WWF in Fatherhood? Differences in Raising Boys and Girls.

As a father of two girls there is a perceived notion that you must raise your daughters in a certain way (or at least I sometimes get this impression form the people that I interact with). At the same time, when I talk to fathers of boys, I hear differing things about their impressions and the ways in which they feel that they can and should raise their boys as well.

For girls, there is the impression that society expects that they will be introduced to dolls, dress up and the like and that fathers will support this feminine societal view. While boys are given toy guns, legos, cars or trucks to solidify their manhood. Who says though that it has to be this way? Who says that a girl can’t love playing with cars or trucks? Who says that a boy cannot like playing with a Cabbage Patch Kid doll?

For me, I have always encouraged my girls to do what they want to do. Whether this is playing baseball or dolls, dress up or cars, I am encouraging them to be the person that they want to be while at the same time encouraging them to explore areas outside of the normal societal mores.

As a father of two girls there is a perceived notion that you must raise your daughters in a certain way (or at least I sometimes get this impression form the people that I interact with). At the same time, when I talk to fathers of boys, I hear differing things about their impressions and the ways in which they feel that they can and should raise their boys as well.

For girls, there is the impression that society expects that they will be introduced to dolls, dress up and the like and that fathers will support this feminine societal view. While boys are given toy guns, legos, cars or trucks to solidify their manhood. Who says though that it has to be this way? Who says that a girl can’t love playing with cars or trucks? Who says that a boy cannot like playing with a Cabbage Patch Kid doll?

For me, I have always encouraged my girls to do what they want to do. Whether this is playing baseball or dolls, dress up or cars, I am encouraging them to be the person that they want to be while at the same time encouraging them to explore areas outside of the normal societal mores.

I have been encouraging this from an early age and I show this not only in the things that I let them see and try, but also in the things that I do with them. Thus, whether it is wrestling and roughhousing with them on the floor or dancing will we can’t see straight, I am pushing myself to look outside of the box while at the same time encouraging them to explore non-traditional society roles and activities.

I truly believe that fathers who do this are building their daughters into strong, well-adjusted members of society that will be able to stand on their own two feel and who will be able to decide for themselves in the end what is right and what they will stand for. In the end, that is what I want for my daughters. I want them to be self-sufficient and I want them to know that no matter what society will say that they can do and be what they want to be no matter what!

What about you? How do you encourage this in your own children?

Know When to Hold ‘Em, Know When To Fold ‘Em

As a father there are times when I just want to freeze time and not let my girls get any older. I want to capture their innocence and bottle it up so that they will always know what it was like to be free of inhibition, doubt, and the other cares of the world.

As a father there are times when I just want to freeze time and not let my girls get any older. I want to capture their innocence and bottle it up so that they will always know what it was like to be free of inhibition, doubt, and the other cares of the world. In speaking to other parents, I know that they feel similar, and as you child gets ready to go to school for the first time, the reality hits you that this innocence could be shattered at the slightest word, action or thought that someone else may interject and there is nothing that you can do about it besides try and help your child to be ready and willing to stand up for themselves on their own two feet.

The question that continues to ring through my brain is how to best do this, and how best to slowly let go of the reigns that I have to allow for my daughters independence and personalities to develop and flourish on their own.

As Diva-J has gotten older J-Mom and I have continually played the game of give and take and as she starts to become more responsible in some areas, we tend to give a bit more in regards to autonomy, which I think is the nature of parenting. On the other hand, as I said earlier, it is s nice to have your little child, and it is difficult to let that go as they get older.

Many of the resources I found when thinking about this topic talk about the letting go process parents go through within the College years. I am thinking of something different as you might have guessed. I am truly thinking about the process of shedding my presumptions and allowing my children to become the people that they will become. This is not to say that J-Mom and I will not do my best to mold and instill in them the things that we believe deeply as is our responsibility as parents, because we will. Instead, I continue to find that I need to step back and allow her to make mistakes. I need to allow her to fail (which is not easy). I need to let her learn lessons that are not always going to be easy to learn.

In thinking about this, I came across a few interesting links that I thought I would share with all of you:

Today think about your own children and write down your thoughts on when you feel that you MUST hold them, when you MUST fold them, when you MUST walk away and when you MUST run i. Once you come up with this list share it with us… would love to hear your thoughts!

Are you a Dad – Become An Author!

I have always written in journals. I still even have journals from when I was younger. As I have gotten older I still have continued to keep a journal.

