peed on Daddy”) I could use the facilities and then be on our merry way to the park. Somehow my bladder is just one thing too many for you to handle.

I know it’s a little overwhelming when Ryan doesn’t let me turn the video player off anymore without a tantrum. I know you get preoccupied when I start to feel like the worst Dad in the World because I’m pushing my kids' stroller down the street and he has his head buried in the videos. You are right, I should just relax because I know that he gets less than a half hour of the boob tube a day. I shouldn’t worry about that lady who sneered and said “Starting him off early are you?”. I submit to you that if my bladder weren’t screaming at me I would not have called her a “PUMKINHEADED BLABBERMOUTH!”. I also submit to you that I know I called her much worse than that, but, this is a family blog.

At this stage of my life I don’t think I should emulate my son when he squeezes himself rather then go to the bathroom. I also don’t think people should look at him squeezing himself and say “AWW, Like Father, Like Son.” I would rather not well up with tears when I watch him finally go in his portable potty in the parking lot. I would rather not bounce around like a jumping bean during the long drive home while Ryan drifts off to sleep in the back.

I feel so dumb when I barely make it home and realize I’ve taught my son better than myself.

So, please Brain, hurry up and get bigger. I have an audition on the opposite side of town tomorrow and I’m afraid I will explode on the drive home.



Monday, October 19, 2009

A Third Sunday in October

Ryan fell asleep in my arms at 5:50 last night. We had been looking at photos of carved Pumpkins on the Google. We were picking our favorites. Up until that point it was a long tumultuous day. There were no naps. There were tantrums. Ryan threw a tantrum or three too.

My Beautiful Bride and I seemed to be playing out a Western. We stood most of the day, back to back, twenty paces apart. The only time we turned was to shoot. She was trying to run me out of town. She musta forgot I was the Sheriff. I felt like Clint Eastwood. BB was a Hot Chick baddie that my little one horse town had never seen the likes of before. There was tension between us. There was also a Spaghetti Western Soundtrack between us. There was also a two and half year old boy saying “I made a cookie (our word for flatulence) and burp. Scuse me!” between us. I can’t go into too much detail. It would be unfair to my Beautiful Bride. I couldn’t possibly give her side of the story. Let’s just say I was 100% right. I am the Sheriff after all.

Being right is a lonely place. I should know, I am always right. If your right you don’t have to listen to what the other person says because it’s all wrong anyway. Sometimes the whole premise of the other person’s argument is inadmissible in the court of me. Not only am I the Sheriff, I also sit in for the Judge when BB and I are having a particularly disagreeable day. No one wants to be around you when you are 100% right though. Being right is so lonely that you have lots of time to think and reconsider and then get struck by the lightning of how wrong you actually are. Damn.

To be fair, I was not all wrong. I made the situation worse by projecting my righteousness like the chin of a “Rock'Em Sock'Em Robot”. I was due for the knockout. We have a system where we don’t say “I’m Sorry!”. You are not giving anything up by saying ”I’m Sorry!” . When you ask for forgiveness you are giving up your power. You might not be forgiven. So, I asked for forgiveness and she gave it to me.

The warm fuzzy feeling had returned to our home. Mommy started to make dinner. Ryan and I started our Pumpkin research. Ryan yawned and snuggled and drifted off. It was a beautiful sight. His skin was shiny from that sleeping child perspiration. His breathing was heavy and peaceful and had the sound of gravity pulling him down further. The shadows of his long lashes luxuriated in the dim evening light. I carried him up to his bed. I kissed his sweaty brow.

Dinner was ready. It was only 6:00. We had the whole night ahead of us. We ate by candlelight. We carved a pumpkin. We watched “Maid of Honor”. My Bride loves the Romantic Comedies. They make her Romantic. I remain Comical. We kissed. We went to bed early. A perfect day!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Random Randomness

It is very difficult to explain to a two year old the concept of Sunday when he wants to see the Garbage Trucks NOW! Very Difficult!

It is very difficult to explain to Ryan why he can't climb on the public fountain, that has signs that say "keep off" all over it, when other parents are letting their kids climb on it. Very Difficult!

Homemade Cupcakes! Ryan licks off all the frosting. I scarf down what's left. It's a perfect system in an imperfect world!

