So, its getting bad. Yet I am powerless to stop this. My 6 year old is taking an interest in music, and despite my lengthy campaigns to saturate her growing tastes with The Beatles, Stones, Talking Heads, David Bowie (early), hell, even Edith Piaf, youth’s relentless tendency toward awful has won out.

There we are on a 45 minute drive out to Walnut Creek. I make the mistake of plugging my phone into the dashboard. Its too late. She senses weakness. “Daddy, can we listen to music”. Seems harmless. “Sure sweetie, good idea”. “Dad, can we listen my my music”. Oh, that seems adorable. She is developing her own tastes. And I, an encouraging parent, want to see that rewarded. “Of course love”. “Can you put on ‘I’m Glad you Came'”.

Are you *$&(ing kidding me? I mean, where does she find this *&%^? I spent the last decade of my life avoiding any club that would even OWN, much less play this pap.

But I am a Dad.

“Sure sweetheart”

It gets worse. I mean, of course because there is nothing a 6 year old loves more than bad boy band music than repetition, we listen to it 5 times. I know I am going insane because I am starting to like it.

But then, she tells me she wants to save the next listen for Nana’s house. What? God yes, let’s!

” But Daddy, can you put on ‘PonPonPon’. I ran a search. This is a thing. Now, this is more than a thing. HOW THE *$#&^ DOES MY DAUGHTER EVEN KNOW WHAT J POP IS!?

Oh, good Christ. So I am typing this from the basement with a loaded 9mm and a bottle of scotch and shaking hands trying to cleanse this out of my memory.

I love you sweetheart. Even enough to listen to:


It started off innocuously enough.  I asked C what she wanted to do for her 6th birthday party.  “Sleepover” she said.  Great idea really.  So I told her she could invite as many as 4 girls over.  But then her Godmother got into me, and convinced me 10, maybe 15 was reasonable. And for some reason I agreed.

So I invited every girl in her kindergarten class.  And it wasn’t until the RSVPs came rolling in that I started to go cold.  What had I done?

The parents were all very grateful.  They also asked if I was insane.  Many of the girls had never done a sleepover before.  Several get night terrors.  But F it.  Go big or go home.  We were pot committed and we rolled out the celebration.  In fact, since C and I basically share a birthday, I thought that one bad decisions deserved another and rolled my birthday party into the same night.  What could possibly go wrong?

Actually, I kept my invites on the light side (9 all told, plus family).  And the ides was having some extra adults to rub backs and sooth kids would be a good idea.

The girls started to arrive at 4.  By 4:15 it was earsplitting.  But I force marched the girls to the trampoline and made them bounce.  My only hope for bedtime.  Meanwhile, I had ribs sharing time with pizzas in the oven.  My friends came in at 5:30- I showed them to the back yard.  At 7, girls were eating pizza, friends were having cocktails and adult food.  Rolled out the cake at 8.  I’ve learned and already informed who would get the flowers (pro tip – when getting a cake made, get one flower for each girl or you will be hurting).  They really only eat the icing.  Some girls went with the green tea mochi option, which is a whole other story.  They sang happy birthday to C in Spanish, English and Japanese, because San Francisco.  Then they watched Annie.  Not the PC Annie with Jamie Foxx.  No, the one with racially insensitive “Punjab”, an over sexualized Carol Brunette, and Tim Curry who still creeps me out.

They are 6 and pajamas are awesome, so no problem getting them all dressed.  Then I told them they all needed to use the potty.  I never anticipated that all 11 of them would try and go in there at once.  I am a smart man.  I didn’t even try to corral that, stop that or intervene.  I just let it roll and prayed for the best.

So, around 9:30, I read three books – even rolled out Where the Sidewalk Ends for old times sake.  Then G, K and I turned the light off and rubbed backed like whack a mole.  Girl pops up, rub.  Someone is restless- rub.

We had 2 defectors.  Both first time sleep over.  “I want to go home”.  F that.  No one is going home. I had to spoon one.  The other we switched rooms.  They were out relatively easily.  All told 30 minutes and we had 11 snores.

