July 30, 2012

Playground Politics

            As everybody knows: Sharing ain’t easy. 

And frankly, when it comes down to it, sharing is kind of a pain in the ass. 

And when it comes to playgrounds, where you (and that small human you’ve brought along with you) came armed with toys galore, which consequently, given the nature of small humans, get ignored and forgotten and abandoned, and then acquired by other (unrelated) small humans, and then consequently abandoned and avoided and ignored by those small humans, and then another (anonymous) small human comes along and acquires these toys, and then plays and abandons and ignores them, and on and on it goes, all while you’re trying to instruct your child on the common decency rules of please, thank you, you’re welcome, and what not, when people keep coming up and snaking her toys right out of her reach, all the while, she’s hearing that she’s supposed to say please, thank you, you’re welcome, and what not, when people keep coming up and stealing her shit right out from under her nose, when what she probably really wants to say (but can’t, given her 14 months) is: “Thank you very much but keep your filthy mitts off my plastic bucket you little spoiled brat.”

            But as a parent of an only child, I feel that all this is good practice for her.  It’s a sharing exercise, so to speak.  A way for my kid to learn how other kids who live with other kids have to live when they live with those other kids that they live with. 

            What I’m really trying to say to my kid is:  “This is how the other half lives.”

            So, as my little one is gradually learning, per our established policy, when anybody comes up on the playground and wants to play with our stroller or our bucket or our cup or our sponge, she has to give it up and they are allowed to play with it. 

            But not everybody in the playground has similar a policy. 

            For some, there’s no policy whatsoever.  There is just a sort of eminent domain.  “I see it.  It is available.  Therefore, it is mine.” 

            For others, there is no reasonable quid pro quo.  “Oh, I’ll take that,” they say.  Then they take it, with no equal exchange.

            For some, the quid pro quo may indeed be in the eye of the beholder, such as when the holder of a miniature stroller or a sponge or a bucket is willing to exchange (albeit temporarily) their inferior goods for a plastic cup or a burst water balloon or, frankly, someone’s own father figure.

Because, in the end, if everybody’s happy with an equal, if only temporary, exchange, then who can argue with that? Certainly not me.  And having been traded, individually, and on several occasions, for, amongst other things, a half-empty water bottle, a plastic truck, a half-eaten cheese stick, a six-year-old dachshund, a handful of week-old dirt, two tennis balls, and an abandoned shoe, I must naturally ask the question:  Ain’t parenthood great?  

July 26, 2012

Purple Phase

It seems purple is the HOT color for nurseries right now.  Every order in the last month has been Lavender or Lilac.  Here are a few of my favs.
Baby Elephant in Grey and Baby Giraffe in Lavender with Grey spots 

Monkeying Around in Lavender on White Wood 

Whale Family - lavender 

July 23, 2012

The R.P. Wants You to Know: Eco Toys Are Not Safe

            It’s true.  Hippy dippy kids’ toys can hurt you. 

            No.  Really.  It’s true.  Those hippy dippy kids’ toys are dangerous. 

            But the manufacturers and the fans and the proponents of these so-called hippy dippy all-natural eco-friendly environmentally conscious kids’ toys will surely tell you differently.  They will tell you that their toys are safe.  They will tell you that their toys are superior.  They will tell you that their toys are just that: toys—only more natural, made of more natural products, in more natural facilities, by more natural people, for more natural motives, with more natural intentions. 

            And typically, these more natural toys are made of wood.  And what could be more natural than wood?  Well, dirt or stone or bone are at least as natural as wood, but who wants toys made of dirt or stone or bone?  Nobody.  But who wants wooden toys?  Well, frankly, lately, lots of people do. 

            So, you’d think (correctly) that there’d be a market for this kind of thing. 

            But, it must be pointed out, these hippy dippy all-natural eco-friendly environmentally conscious wooden kids’ toys are just that:  wooden.  And wooden toys tend to hurt more than plastic toys when dropped on your foot or chucked at your head or clubbed against your knee. 

            And, frankly, the geniuses who make these enviro toys seem to be somewhat anti-adult, particularly given that, in their construction, these toys typically consist of blocks, balls, cubes, and, insanely enough, hammers.   

            Yes, I understand that the wooden hammer is intended for banging the wooden balls through the wooden contraption so that the wooden balls might roll down (plinkety plunk!) the metal xylophone, but really what we have here is a wooden weapon with round wooden projectiles, complete with other, heavier, wooden components which can also be flung about, some of which are blessed with rectangular metal xylophone slabs screwed into their wooden bases. 

            Frankly, to this observer, none of this seems even remotely safe for children and/or other humans. 