Ryan thinks he has magical powers. Every time we approach the security gate of our home I tell him to say "Open Sesame!". He then says "Open nana nee!", I scramble to secretly press the remote and the gate opens. Early God complex?

Ryan calls the beach "Big Sandbox.". Talk about the World being your oyster.

I love when Ryan makes me slide my butt, one step at a time, down the stairs.

I love when Ryan hides his eyes in my pant leg when adult strangers try to chat him up.

I love when Ryan and I are at a public spot waiting for Mommy and I spot her when she is just a tiny spot in the distance making her way over to us and I try to point her out to Ryan but she is too small and as she gets closer and bigger Ryan starts to focus in on her and he gets beside himself with anticipation as she gets closer and closer and starts to wave and gets closer and bigger and then BOOM she's here. It may be a run-on sentence but I love that!

I love that other Moms have taught me to use tupperware for snacks and get rid of the ziploc baggies. Less crushed snacks and better for earth.

I love that the growing and learning never stops for both Ryan and me. I could just do without our "ready for the flood" pants.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Going Gray!

My second Fathers Day BB and Ryan gave me a seat for Ryan on the back of my bicycle. It took me about six hours to assemble it. Once finished, I had a bag full of screws and parts left over. I have no explanation for the extra parts. Let’s just say it’s been a year and half without a catastrophe. I think the extra parts were supposed to help create distance between the boys’ head and my heiny. Other kids, on these bike seats, have lots of viewing room. Ryan’s face bounces off my butt every time he sneezes. Flatulence is absolutely out of the question for me. Flatulence would be cruel and unusual. Flatulence is a fun word.

From the beginning Ryan was always a willing if not ecstatic participant in our bike rides together. I was extremely ecstatic! As we rode the streets you couldn’t wipe my smile off with sandpaper. People would stop in their tracks at the sight of us. I always felt that we were doing good work by bringing joy to peoples faces. Making the World a little happier in our own way. I became adept at reading lips as we passed folks by and they mouthed things like “So Cute!” “Adorable!” “The kids not bad either!” After about five miles I would stop at a park so that we could take a break and play on the swings and slides. Everything would be just peachy. That’s right I said “Peachy!”

Sometimes War is an inevitable evil. The early warning shots were fired when I would start to tell Ryan that we were getting back on the bike in five minutes. He would nonchalantly look over his shoulder at the bike and say “no”. Did I detect a pestilent sneer? 10 minutes later, (I don’t think he will ever truly understand time increments under my watch.) I would inform him that we had two more minutes before we mounted the bike for home. This time I heard the all too familiar subtext “silly Daddy.” in his more emphatic “No!” Twenty minutes later I screwed my courage to the sticking post and proclaimed that our five minutes were finally up. He would be ready for me of course.

His first attack was always retreat. He would run away from me. He would run as far as…well, not far at all really. He would run to the slide and suddenly pretend that nothing had changed. He would continue playing as if there were no unpleasant talk of leaving going on at all. Maybe, he wasn’t pretending. Maybe he would just forget that he was running from Daddy and figure he was running to the slide all along. A Daddy never knows. Whatever the case there was something in the purposeful way I was approaching him that would spur him to start running again. He would then go down the slide. Wouldn’t you? I would always give him at least one. The next move was choices. “Ryan you have two choices. You can either walk to the bike or Daddy can carry you.” Why that’s no choice at all, you say? Shh! This is my story.

The second time I was always too fast for him. I’d be waiting at the bottom as he slid into my welcoming arms. My heart was always in my mouth when he would bob his head frantically and straighten his back and clench his heiny cheeks to get away from me. I don’t know how I didn’t drop him. Then I would have to negotiate the various straps and belts, on the seat, as he straightened his body like a board. He would also scream the whole time. A scream that would split the ears. A scream that would go on and on. A scream that didn’t require a breath. It was scary. We would undo all the happiness that we had brought to the World earlier.

Worst of all, more often than I care to remember, I would accidentally pinch his chubby little skin in the clasp of the helmet. There is nothing worse than hearing those cries of pain that you had caused. Kiss kiss kiss. “I’m sorry Ryan.” Kiss kiss kiss “I’m so sorry!” I would ride us back home and feel the gray hair as it came in.

