Tag Archives: parenting

Birthday Cake Aquatic

photo (8)My birthday cake created by my kids (with help from my mother). It features a whale shark, a starfish, an octopus, and bioluminescent plankton/animalcules.

Is there an unlocked gun in your house?

That is the question Tara Haelle, the American Academy of Pediatricians, and the Brady Center for the Prevention of Gun Violence want you to ask when your child goes to play at someone else’s home.

Is there an unlocked gun in your house?

I live in South Carolina, which has a pretty solid culture of guns and hunting. Many of our friends and neighbors are gun owners. Most of those are responsible gun owners. Accidents still happen. Fair warning to parents of my kids’ friends. I will be asking.

Tragically, I can avoid the social awkwardness of asking with a bit of personal history. A childhood neighbor of mine accidentally shot and killed a friend of his making it socially acceptable for me to fret.

It is all about managing real risks for my children. If you have a pool, I’m going to  evaluate your home’s safety differently. If you have guns, same thing. Hell, I own big dogs. You should probably ask about them before sending your kid over here.

Drowning Can Be Subtle

I suspect that people at our pool judge me for being that parent that’s too distracted watching his kids. It makes me an even worse conversationalist than usual. The social norm is that the kids play and the adults socialize, after all, there is an admirably diligent lifeguard. I am a quadcopter drone of a parent at the pool and beach for two reasons. One, I like playing with my kids (they are more interesting than you – I have data). Two, drowning doesn’t look like drowning:

The Instinctive Drowning Response—so named by Francesco A. Pia, Ph.D., is what people do to avoid actual or perceived suffocation in the water. And it does not look like most people expect. There is very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind. – Mario Vittone


Vampire Ontogeny

I was awakened this morning by my five-year old informing me, “Daddy, I can’t eat your soul. My teeth aren’t long enough or sharp enough, yet. How reassuring. That inspired a very quick and badly drawn vampire comic.


Broken Shells

photo 2 (1)For Spring Break, I took my three year old daughter1 to Holden Beach, NC. It was not warm enough to spend much time splashing in the water. So, we spent a lot of time looking for shells.

Over nearly thirty-five years, I have had the platonic ideal of a “sea shell” crammed into the forefront of my consciousness. I’m supposed to find “perfect” shells, unmarred by the unforgiving motions of the sea that bring the shells within my reach. Shells that will look pretty on the shelf. Shells like this one that used to be a whelk’s home2.

Based on the weight of shell fragments my daughter deposited in my pockets, it is clear that she has a more expansive ideal of beauty than her old man. We collect a lot of “broken” shells, because my daughter sees the innate beauty in these broken things. This may explain why she still likes me3.

You know what? You can learn a lot from broken shells and three year-olds. Continue reading