            Now, naturally, nobody on this end of the blogosphere (whatever that means) is promoting the production of toxic plastic lead-based Chinese-made craptacular kids’ toys for the dearly beloved toddling loved ones of our dearly beloved toddling nation.  But there has to be some kind of middle road. 

            They make plastic kids’ toys out of corn, don’t they?  They make recycled and upcycled and fore-cycled and aft-cycled kids’ toys, don’t they?  They make environmentally harvested kids’ toys of sustainable wood that are not in the shape of hammers or sickles or projectiles or other weapons that children might use against those dearly beloved human people who bought the toys for them in the first place, don’t they?

            And, in all honesty, we poor afflicted (and now assaulted) dearly beloved human people in charge of these little weapon wielding urchins are not exactly in need of another way for them (the aforementioned urchins) to injure us.  Frankly, they (the urchins) are already at a fairly injury advantageous height, which puts us (the aforementioned parents, see: tall humans) at a rather distinct disadvantage when it comes to protecting ourselves. 

And then to give the little urchins wooden projectiles?  Well, frankly, that seems simply unsportsmanlike. 

July 16, 2012

The Right to the Road

            There is a rivalry brewing in America.  And it’s ugly. 

There is a rivalry brewing in America.  And it’s serious. 

There is a rivalry brewing in America.  And it ain’t no joke. 

Forget the Yankees and the BoSox.  Forget the Duke Blue Devils and the UNC Tar Heels.  Forget the Bloods and the Crips.  Forget the Sharks and the Jets.  This is for real. 

There is a rivalry brewing in America.  And it’s between the Central Park Cyclists and the Central Park Joggers. 

No.  Seriously.  There’s an actual rivalry brewing. 

And it has gotten serious.  Recently, on the Central Park East Drive, an alleged disgruntled Central Park Jogger scattered thumbtacks across the roadway.  Tires were flattened, cyclists suffered accidents, New Yorkers across the board were lucky nobody else in the park got clobbered by careening bikers, or that any New York children walked across the roadway and stepped on the tacks, or that some New Yorker walking his or her dog or dogs across the roadway didn’t have their canines get injured, all of which would have naturally necessitated a trip to their respective health care providers—general practitioner, pediatric, veterinary, or otherwise. 

And this was all because some douche bag Central Park Jogger was upset because some Central Park Cyclists act like entitled douche bags while biking in Central Park. 

And, admittedly, having witnessed their behavior on several thousand occasions, Central Park Cyclists do act like entitled douche bags while biking in Central Park.  They will run you down.  In Park Drive intersections, whether they have the right of way or not, they will plow over, and then issue an accompanying self-righteous comment over a speeding (and retreating) shoulder. 

And frankly, what is more bold than directing comments over your shoulder as you speed by and run away? 

And the Central Park Joggers aren’t any better, entitlement-wise—it’s just that all of their corresponding and equal behavior, like that mentioned above, happens as a somewhat slower rate. 

Cyclists and Joggers.  Joggers and Cyclists.  Sharks and Jets.  Jets and Sharks.  It’s like a Modern-Age West Side StorySnap, snap, snap.  Snap, snap, snap.  Snap, snap, snap. 

And frankly, this Recent Paterfamilias is curious to see how this rivalry will ultimately play out.  Presumably, the guys in their tight little shorts are going to leave their pretty little helmets and their expensive little bikes by the side of the road, and the other guys in their tight little shorts are going to leave their pretty little running shoes and their expensive little iPod Nanos by the other side of the road, and then the two of them are going to come face to face and call all of their loved ones and then fight to the death.  Presumably, this is what will happen. 

But the real mystery here is:  Who is more self-entitled?  Who has more of a self-entitled right to this public roadway?  And who is generally more obnoxious and ridiculous and irritating about this whole issue? 

And frankly, who can say? 

Frankly, this Recent Paterfamilias has kind of got to say that everybody’s obnoxious. 

And frankly, this Recent Paterfamilias has kind of got to say that everybody’s ridiculous. 

And frankly, this Recent Paterfamilias has kind of got to say that everybody’s an irritating douche bag. 

But what do I know?  I’m not a cyclist, and I’m not a jogger.  All that I’ve got is an opinion and an online forum on which to voice it and, look at that!, this R.P. doesn’t have to cowardly pitch thumbtacks across public roadways at 5:30 in the morning to get his point across.  He can write about it.  With actual words. 

If only everyone could be so honest and revolutionary. 

July 09, 2012

And the Show was a....

