Crazy Nephews

March 10th, 2010

resizedMy brother, Christofer, called Sunday morning.

"Dude, is there any way you can watch the boys this afternoon?" he asked breathlessly. Jen took Ella to the hospital. I'm running up there to meet her."

My pointer finger was on their Upper West Side buzzer fifteen minutes later. I could hear Ethan and Edward's tiny feet scurry on the hardwood above me as I climbed the four flights of stairs. I knocked on the door to the sound of giggles. The door swung open mysteriously to an empty hallway.

"Boo!"

The boys leapt from behind the ...

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Rock ‘N Roll Reconsidered

July 20th, 2009

resizedFor years now, I've tossed around "rock 'n roll" as an adjective.

Sure, it's a popular musical genre that evolved in the United States after World War II that combines African American rhythms and blues culture, country and gospel. And yeah, its instrumentation is typically guitars, bass and drums (typically a boogie woogie blues rhythm with an accentuated backbeat). But that's just academic.

I'm talkin' loud, fast and out of control; unshaven, unshorn and uninvited; wrecked hotel rooms, Lamborghinis and lives. I'm talkin' out all ...

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Street Fair Rules

May 19th, 2009

resizedThe balloons were Trojan Horses, really, or slight of hand at best; mere diversions intended to lure the children closer before handing off a pamphlet to the smiling parents gently instructing, "What do you say?"

Once in Ethan and Edward's hands, the shiny, green and orange West Side YMCA helium balloons trumped all of the action at the Amsterdam Street Fair. They stood mesmerized in the center of the street, oblivious to the steady stream of strollers, bikes and pedestrians, the barking Gyro vendor, and even the mixtape salesman playing ...

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The Great Easter Train Wreck

April 13th, 2009

resizedIt's a recipe for disaster: a five and three-year-old boys, plastic railroad tracks, a wind-up diesel engine, and two fists full of chocolate eggs.

Hollywood blockbuster and dime store novel alike are rife with the plot line. Aunt, uncles, grandparents, nieces and nephews gather around the holiday table and chaos ensues. The nephew kicks the leg out from under the table. The holiday meal slides onto the hardwood floor. The dog steals the turkey. The niece throws up. The brother-in-law announces he's gay. The sister announces that ...

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My Intrepid Nephews

March 29th, 2009

resizedCan you imagine New York's $44M, 66-year-old gray behemoth, USS Intrepid, through my pint-sized, toe-headed nephews' wide eyes?

This thing's 900-feet-long and 190-feet-wide and loaded with thirty aircraft, including a Navy F-14 Tomcat (as in, "I feel the need, the need for speed!), Harrier Jump Jet, F-4 Phantom, Israeli Kfir, French Etendard, Russian MiG-15, 17 and 21, "Huey" helicopter ("I spent over 3000 hours in these things," one elder gentlemen said) plus the freakin' Concorde. The Intrepid weighs 27,000 tons, and contains 20,000 ...

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Planned Parenthood

January 4th, 2009

resizedOn the street, Edward refused to take my hand, issuing a long, withdrawn, "Nooooooooooo!" So I carried him.

On the subway platform, the roar of the trains scared him. So I held him, whispering, "I won't let anything happen to you, I promise."

Abbi and I took Ethan and Edward for a few, long hours this afternoon. Eighty blocks, four subways, three historic buildings, two carousel rides and one gift shop were more than enough. The boys were mostly adorable, to be sure. But the pressure was immense. Everything was a ...

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She’s My Niece

December 16th, 2008

resizedMy college band, Smokey Junglefrog, released its third and final album, "She's My Niece," concurrent to our disbanding on May 15, 1993.

The title of the album was borrowed from a birthday card my bassist, Paul Perreault, had given me. The front of the card was a mixtape with a collection on niece-oriented songs: She's My Niece (And She'll Cry If She Wants To)," etc. We found it funny at the time.

My brother, Christofer, drove two hundred miles from Saratoga Springs to video tape the band's final performance at the Zodiac Club in ...

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Warning: Candy Canes Create Crazy (Adorable) Kids

December 14th, 2008

resizedLike most decisions, it was made quickly and without any sense of ramifications.

Fast forward three hours.

The air is filled with the sound of Christmas music, and the smell of baking cookies. Candlelight casts warmth across a room full of familiar faces.

Down the hall, five adorable children under five-years-old are bouncing on our bed, tickling one another, diving under a pile of coats, and hiding beneath a bundle of lily-white pillows. Limbs are flying. Laughter explodes. Their parents peer from the living room ...

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Boo! (Or, Crossing The River Styx In Costume)

October 31st, 2008

resizedMy favorite Halloween was at the end of my least-favorite year.

I was ten-years-old. My parents were separated, soon-to-be divorced (saw that comin', right?). My mother was in Washington, DC. Chris and I were with our father in Oak Park, Illinois. It was, as I've written before, a particularly dark, confusing and chaotic time.

In those days, Chris was playing a lot of Dungeons & Dragons. It was a time before I ever considered what constituted "cool," frankly. In retrospect, though, he was deep in nerd territory: Coke-bottle, ...

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Happy Birthday Edward!

August 4th, 2008

resizedMy nephew, Edward Isaac, turned two on Thursday. We celebrated Sunday morning.

Two short weeks ago, Edward was wrestling with just a few new words: blue, mama, dadda.

Yesterday, though, he was forming complete sentences like, "I got it."

It's an amazing, exciting process to watch.

As is the dynamic between he and his older brother. Edward's a happy kid: following Ethan, copying his every move, and grinning the whole time. Ethan adores and protects him, bristling when the limits of his authority are breached (like when his ...

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