I have always written in journals. I still even have journals from when I was younger. As I have gotten older I still have continued to keep a journal. I have found that doing this helps to keep track of small things, important things as well as ideas and thoughts. I find that entries may be formal or informal.

I am recommending a journal to assist you as a parent because I have found that you as a parent you can not only see your own parental growth, but it can help you to assess your parenting and see what areas you may need to work on and develop.
Will your writing always be about parenting, probably not, but it could be if you so chose. One of the journals that I have kept is a journal for my daughters. Will I ever give it to them, maybe. I tend to be quite honest in it about the fears, concerns and truths about everything, and it would probably be quite a few years before the girls could understand and comprehend all that was in it. Never-the-less I still write in it and it is cathartic to say the least.
Many parent bloggers started their own blogs as a journal or letter to their own children. I know that this was the case for me. As I started to blog I wanted to leave something that my girls could look back at and say, wow, my Dad did really love me enough to write about me (maybe this is wishful thinking). As I have met more and more bloggers, I have continued to learn and grow myself in my writing and my parenting skills.
In researching this post I found the following resources that may assist you in starting a journal.
So today think about taking one week and starting a daily journal about your own prenting experiences. There is no set style that you must follow or length that is required. Simply follow through and see what you think at the end of the week. Come back here to let people know about your thoughts about how things are going after the first few days as well as the mid point and end of the process.

Always Use Words, Not Violence

Children are exposed to violence everyday as they turn on the television, look on the computer, read magazines or stories. They see it in front of them and yet do not always know how to process this.

Children are exposed to violence everyday as they turn on the television, look on the computer, read magazines or stories. They see it in front of them and yet do not always know how to process this. If they also see and feel violence within their own home in how their families deal and react to them, this begins to teach them other things that may not be as healthy (not to say that the former list of items are healthy as most are not).
As parents we make many choices that impact our children. In regards to violence, one of the largest things that we have to decide is whether to spank or not to spank our children. The post today is not going to be a pro and con discussion about spanking, far from it, but this is something that falls into the discussion when talking about violence within the home.
All studies that I have been able to find agree that physical violence with children is detrimental to their development and self-esteem, and leads to teaching children that this type of violence if alright. The challenge is whether you as a parent believe that spanking fits into the category of physical violence.
Outside of this what I have come to find in my research is that there are alternatives to hitting that parents may wish to consider. First and foremost is to use words, and help your children to use their words to express their feelings. In an article that I found in researching this topic they provided a list of eleven alternatives to violence that parents can take which is relevant here, they include:
  • Begin providing guidance and limit setting as early as infancy
  • Keep communicating your words to your baby and young child
  • Show mild disapproval of undesirable behavior
  • Discuss your feelings about what you see
  • Empathize by putting yourself in their shoes
  • Offer alternatives
  • Redirect your child’s attention
  • Be consistent and follow through (do what you say)
  • Offer encouragement when your child follows through
  • Thinking time – have your child sit with you and think about their actions and have him or her decide what they could do differently next time.
  • Offer solutions and ideas with your child – sometimes they don’t know what to do and need your guidance.
There are challenging children out there who do not always seem to respond to these tactics, but most experts state that the most important thing for parents is to be consistent with discipline and not to waiver, especially between parents. Our children must know that their parents will have a solid front when it comes to their actions and that they can expect the same treatment no matter who they are with.
Your children must be respected and loved for the people that they are and must be able to feel that they are safe to make mistakes and are in a safe environment to grow and learn. The perpetuation of violent acts within a home whether between parent and parent or parent to child breaks down a child instead of building up a child. 

Some questions you should ask yourself include:

  • How do you react to your child when you are upset?
  • How do you currently disipline your child?
  • How is the way that you are disciplining your child helping them to become a better person?
  • Are there any actions that you are taking that break down your child’s self esteem? If so what are these, and what can you do to build it back up again?
As you begin to answer these questions you may find it necessary to revisit them over time as your answers and definitely the answers about your children will change as you all change and grow. 

