That’s When I Reached for My Revolver

pistolsAfter the horrible events in Newtown, CT, something occurred to me that caused a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, and that feeling emanated  from a small box on the high shelf in my closet.

I am not much of a liberal prosthelytizer, but my heart bleeds, more often then I’d like. Children, the environment,  equal rights, seniors, dead pigeons, you name it, I bleed for it.  In an odd paradox, I am also a gun owner. I have 2 single shot nickel plated dueling pistols.  They were a wedding gift for my parents 50 years ago, then they were a wedding gift to me.  My parents were not gun “enthusiasts,” but they both grew up in the midwest, and had some familiarity with hunting, so owning a guns seemed very normal to them. The wedding gift was meant as a joke- dueling pistols for the newlyweds. Ha.  When I was a kid on vacation in Virginia we’d shoot cans with the pistols, or more aptly, we shoot at cans. These guns were remarkable hard to shoot straight.  But I admit, they were fun.

The pistols went with the other unused wedding gifts (a bread maker, a crystal caviar dish) sat in my closet for years. I never gave them a second thought, until the tragic events at Newtown. Hearing about Sandy Hook Elementary made my heart bleed again, but then it nearly stopped.  In the home of my 5 year old son, and my 2 year old daughter were 2 lethal pistols.  No they weren’t loaded, there was no ammunition in the house. Nonetheless it terrified me.  I did not want guns in my house.

I thought about just throwing them out or selling them.  But I did not want someone else to use them to harm others or themselves. I thought about tossing them in the Gowanus canal (the only body of water in the world that is 90 percent guns.)  But I’m not a criminal, I shouldn’t have to “dispose” of the evidence.  Someone suggested taking them to the police.  Maybe that was the best idea, but it seems like an invitation for an interrogation. I looked for gun buy backs (which aren’t nearly as common as one would think) but even the thought of carrying the guns in public was unsettling. I ended up taking them apart, taking out the hammer assembly entirely, rendering them no more lethal than the crystal caviar dish.

Chutes and Toddlers

A least a half dozen friends forwarded me the the New York Times article about injuries toddlers receive when going down the slide with their parent. It seems counterintuitive, but when a child goes down a slide with an adult, they are more at risk of being injured if their hand or foot gets caught on the slide.  The additional weight of the parent can break a toddler’s arm or leg, and apparently this is a common injury in ERs.

I have always been advocate of letting my children go solo at the playground. (Although have been spotted on a few slides, it was more for my own enjoyment than helicopter parenting.) That said, it’s not always easy getting a child to take the plunge for the first time, so I certainly cannot begrudge any parent doubling as a toboggan.

And be aware, a hands off PG approach has its downside. My 4 year old son has broken his arm twice due to his adventurous spirit that his dad encouraged.

But I always tell him, broken bones heal, chicks dig scars, and Park Slope has the highest toddler-to-pediatrician ratio on the country.

Ho Hos, Ring Dings, Ding Dongs, Lend Me Your Creamy Filling.

I Come to Bury Twinkie the Kid, Not to Praise Him.

With the the announcement of Hostess filing for bankruptcy, a lot of people have been reminiscing about Twinkies. The truth is, I was never a big fan of the cream filled spongecake (and frankly, Twinkie the Kid creeped me out, he seemed like a molester) but the with possible demise of Hostess, I will miss the the Hostess lemon pie, and the little powdered donuts.

Hostess lemon pie filling had the color and consistency of Vaseline, but a perfect sweet and sour balance, at least to the discerning tastebuds of a ten-year-old.

I recently tried a Hostess lemon pie again for the first time in over 20 years. It had the same semi- circle cardboard crust, covered in a thin layer of dried icing that resembled eczema more than sugar. But other than being slightly smaller, it looked as I remembered it. Just as it was when ate these after elementary school, the first bite was always a let down, mostly tasteless crust. But once I got to the filling, the lemon petroleum jelly really took me back. In my mind’s-tongue, I recalled them not being as sweet and the 2012 version, this may be just in my memory, but more likely an byproduct of hostess switching to high fructose corn syrup.