We’ve come a long way!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Daddy is funny!

I’m funny! Beautiful Bride would disagree. I think that’s why I fell in love with her. Something about the way the sun caught her hair, as she was staring stone faced at me, after one of my particularly hilarious one-liners that said to me “This is the one!” As we get older, I take pride in the fact that she never has to worry about laugh lines with me. I feel sorry for all those other silly Brides out there whose faces will turn prune like from their supposed funny husbands.


Ryan is my chance. Ever since this amazing child came in to our lives I’ve seen my opportunity to create a sort of Comic Genius. Tiger Woods Dad started him off on Golf very early. The Serena Sisters Dad started them on Tennis pretty early. Here is my chance to mold a phenom. I don’t need him to go in to the field of comedy mind you. I’m thinking that his comic skills will aid him in whatever field he chooses. I picture him as President of these United States bringing about World Peace with a well-placed slip on a banana peel at a big Mideast summit. I picture him as a Heart Surgeon clearing blocked arteries by giving them the giggles with a devilishly clever pun.


I worried. Ryan wasn’t laughing. At first I tried to stay calm. He didn’t walk for the first 16 months and that never bothered me. I knew I wouldn’t be pushing him in his stroller to his High School Graduation. Somehow this was different though. One day we saw a man in a yellow coat scratching his head looking up at his cat in the tree. Without skipping a beat I did my spot on perfect Ming Ming from the “Wonder Pets” saying “This is Serious!” Crickets! The boy did not laugh. I was so concerned that it almost cut short my own laughing.


Finally we had a breakthrough. I dropped a breakfast bowl on my foot one morning and danced around the house in white-hot pain. Ryan laughed a laugh that made my heart soar and he begged me to do it again. I was so starved for laughs in my house that a bruised foot was not going to stop me from doing it again. I recreated the whole event before I could figure out how to drop the bowl without actually hurting my foot. I believe that bit of realism added to the comedy because he laughed even harder the second time. By the eighth time we were both crying. Ryan cried from laughter. Daddy cried from pain.


Physical comedy is the key. The boy has been learning a ton. I have been banging my head and elbow and heiny and groin to Ryan’s delight ever since. As a matter of fact, yesterday, I think I broke my pinky. I am honestly heading out to the Docs to get it checked out this morning. Wish me luck!                   

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Ryan pee'd on Daddy!

Ryan pee'd on Daddy. It happened at an Audition. A Callback. A BIG job. It wasn't Ryans fault. It was Daddy's fault. I forgot to bring the portable potty. I was warned. "Ryan pee pee Daddy" he said in a waiting room full of actors. Actors who were intensely working on their lines. I wished I could work on my lines, but my lines were not my number one priority at that moment. I scooped Ryan up in my arms and raced down the hall to the restroom. We raced so fast that I forgot to grab the restroom key. We raced back down the hall to grab the key.

By this time the actors, in the room full of them, had acquired a look of "This Daddy actor guy is one less thing for us to worry about!" They were silently affirming their choice to put off the whole "family thing" until their careers had taken off. At that moment I agreed with them.

I grabbed the restroom key, but the restroom key was attached to an oversized bucket. Now I had to carry Ryan and an oversized bucket back down the hall to the restroom. Listen, I get the practicality of attaching a big soupspoon or an empty coffee can to the restroom key. People tend to leave keys, to the restroom, in the restroom. I get it! However, the oversized bucket was overkill. When I am racing a two and a half year old and an oversized bucket with a key attached down the hall, it makes me angry. It makes me want to do my business in the bucket.

My bucket anger was displaced. I was slipping into a panic with visions of Ryan peeing on the Director. I tried to get the key in the lock while Ryan and the bucket negotiated for space. The door swung open and there was a split second feeling of victory over the fates. The thrill was short lived. I knew it was all-futile. Ryan was not going to go in the restroom. We already had the experience when the automatic toilet flushed as his heiny rested on it. The toilet made a giant sucking sound from hell and Ryan grabbed Daddy for dear life before it sucked him to oblivion. Big toilets were no longer an option. I quickly tried to entice Ryan to pee standing up like Daddy. "No Daddy!” "Please Ryan!" "No Daddy!" "PLEASE Ryan!" "NO Daddy!” I then told him it was OK to pee pee in his pants. "No Daddy." "Please Ryan." No Daddy!" PLEASE Ryan!" "NO Daddy!" I pushed too hard. My stress started to get to him. He cried.