In researching this topic I came across a few sites that I thought that I would share with all of you:


 

Think Pink

I am on the road for work (or on vacation as my wife would say) and I needed my coffee fix so I ducked into a Caribou Coffee (no I did not get a free latte for mentioning them). My mind was elsewhere as I distractedly ordered coffee and settled down at a corner table to hop on the free wifi so I did not notice how pink my coffee cup was until I took a sip. In the back of my mind I knew this was significant and as I looked for more clues I had a “smack-your-forehead-duh!” moment: Breast Cancer Awareness. I felt stupid for not remembering right away. Not because it is not a great cause, but because it is one that I am intimately aware of since my mother is a survivor.
I will never (and hope to never have to) truly understand what it is like to do battle with your own body. What I can tell you about is what it is like to be near someone who is fighting for their life. There are many phases you go through and they do not always mirror those of the person who is suffering the most. There are many phases and those who witnessed a loved one go through this ordeal know what I mean.
I can only speak for myself and tell you what I felt and thought. At first I was in shock. So much so that I was not even fazed by the news. My attitude was “women beat breast cancer ALL the time” and so will my mom. My mom is a tough cookie so she did not outwardly betray any fear when she delivered the news nonchalantly, so I felt that my lax attitude was validated. We then sat down with the oncologist and he gave us the run down on all the things that my mom had to do such as surgery, chemo, radiation treatment, the works. I sat in the meeting a bit deflated even as I watched my mom asking questions and even joking with the doctor. It didn’t hit me until we walked into the reception area on a very early November morning in 2001. I tried to stay calm, but I was totally freaked out. It was all true. My mother had cancer – for real. World events that were particularly near and dear did not matter to me in that moment. I felt very lost as my sister and I kissed my mom and squeezed her hand as they rolled her through the double doors to the OR, just like in the movies.
The next thing I remember is standing behind my mom shaving her head after the first couple of rounds of chemo made it impractical to keep what was left of her hair. I also remember how thirsty the chemo made her. The blisters in her mouth and throat that made it almost impossible for her to swallow anything. The shivers. The ashen skin. There was terrible suffering in her eyes, but never in her voice.
Her hair grew back and she is back to playing tennis and bridge as if nothing ever happened to her. For this I am eternally grateful. She does not really talk about it much, but I cannot imagine how much strength and determination it takes to confront the beast. One wishes that the ending to these stories was always a happy one as in my mom’s case. This is just one of the many worthy causes that I urge everyone to keep in mind especially if they are lucky enough not to encounter anything like it in their life. I’m sorry if I bummed anyone out, but as much as I like keeping things “lite” it is part of my story and one that I hope brings even a small amount of awareness to cancer and a virtual hug to those going through a similar moment. And to those who are fighting, keep fighting!

Why This is the Year of the Dad Blogger…

There has been a lot of talk this year about the fact that this is the year of the dad blogger. .I have had a a lot of time to think about this, being a dad myself, for me when starting my Dad of Divas blog, I started this for myself. I did it to share my thoughts and concerns about being a father.

There has been a lot of talk this year about the fact that this is the year of the dad blogger. .I have had a a lot of time to think about this, being a dad myself, for me when starting my Dad of Divas blog, I started this for myself. I did it to share my thoughts and concerns about being a father. When I started blogging three years ago, there were dads out there, but most dads were focused primarily on the topic of fatherhood. There were not many fathers out there that were getting into the other things that bloggers do in regards to reviewing / product giveaways, etc. Moreso it was a bunch of dads that were out there to share their thoughts on fatherhood, supporting each other and celebrating in the positive times and listening in the negative times.


Today, this remains similar. Most of the dads that are out there are still the same guys. They want to give their thoughts on parenting, their thoughts on being a father and what it means to them, talking about their failings and the things that they are doing well. At the same time, they are trying to set themselves apart. I think that it is this last point that sets the dad blogger apart from others. You see mom bloggers have been out there for some time, but dad bloggers have been happy to stay in the background for the most part. It has only been more recently when the media and brands have started to see that in fact, dads do have an opinion and that Dads are making many of the decisions in the home on what to or not to purchase. It is not just moms anymore that are making the decision about what to buy at the store, but that there are many dads out there that are now making these decisions while mom does not.

So Dads are playing a much more integral part in the retail decisions, the family decisions. Now, in my own household, I would say that we have an equal partnership, that we work together to make decisions, in many homes it may not be equal. Still though, the voices of both parents need to be heard.

I also think that having a dad in a child’s life is a very important thing, and I think that media as well as people in general are starting to realize this. There are more and more research studies that have been released that show the importance of fathers int he lives of their children. Also, at the same time you are seeing the importance of dads involvement in the self esteem of a child. Being a parent in general is a large  burden to bear at times, knowing that you hold the future of a child in your hands. Whether you are the parent of a boy or girl, the same research shows that as a father you are letting them see what a man should be like in the world. Thus, they are watching you for answers, whether positive or negative (so beware!).