I next tried the little powdered donuts, Donettes, the tube of tiny white fluffy donuts, that never went stale. The powdered sugar was so fine, that inhaling while eating always produced a coughing jag, and always left enough powder on your face to make you look like an 80’s stockbroker.

The new donuts were definitely smaller that the ones of yore, but they were just as artificially fluffy as I remember, and just as dry, so much so that once I finished my coughing jag, I needed to chug a Fresca to wash it down.

As much as I like to wax nostalgic, I have to say I’m glad these tasty yet toxic near foods are not nearly as pervasive today. I don’t want my kids eating these things. And the fact that most parents would never even consider putting Ring Dings, Ding Dongs, or King Dons in their kid’s lunch today, something that was pervasive when I was a kid, I see as a real sign of progress.

New 5 Guys on Flatbush Makes 9 Burger Joints in Park Slope

This burger craze has officially gotten ridiculous.  The Patch reports that another 5 Guys Burgers is opening on Flatbush and &th Ave.  Including the 2 McDonalds, that make 9 restaurants selling exclusively hamburgers in Park Slope, and that isn’t even counting the dozen or so of diners, grills, and restaurants that mainly sell burgers.

I guess the burger Bürgermeister’s believe that they have a few years to clog the arteries of the youth of Park Slope before they start dropping off, or their parents get wise. Mark my words, in response to this I expect a spate vegetarian restaurants opening, either that or Zocor and Lipitor stores will start popping up.

According to my calculations the next burger place should open on the corner of 7th Avenue and Berkeley. The former La Taqueria space is still for rent, I'm talking to you Bobby Flay!

9 Burger Joints…and counting
5 Guys 7th Ave, 5 Guys Flatbush, 67 Burger (opening soon), Cheeburger Cheeburger, Corner Burger, Brooklyn Flipsters, Bare Burger (opening soon), McDonalds 4th Ave, McDonalds 9th St.

My New Hyper-Empathy

There is a story in the NY Times Magazine about a 1 year old buy who suffered brain damage, and whether it was cause by shaken baby syndrome or some other cause. At least I think that what it was about, as I couldn’t read past the first page of the 7 page article. As with many articles about child abuse, or the tragic death of child, I felt sick to my stomach when reading about it. I’m not talking metaphorically, I actually had to swallow to keep myself from becoming physically ill.

This never used to happen before I had children. I would read horrifying stories and I’d get angry, and feel sympathy for the parents and children, but I could get through them without wanting to vomit. Not anymore.

I’m wonder if my hyper-empathy will ever fade, or if I even want it to. But it does amaze me at yet another thing I never expected that changes after I had children.

Just a Wee Touch of the Colic

Sadly have been re-reading my books by Weisbluth, Ferber, Pantley, and Karp.  Several nights of of crying from 3 week old Veronica, has my wife and I whispering the “c” word – Colic.

Nate had colic, although we denied it for weeks. At first we said “he’s just fussy.” Then we moved on to “he just has colicky tendencies” and “a touch of colic.”  But our ped confirmed it at Nate’s one month, “classic colic.”

I’m still holing out hope for V that maybe she’s just gassy or going through a phase, but in the meantime I’m looking for a 3 month sublet in Mali, where apparently they don’t have colic.

On second thought, I suppose a touch of the colic is better than malaria.

Paying Off My Sleep Debt

When my wife was pregnant with our first child, I asked my brother-in-law what he thought of parenthood.  He compared it to torture.  He was joking, but I have to say, the lack of sleep does give some validity to the parenting=torture department. The day in, day out of not getting enough sleep takes a toll.  A recent study says that new parents miss out on six months of sleep in the first two years!

With baby number two on the way, I was hoping to catch up on my sleep debt, and be refreshed and rested. But since Nate has transitioned out of his crib, he has been getting up between 3:30 and 5:30 AM.

The sleep debt is piling up!  By my numbers, I need to make up about 1,800 hours in lost sleep.  So if I go to bed nice an early tonight and sleep through to right before the baby is born in the first week of October, I should be all caught up.

I better pick up some Sominex.