All posts by mike

Scenes from Saturday + Sweatshirts & Arancinis

This is the story of a sweatshirt. A sweatshirt that lived on the floor just inside the front door for more than two days. Another day and it was probably going to ask for the wi-fi password.

It would have been very easy for me to pick up the sweatshirt. It was actually really hard not to pick it up. It also would have been easy for me to make them do it. I can make like a prison guard if I have to but both of those options miss the point.

I want them to learn to look after themselves with some pride. Cleaning up isn’t just a task to get an allowance. It’s an illustration of who they are. The lesson from the sweatshirt that I want them to learn is how we do anything is how we do everything. Leaving it on the floor isn’t just lazy and messy—it shows that they are a mess.

One of my key parenting tenets: I’m not trying to raise successful kids. I’m trying to raise successful adults.

It’s a long term investment. Short term returns are huffing, mumbling, and occasional stomping.

Continue Reading

Chilacates in Jamaica Plain

Chilacates on Centre St. in Jamaica Plain

I’m going to get this out of the way right off the bat. We are an Anna’s Taqueria Family and have been for more than 20 years. But we also really like Mexican food in just about all forms. Put it in a tortilla and I’ll likely eat it. As I’ve said before, lack of really good pizza and burritos in the suburbs where we live is the biggest food fail. I can make a very good pizza but haven’t really conquered recreating great Mexican street food at home. We are always on the lookout for a new burrito or taco place that is closer to home. Jamaica Plain isn’t all that much closer than some of the Anna’s locations but Chilacates was worth a try. Continue Reading

Scenes from Saturday + Bad Dad the Musical

A favorite quote from Bette Davis: “If you’ve never been hated by your child, you’ve never been a parent.”

We had a couple of incidents this week that had the kids mad at me. Nothing big. Nothing that wasn’t really forgotten the next day (attempts at smuggling candy, what constitutes actually washing your hands, how to properly fold a fitted sheet).

Here’s what I’ve come to believe after 10 years of parenting. If your kids are never mad at you, if they never whine about how unfair you are being, it’s probably means you’re not doing your job as a parent. You are only protecting them from the consequences of their actions. How is that going to work out in the long run when life gives them a firm kick in the pants? We can only engage with the world as it is, not as we wish it would be. Raising sheltered or unprepared kids is not the way to raise successful adults. Continue Reading

Scenes from Saturday + Child Labor & Frank Pepe’s

I need to crowdsource an answer. There is an ongoing disagreement about wages in our house. We have begun to pay Cecilia an allowance for doing things around the house.  I’ll admit I’m a little…frugal. I see some valid points in Scrooge and Marley’s business practices. 

Honestly, other than emptying the dishwasher and occasionally walking Dash, it’s mostly things she either was already doing or needed to do anyway, such as practice her instruments and do her homework. The crucial fine print: do it all without complaining. And to be fair, most days she has gotten down to business when she gets home. That has been a real welcome maturation. Now, I’m all about teaching them the value of a dollar, so how much would you pay a 10 year old for those services? Continue Reading

6 Unnerving Books for Fall

I’m not one that loves the gore and guts of the horror genre but I do quite like a book that can disturb and unsettle without always resorting to blood. The type of book that lingers long after you finish. The type of book that doesn’t neatly fit into one genre but brings all sort of story elements to bear to make you cringe and shiver. 

These are some of my favorite genre-bending books for the encroaching dark nights of fall. Continue Reading

Scenes from Saturday + Hakuna Matata

I had a business trip this week and someone left a Sports Illustrated in the seat pocket from the previous flight which included this amazing story of Keanon Lowe whose post-playing career appeared to be going nowhere. Turns out he was right where he was supposed to be.

It’s certainly not a direct comparison to Lowe, but I do often find myself lost and befuddled in the thicket of parenting. I thought it might get easier when they could talk or wipe their own butts or take a shower. Nope. Things only get harder, often in more subtle and insidious ways.

I feel stressed, overwhelmed, cranky and lost and that’s just trying to figure out the weekly meal schedule never mind navigating the social norms of fifth grade girls. My kids make me mad and make me melt thirty-six times a days but ultimately that is just being a parent. You gotta embrace both them and the moment no matter how challenging.

The two days of travel and the break from active parenting did offer some perspective. None of us really have any idea what life has in store for us even as it breaks our hearts or keeps kicking us when we are down.  We gotta remember that we are not lost, we are exactly where we are supposed to be. Not by chance or providence but because by our actions and our choices we make it where we are supposed to be. Parent on, people! Continue Reading