Well, I wouldn't call it a success necessarily.  I mean, I didn't make my millions at Unique San Francisco.  I might have broken even covering the costs of the set up, booth and gas to get to San Francisco.  But my mom came in from Toronto and we drove up with and stayed with one of my good friends, so all and all it was a pretty fun weekend.  Took me a while to get home and recover (hence the lack of blogging last week).  I realized that to me the best part of the shows is the booth set up.  I love taking a 10' by 10' plot of nothingness and turning it into a little store and then seeing how differently everyone else sets up their space.  I guess that's the set designer in me.  Here is how my little space looked from start to set up.

There were a lot of amazing artists and crafts people at the show.  One of my favorites was OodleBaDoodle.  Great display and the cutest owl plashes you have ever seen.  

July 04, 2012

Just another story about Vomit Everywhere

            The Recent Paterfamilias is beginning to wonder if it is in bad taste, if not totally unsportsmanlike, for him to have a grudge with a one year old. 

Admittedly, this is an unenviable predicament in which the R.P. has found himself, and, to top it all off, she’s not even his one year old.  She’s the baby best friend of his own one year old. 

            And what did this baby best friend (if we can still call her that) do to warrant such a grudge with the otherwise forgiving and lenient and overall mild mannered Recent Paterfamilias? 

            This baby best friend, whom we shall refer to henceforth as the Modern Typhoid Mary, has afflicted the Land of the Recent Paterfamilias with a plague of Biblical proportions.

            In an age previous, an era we shall refer to as B.V.A (or Before Vomit was Everywhere), the Recent Paterfamilias had learned verily from the mother of this so-called baby best friend that their respective filial congregation had found themselves suffering through a rather rough weekend.  The whole family, one after another, had come down with a stomach bug.  This baby best friend, after having been kindly invited into the bed of her longsuffering parents, proceeded to reenact a rather memorable scene from The Exorcist

            Oy vey!  What a mess. 

            Then the mother got sick, and then the father got sick, and so on and so forth, but, I was assured, things were all better now. 

            And so, our babies played.  Our babies laughed.  Our babies lunched.  Our babies shared Cheerios. 

            And hen my baby had some projectile vomit of her own.  While sleeping.  She didn’t seem to mind, however, as she kept sleeping right through it. 

            My wife and I were unaware of what had happened until the middle of the night, when we were alerted by the smell, and at that point, that age old adage raised her head and bellowed, “You never wake a sleeping baby.” 

            And so we waited it out. 

            She was all chipper upon awaking, that baby of mine, and, given the circumstances, that’s really a commentary upon her personal constitution. 

            Oh…and It was also coming from both ends now. 

            Consequently, the Clean Up Crew stepped in. 

            A few hours later, clean up was complete. 

            This all began in the wee hours of Friday morning. 

            By Saturday afternoon, this Recent Paterfamilias wasn’t feeling so hot.  By 7pm, he was exorcising all over the place, on a regular basis, and the Clean Up Crew, busy as it was, had been slashed by 50%. 

            By 11pm, the R.P. was in a cab, alone, on his way to the Weill Cornell Emergency Room, where his exorcising continued unabated for several more hours. 

            After three litres of IV fluid were inserted for dehydration, several anti-nausea and anti-diarrheal medications were administered, and seven hours of observation were observed, the medical professionals finally let the Recent Paterfamilias go. 

I could barely walk. 

            It was now Sunday morning. 

            By Sunday afternoon, around 3pm, the wife of the R.P. wasn’t feeling so hot. 

            By 6pm, the Clean Up Crew consisted of a what could only be referred to as “useless” thirteen month old. 

            Eventually, by Tuesday afternoon, days after our baby was feeling tip top, fit as a fiddle, raring to go, pretty and witty and gay, the wife of the R.P. and the R.P. himself were finally finding themselves wishing to rise to the land of the living, complete with an appetite for something marginally (although only marginally) more substantial than dry toast and lukewarm water. 

            And so, as my reader can most clearly see, concerning good taste or sportsmanlike or not, this Recent Paterfamilias has a little bone to pick with that certain baby best friend, that certain Modern Typhoid Mary, and the next time I see her, I will be sure to say, “Hey!  Look here, you baby, I have a bone to pick with you!”  And then she’ll look at me with her Modern Typhoid Mary eyes and she’ll curl up her mouth in her Modern Typhoid Mary way and I’ll think, “Well, that’s pretty cute,” and then I’ll consequently (and conveniently) forget everything that’s happened. 

            Because it’s not her fault, really.  Just because a baby spreads an epidemic, does that mean you can blame her?  It would almost be like having a grudge against that first dog or rat or flea who stepped into Dark-Ages Europe and thought, “Huh, that’s weird but my throat feels a little scratchy.”