So as a father you are showing your child about how a man should act toward other women, toward other friends. You are giving them a standard on which to consider other men (now if that is not a huge weight to carry around, I don’t know what is). Thus, as you can see, a father is very important in this regard.

So when the question of what makes this the year of the Dad Blogger comes up, I believe that there are many reasons and it depends on what you are looking at. Are you looking at why this is the year of th Dad blogger in regards to brands and retail purchasing decision and marketing towards Dads as a consumer? Are you asking what the importance of the father in the rearing of a child or the importance of a father figure in a child’s life? Are you asking what the importance of a male role model or a male image for boys and girls growing up. So really it goes down to the underlying question that one is asking when asking this question. There is no easy answer, and many times the answer spurs many more questions, as any good question should.

Overall though, this is the year of the Dad Blogger. The Dad blogger’s voice is becoming stronger and stronger and it is becoming stronger because people like you want to hear what we have to say. I see this as a very good thing and something that will only be the start to something bigger.

Viva La Revolution! Onward live and grow the dad voice, onward grow the Dad Revolution!

Sharing and Denial: A True Story.

EXT. – NEW YORK PLAYGROUND – DAY

A sunny and clear day.

The playground is still fairly empty as the City is still waiting to embrace the Labor Day throngs that are still abroad.

DAD#1 leans on fence and looks on smiling as SON#1 plays with cars in a sandbox bathed by the sunlight. A slight breeze carries a scent of autumn.

SON#1

Vroom Vroom! Beep Beep! Bulldozer! Bus! Police Car!

 

DAD#1

Hey Buddy, you almost ready to go home?

 

SON#1

No! Don’t wanna!

 

DAD#1

OK. 5 more minutes and then we have to go. Mommy is waiting.

 

SON#1

No! Don’t wanna!

 

DAD#1

Right. Of course not.

 

DAD#2 and SON#2 arrive at the sandbox and DAD#2 plops SON#2 in the sandbox empty handed. SON#2 looks around and sees SON#1 has cars. He waddles over and helps himself.


SON#1

Nooooo! Daddy?!

 

DAD#1

That’s OK little man, you can share your cars. You have a couple and he can play with some too.

 

SON#1

Noooooo! I don’t wanna!

 

DAD#1

C’mon little man. You have cars in both your hands. You don’t need the others right now.

 

SON#1 looks distraught, but grudgingly turns back to the cars he has in his hands and continues to play. SON#2 waddles back and grabs the remaining cars from SON#1. DAD#2 looks on smiling.


SON#1

Daaaaaaaaaaady?! Noooooooo!!!!

 

SON#1 proceeds to throw a tantrum.

 

SON#1

Caaaaaaarrrrrs!!! I want!!! Noooooooooo!!!!

 

DAD#1

OK. Relax we’ll ask him to give you the cars back.

 

DAD#2 (while just standing there)

Hey, Johnny give one of the cars back, the boy seems upset. (sideways to DAD#1) It’s always hard for them to learn to share. It took me a while to get him to do it.

 

DAD#1

That’s OK. I’m sure he’ll give them back.

 

DAD#2 (puzzled)

No, I meant your son.

 

DAD#1 (mouth agape)

Huh?

 

THE END

 

NB: DAD#1 is still trying to decide if DAD#2 was actually being serious.

A big city kid in the middle of nowhere…

I grew up a big city kid. I loved it because you had access to everyone and everything. Multi-lingual and multi-cultural. There was always something different to try and to choose from each and everyday. Even Rome where I spent most of my time away from New York is a big city and although not as cosmopolitan it retains a great deal of the big city vibe. I am happy my son is growing up in a big city despite the sacrifices one must make to bring a kid up in a city like New York. I do, though, wonder what it would be like to live in a small town?

