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When Children Die First: A Meditation on the Unthinkable

My first reaction to the big news stories last weekend, first the shootings in Norway and then the death of Amy Winehouse, was to feel more sympathy for the slain Utoya kids. They were completely blameless. They had no hand in their own destruction; ...If the universe granted me a single wish, it would be that when I die old, my daughter will yet live.

The Gay Genealogist: Creating a Modern Family Tree

As hobbies go, genealogical research is not exactly on par with snowboarding -- it ranks right up there with stamp collecting in its total lack of "cool" factor. Does anything really say "geek" more than an obsession with family trees? But that's ...I can trace my family's trademark ski nose back three generations but I can't tell my daughter where she got her cute little button nose.

Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie: Papa and the Small Bikini

When did I become such a prude? This was the question when Diva and I opened the box of summer clothes sent by a relative -- and I saw the teenie weenie bikini. A napkin's worth of hot pink and orange fabric, its arrival sent my 6-year-old into parox...Too many bikinis don't just say "big girl" -- they say "adult woman."

Picture Daze: How Too Much Comes to Mean Nothing

I think it was the dance recital portrait offer that put me over the edge. For a mere $70, a photographer would take a picture of my 5-year-old in her tap costume, providing makeup and styling services along with the snap of the shutter. Total num...The more you have of everything, the less you value anything.

It's Not You, It's Us: Breaking Up With Other Parents

Remember dating? And that most awkward of moments, the end of an evening when it was clear not everyone had enjoyed the experience equally? Your date would ask the question, "What are you doing next weekend?" And, instead of saying "avoiding you,"...Saying you're not interested when dating is easy, but breaking up with other parents? Not so much.

Dress Blues: Gay Moms Learn a Lesson On Gender Norms

"You have got to support me on this one," Em* told me in no uncertain terms. "She has to wear the dress." Em doesn't put her foot down very often, so when she tells me something is important to her, I listen. Problem was, my other easy-going girl ...Sometimes a dress is not just a dress.

Celebrating Fathers' Day, Plural

On Sunday, my household will observe a holiday that is somehow universal and statistically rare all at once: Fathers' Day. Note the location of the apostrophe, indicating the plural possessive form, which is to say two dads but only one day. W...For this family, Father's Day means two dads, one holiday.

Oh, Behave: The Word 'Gay' Does Not Equal 'Stupid'

I thought my nephew was a linguistic genius when he said he was "being have." His mother had admonished him about something, and she'd told him to "behave." His indignant response was, "I am being have." Genius, I thought. Be good, be quiet, behav...This mommy blogger tackles the word "gay" as a substitute for "stupid."

Meant to Be: A Letter to My Daughter on Her Birthday

Long ago, before there was you, when Daddy was not yet Daddy and I was not yet Papa, he and I promised each other that someday we would be parents. We had a wedding and bought a house, but then let more than a decade pass while we waited to be "ready...The doubters didn't stop us: Our course was set.

Parenting On Demand: How Do You Tell the Difference Between a Child's Wants and Needs?

I'm hungry. Can I have some pancakes? Will you help me go to the bathroom? Can I have a playdate after school today? I want to watch "Scooby-Doo" on TV later. Can you please come downstairs and make me breakfast now? I'm hungry! This is within the...All the research in the world can't prepare you for the onslaught of wants from a child.

A Piece of Unsolicited Parenting Advice: Don't Offer Any

My friend Gwen was taking a stroll, her sleeping 1-year-old daughter Lola pressed to her chest in a baby sling. It was a lovely day, the nicest so far in a too-late spring, and Gwen was thrilled to be out of the house. A Friendly Stranger rolled up a...Is there anything your average parent wants less than unsolicited advice?

Teaching Moments: Mystery Moms and the 'Interrupting Chicken'

"The Interrupting Chicken" by David Ezra Stein
For most of this past year, I had a very intense, life-consuming job that cost me a lot of the smaller moments in my children's lives. I still tried to be home for dinner (even if it ...
School appearance by two moms raises lots of questions.

'Modern Family' and Me: The Men in the Mirror

Question: Where can I find the following family? Two gay dads -- one slender and uncomfortable offering public displays of affection, the other hefty and prone to flamboyant gestures. Add one adopted daughter of another race, the youngest memb...Watching "Modern Family" is like looking in a mirror.

Women's Work: Divvying Up the Chores in an All-Girl Household

The little girl tilted her head to one side and thought a minute. "You do?" she asked. "Nope," I replied. "Em does." The girl shook her head sadly -- she wasn't very good at this game at all. It had started a few minutes earlier, when our...Today's topic: Who did what? Who did the laundry? Who killed the bugs? Who cooked?

Where Babies - and Tongue-Tied Papas - Come From

"How do babies get out of a mommy's tummy?" Like so many incredibly loaded topics, this question arrived over dinner. Diva was then 4, a preschooler whose primary understanding of adult female anatomy came from Barbie. We'd been joined for supper ...How do you answer questions about sex when your child is still watching "Sesame Street"?

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