So I went down stairs and had birthday bourbon.  And chatted with friends will 1.  I did it.  Largely.  At 4am, one gets up, freaking about her lost dolphin. I contained the wildfire through, tossed her into my bed with K, found the dolphin and we all slept until 7.  The girls weren’t that bad.  Fed them waffles and it was great to see the parents and have coffee at 9.

Not a bad day.  Happy Birthday C.  6 is awesome.


The other night Cecilia was all hopped up on play time. She turns to me and says,

pretend you’re my daddy”. I love the fact that make-believe is so important to her that she even wants to make believe reality.

Or maybe she knows something that I don’t know.

The other night a friend of mine watch Cecilia while I went to a law firm reception for an hour. After we got going, and Cecilia was nestled in the back seat of the car, she informed me that my friends cat was in fact a puma. Knowing, it didn’t surprise me one bit that he was trying to pull out my daughter’s mind. But then Cecilia says to me ”

they need to be careful and get rid of that puma before he gets too big because he might eat them

Love and attention

At bedtime tonight,

“Sometimes I don’t feel like people love me”

“When does that happen?”

“When people aren’t paying attention to me, but they say they are.  They say they are listening to me, but I can tell they aren’t”

Damn.  I think I am going to flush my phone down the toilet.


I don’t write in this nearly as much as I want to.  A handful of entries over the years.  I am embarrassed that I haven’t taken more time to capture what might be the single greatest gift ever entrusted to me.  Fatherhood.  Cecilia.

So, two things that stand out.  Unrelated I think.

The other night as Sissy went to bed, we were turning over for story time and she told me how her belly hurt with hunger.  Just  alittle hungry, she told me.  Now, we have a rule – you eat at dinner and then not again until breakfast.  Its not thoughtless.  When she is at my house, she eats sufficiently at dinner.  She sits at the table and we eat together.  And she goes to be and wakes with an appetite.  There is nothing wrong with snacking, of course, but I just want to teach her that food isn’t the backdrop of our lives, to eat ad litem, and graze.  food is a social thing, and a meal, and something for which to be grateful.  But her mom lets her snack in bed and she is used to it.  And that is hard for a kid- having two sets of rules.  But I try and gift her consistency.  So, I said no.  And she cried. She cried she wanted mommy.  And that hurt.  Of course.  I think anyone can feel that.  But the thing that was magical was that I just held her, and I felt anger rise up, and burn out, and dissipate, and I was still just holding her.  And it was fine.  Somehow my story didn’t enter into the moment with her.  She she was ready for a story and we went to bed.  I don’t know why that is special.  Or maybe I do.  Since I was a kid, I get angry when I am stuck.  It all backs up and I get angry.  And God knows I never wanted to be angry with my child.  But I get there.  We all do at times I guess.  But I looked back, and realized that I could be angry and my love her Sissy helped me leave it there, unengaged, and I acted with kindness and compassion.  Because my love for her, and for myself and the parent I want to be was greater than the need to reenact a story.  And that was nice.
So the other thing was in the bath.  Sissy called me in.  And she had emptied the whole conditioner jar into the tub.  And I was stunned.  I asked that question every parent since the beggingin of time asks- why?  All of it Siss?  Yes daddy.  Why?  I don’t know.  Well, I told her her self service conditioner privileges were over.  She had dumped the whole thing in the tub.  So the other day K was taking a bath and I went in to talk to her.  The new jar of condition was beside the tub, and when she reached for it, it slipped and fell in.  And I realized, oh lord, it was an honest mistake.  And the next night, Siss was bathing, and she dipped one tiny finger into the conditioner and asked – is this ok daddy?  I wept.  How sweet.  How unexpectedly honest and sweet.

Good morning

C slept late this morning. I checked in on her and could pick her out, twisted up in her blankets, naked, with her hair laid out like a mane.

I got her outfit prepared, got breakfast ready, then just went back to lay in bed. I heard her awake, and stumble down the hall. She turned the corner into my bedroom, with thick eyes, and without hesitating, walked to my side of the bed, climbed up, climbed onto my belly, stretched out, and fell asleep. She slept for about five minutes, then woke, rubbed her eyes, and told me about Frozen in unnecessarily high volume.

Kids are great.