I am writing these words from exactly that kind of a small town. This is not a sleepy American burg on the outskirts of a larger urban center. This town is down in the heart of Italy’s deep South. At night I can see the giant lighthouses that guard the Straight of Messina which separate Sicily from the mainland and one of it’s southern most cities – Reggio Calabria. Directly in front of us are the beautiful Eolie islands and a twenty minute car ride away is the ancient sea cliff town of Tropea. This is as far away from it all as you can get in the so-called civilized world. The sun is fierce and the sea is crystal clear. Figs and prickly pears abound and weigh down the trees and cacti that host them along the winding country roads. Stores still close here for two hours at lunch. Sunday everything is closed. There is no rush here. A tough thing to get used to coming from the big city. And yet they live longer and healthier in these parts.
This is where my wife’s grandparents grew up before they moved to Rome. She still has tons of relatives and the older generations all seem to be in their late 90’s and have no intention of going anywhere any time soon. The old ladies still chat to each other from one balcony to the next. It sounds like a movie, but I assure you this is a first hand account.
The parents around here are worried because the kids do not want to stick around. There are certainly many problems around not least of which is the tight control that certain families have over business dealings and life in general. To the outsider it is always hard to understand why anyone would allow themselves to be bullied this way, but all too often the lack of attention from the bureaucrats leads to people organizing themselves in other ways just so that things can get done. But I digress.
The big city allows you to choose from so much for your kid each and every day and yet the frenetic lifestyle you lead also forces many genuine and authentic things to drop by the wayside to make way for convenience. Food is the best example, at least from where I sit now writing these paragraphs.
Food here is not something you have to think about. No one around here says,”What can I make for dinner that doesn’t take too long? What can I just pop in the microwave?” Certainly, they do not lead the chaotic lifestyle that is typical in the big cities, but this part of the day comes naturally to them. It is an important part that must be done and yet it is not viewed as a burden as most of us do in the urban setting. Everything is grown locally, seasonally and consumed fresh. No CSAs needed because to them it is normal that you eat this way. Needless to say, my son who has become a picky eater as of late has been eating pretty much everything they have around here. He is also enjoying the fact that his parents have been infected by the laid back attitude of the locals and are no longer tapping their foot impatiently at the local store while the person in front chats with the store owner about their kids for a half hour or search for a better wireless connection by holding the cell phone over their heads while leaning way out over the balcony like lunatics. Maybe all we really need is a few weeks of this (i.e. real food, sea breeze, sun etc.) to recharge ourselves?
I am pretty sure I would go crazy if I lived here full time and it is always difficult to judge a place when you are vacationing there for a short period of time, but there must be a reason folks around here live well (and well) into their 90s.

Yoda and Heartburn

I cannot for the life of me remember the last time I felt in complete control of my life. Actually, it has been a little over two years that I fall asleep with the uneasy sensation that I have forgotten to do something very important each and every night. Given that parenting years feel much longer than dog years that’s quite a bit of worrying. Maybe after years of practice I will have perfected some sort of breathing technique that allows me to enter a Zen-like state that even Yoda would envy. I hope I get there sooner rather than later.

The anxiety does not consume my thoughts round-the-clock, but it is annoying. It lingers like a sour stomach after a night of spicy food and beer. You can do things to quell the burning sensation, but it comes back hovering just below your tolerance threshold. The thoughts that bring on this state of apprehension, I have found talking to other dads, are fairly universal: Am I providing for my family? Am I pulling my weight as a parent? Am I teaching my son right from wrong? Am I too strict? Am I too soft? And so on and so forth. None of the questions, you will notice, have to do with other aspects of my life in which I feel very much in control (i.e. work, marriage, what am I going to eat for breakfast etc.) albeit, to a certain extent, overly confident.

The thoughts themselves seem more in control than I am. When I was still childless the thoughts were organized as I wished them to be and my life had priorities that I had set even with regards to a family (then again what does anyone really know about having kids until you actually have them). Now, of course, I have only one priority – my son. This should make things much easier since other decisions ultimately are means to that end and yet it wreaks havoc on my psyche. I am always second-guessing those decisions because I feel that unlike with my own life, I cannot afford to make mistakes in my son’s.

The veteran’s say it is normal and that you adjust and adapt, but I always felt that I could control my life since I was the only one living it. Now, though, I find I am responsible for someone else’s life, a life that I value more than my own, and so I toss and I turn a few times right before exhaustion takes over and the snoring begins.

“What the… Get your… I’ll put a… Get out of my face!”

When you’re a father you censor yourself. You get just as angry with a child but you don’t want to say, “What the filth and foul and I’ll filth and foul, filth and foul and, yeah, ya filth and foul face, and I’ll filth and foul, foul, filth!” You don’t want to say that to a child so you censor yourself and you sound like an idiot: “What the… Get your… I’ll put a… Get out of my face!”