It was like a slap in the face. I was immediately present with him. No longer worried about my stupid audition and myself. I hugged him. He pee'd on me.

I tried to wipe the pee pee off my shirt. We went back into the hallway and as the restroom door shut, I realized I had left the key in there. When I got back to the waiting room it was my turn to audition. One of the other actors had been explaining that I had taken my kid to the restroom. The Casting Director immediately focused in on the huge wet circle on my shirt. Ryan sat like an angel while I relied entirely on the cue cards due to not having a chance to review the lines outside. When I walked back out to the room, now half full of actors, one of them said "Who's not gonna hire the guy whose kid pee'd on him." A worried look came over all the other actors in the room. I stood a little taller.

I got the job!

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Naked Strut

Poor Beautiful Bride. We have been taught the difference between outside voice and inside voice. Yet still we scream at the breakfast table. I figured since I made the oatmeal and the sausages that there would be a stay on the no screaming rule. Ryan followed my lead. In truth I followed his lead. We screamed. His was louder I'm sorry to say. His screams are like horror movie screams. Mine are like old man being squeezed grunts. BB has the silent "I'm being driven mad by these two" mental SCREAM. Hers wins.

BB went to work. Lot's of hugs and kisses before she went. Ryan and I raced to get to her. He won. I don't win much of anything at home. I do get the girl though. I get the girl at the end of the day. The sleeping, drooling, taking all the sheets and yet really sexy girl. So take that boy. Plus, baby making time is coming up on the calendar. So I'll get to do some drooling for a change.

Ryan and I then went upstairs and danced naked to the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack and pointed out our nakedness. "I'm Naked Daddy" Ryan would say during our "Staying Alive" strut from room to room. "I'm Naked Too, Ryan" I would say back while trying to simultaneously maintain my strut and teach adverbs to the boy. He didn't quite get the adverb thing. He started to say "Daddy Naked and Ryan Naked. One, Two."

Time was not on our side as usual. We had to get dressed. Ryan puts his undies on backwards. I can't say I blame him. The cool designs are made to go across the heiny (Batman in action in this case) and dull gate opening that no guy uses is on the front. I know I should probably insist that he puts them on correctly but I totally get his thesis and have no heart to discourage his flawless thought process. We agree and get on with our dressing. No auditions today. It's Garbage Truck chasing time!

Friday, October 2, 2009

The First

Today is the first day of this blog. Ryan is not with me today. How else would I have time to put this together? I was so desperate for a day to myself and now that it is here....I miss the little guy as usual. He fought me getting dressed, he fought me getting into the car and he fought for his music in the car. After I dropped him off at Daycare and got back into the car, the silence was deafening. I even kept his "animals,animals, animals" cd on. I love the jazzed up "ole MacDonald". All week I have had auditions and have been running like a chicken with his head cut off. Today nothing. I hate it. My Beautiful Bride (BB from here on in) and I started Ryan in Daycare so that I could have time to myself, audition without him and get the house stuff that has been piling up done. Six months later and it seems all my auditions are on the days he is with me and no matter how much I feel I am doing for the house it is only playing catch up. I have time for just enough to keep us from walking over piles of crap as you walk in to the front door. I have been able to regulate the crap piles against the walls and therefore out of the way. BB sees them though and the prey on her mind. By the time the dishwasher is empty, the toys picked up and the beds made the day is done. I sound like my mother. Of all the people I ever could've sounded like, I am shocked that I sound like my mother. I am a tough kid from Brooklyn who came out to LA to be an actor and refused to let fear stop me from having a family even given the up and down nature of my career. So inevitably, I guess, there are these days of laundry, dishes and loneliness that I realize how my Mother felt. I realize all the strength it takes to do the so-called easy things sometimes. So I sound like my Mom. How lucky am I. I love my Mom. It's her Birthday today. Happy Birthday Mom.