– Bill Cosby (Bill Cosby Himself)

I used to laugh until I cried when I listened to Bill Cosby’s routine when I was growing up. I was not a parent, yet, but as a child his portrayal of parent’s was dead on. Now that I have a kid I still laugh until I cry because everything he describes about parenthood matches my experience thus far. All the contradictions and all the moments in which you have to remind yourself that you are dealing with a child and not with another adult are described down to the detail the same way I have gone through the initial stages of daddyhood.

The way a child can infuriate you and melt your heart into putty all in the span of a split second is the craziest thing I have ever witnessed and experienced in my life. Whether it is a genetic coping mechanism that children have hard wired into them or a gift they pick up in a very short time period right after they are born is not something I am privy to knowing. I find myself often exasperated with my son’s stubbornness in any given situation and close to tearing my hair out and screaming bloody murder (see above quote) when he’ll throw his arms around my leg or give me one of his gleeful giggles – and I’m toast. So what if the couch was turned into a Jackson Pollock, I never liked that mug anyway, we really needed a new clock radio and so on and so forth.

For now the excuse is always, “he’s still too young to know any better…”, but that will not fly for much longer. Already my wife and I have adopted the accusatory adjective “your” as in: “Do you know what your son just did?” So before we go down that slippery slope we should probably starting making sure he learns who’s boss (yeah right!). It is really hard to discipline a toddler, though, when he is making funny faces and hugging you or worse laughing (at you?). The “innocence” of the young is so disarming that for a novice like myself it really rattles your game. Even when two parents are actually coordinated and are working in tandem on teaching a child “wrong from right” breakdowns are common and as one parent falls the other is often close behind.

The restraint and infinite patience that is necessary makes “cracking” even more unnerving to me because there are moments in which the tantrum or the “no, no, no” is so grating that I just want to roar at him like in the cartoons with all the air coming out of my mouth making my son whimper into submission. Instead, much like in the cartoons that I remember, it’s as if by batting his eyes or smiling lovingly at me he takes out a huge pacifier and sticks it in my mouth.

I figure I better start practicing for the inevitably harder challenges that lie ahead that will need discipline for things that go beyond spilt milk. In the meantime, my wife and I should think of using a coin toss to determine if he is my son or hers on a case-to-case basis or we could to alternate.

Sunday In The Park

Sunday in the park is the only place one can really survive in Manhattan when the sun starts to literally melt the asphalt. We pack the stroller with plenty of water and toys and head out to the Great Lawn in the heart of Central Park. I am very grateful that plans to turn this vital patch of green into more city blocks was scuttled in the mid-1800s. As a parent, I realize how important this resource is for surviving with kids in the city.
I also would like to take a smidgen of credit for Central Park as you see it today. When I was just a wee lad growing up in a New York City that had barely survived the 70s and was trying to hang on in the 80s, a few volunteers decided that it was time to reclaim Central Park from its sad state of degradation. Although it was used much the same way it is used today, as a way to escape the din and chaos of the city streets, it was more dustbowl than oasis. I was recruited to volunteer with a new city parks initiative called “You’ve Gotta Have Park!” (a nod to the song “You’ve Gotta Have Heart!”). We were stationed next to the now beautifully restored promenade that leads to the Bethesda Fountain and we asked, using the cutest kid faces we could muster, each passerby to contribute a dollar to help rebuild the park which was not receiving much, if any, city funding. To make a long story short, over the next few years, slowly but surely, and thanks to so many great volunteers and patrons, Central Park got a sorely needed makeover and now is a case study in grassroots local community efforts to pick up the slack from underfunded and disorganized municipalities.
Now my wife and I can setup shop in the shade and play until my son conks out for a couple of hours lulled and cooled by a fairly constant breeze even on the most humid days. Lying on my back I see blue skies through the trees (OK so I also see the occasional jet or helicopter, but you know what I mean) and listen to the sounds of the nearby softball games or children chasing each other on the lawn, no cars honking or buses kneeling, just New Yorkers enjoying the park. Not bad for a tiny island crammed with concrete, steel, glass and one and a half million people!
My son will grow up assuming that this incredible park that allows you to get away from the hustle and bustle has always been this inviting and stocked with swings and jungle gyms and lush green mantles to run on and kick, throw and catch balls on. I dealt with dirt fields with broken glass and early curfews (thanks also to the occasional Houdini act pulled by one of the big cats in the then decrepit zoo) so I am more than happy that he can just enjoy the transformation. I, on the other hand, cannot begin to tell you how much easier my life is by having such an incredible getaway within walking distance of our apartment. Sometimes, when I’m there, I can can even hear myself think.