Neanderdad and the Five Stages of Grief
Neanderdad tried to convince himself that the writing had been on the wall, that the signs had been there for him. But in truth, he was taken completely unawares. Certainly he’d seen it happen to other fathers and husbands. He’s seen other proud men reduced to pitiful creatures as a consequence. But Neanderdad never suspected that this…THING…could actually happen to him. Yet there was his wife,...
Neanderdad Honestly Considered
It had been a great day of hunting. Many mammoths had been slain. Neanderdad had reigned supreme at work. Now Neanderdad departed his cubicle stronghold and returned home triumphantly. He strode into his dwelling, strong, tall and commanding. Sensing his ebullience, the dog greeted him at the door spastically, leaping up at him as if to lick off some of his success. The children too seemed...
Neanderdad and the Sincerest Form of Flattery
Still in his pajamas, Neanderdad sat slumped at the breakfast table. He sipped groggily at the caffeine leaching from the tea bag in his cup. He scratched at his unkempt, shaggy head. He rubbed his puffy, sleep-blurred eyes. Then he scowled slightly at the bright sunlight. Never a morning person, Neanderdad was famously grumpy before noon. His family had learned to adjust to that reality and...
Neanderdad by Example
The first amber leaves of Fall dotted the surrounding trees. Darkness started to creep earlier into each passing day. So too did signs of darkness appear in the dwelling of Neanderdad, the shaggy, primordial parent of two. Little ones were learning the power and perils of their negative emotions and Neanderdad was determined to be the beacon of light to lead his offspring through this...
Neanderdad Starts A Rivalry
Now came troubles to Neanderdad’s house. The worst kind of troubles. A civil war had erupted between the girl and the boy. Now came insults and slights, jabs and needling, attacks and reprisals. Two sweet children, so recently full of love for each other, had now devolved into demons bent on mutual harm. The siblings had become rivals. Neanderdad had been the catalyst. It had all...
Dad is Thy Co-Pilot
Motherhood. Its not a job for the faint of heart. And you mothers that read this newsletter are in the toughest part of the toughest job. The early years are simply brutal. Day by day, you are struggling to pull it all together against formidable challenges. Luckily, most of you have a co-pilot to help share the load. And, as it turns out, it is that time of year when the world, led by...
Neanderdad Flies Solo
“Have a great time,” she said with a smile. And it was the smile that worried Neanderdad the most. Was it part humor? Part pity? Or perhaps part apprehension? He wasn’t quite sure. But it worried him him. And after flashing that cryptic smile, Neanderdad’s mate rolled her luggage out the front door and into the night, leaving him completely, utterly, irrevocably alone. Well, not...
Neanderdad Takes A Trip
“Miss you,” The girl said. Then the boy said it. Then his mate said it too. There was some hugging and kissing through the open doors of the car. There was one more quick wave to the children. Then Neanderdad was away and strolling through the terminal, rolling bag in tow and a spring in his step. The usual hassles surrounded credentials, luggage and lines didn’t bother him a bit. ...
Neanderdad Looks Out
It was dark now and Neanderdad’s offspring were slumbering. With his mate out of the house running errands, Neanderdad had a rare moment of quiet to collect his thoughts. Quiet, that is, save for the incessant jingling of the dog collar as the dog chewed nervously at his paws. This was a habit that the beast had practiced with gusto since the arrival of the children, and it drove Neanderdad...
Neanderdad the Memorable
Be memorable. That had been Neanderdad’s parenting goal that day. It was, perhaps, a bit self-serving. But that was his goal nonetheless. So he had taken his daughter on a special trip to the riding stables to feed carrots to the horses. She talked about it glowingly for the rest of the day as if it perhaps would be a lasting memory. For the boy, it had been batting practice with the tee. ...
Neanderdad Sees Santas
No figure in the mythology of Neanderdad’s culture held more sway with the little ones than a certain bearded, red-suited, chuckling, jolly-old-elf. Neanderdad knew this well. So it was with some dismay that he rode the Christmas Train with his family and looked over the man who claimed to be Santa Claus. First, this one was much thinner than the archetype. Second, his red and white suit had...
Neanderdad Explores Bouncy Culture
Upon arriving at the umpteenth straight weekend birthday party for a play-group friend of his offspring, Neanderdad did what he always did. He released his two wards into the intense gravity of the nearby Bouncy Castle and watched them get sucked inside. The boy went first, not even bothering to struggle. The girl did at least look around; at the food, the table full of presents and at the few...
Their long journey was almost over now. Almost. Neanderdad stared wearily at the road before him, his thick knuckles tightly gripping the steering wheel. His mate sat grimly beside him, a wrinkled bag of Goldfish crackers clutched in one hand and an assortment of rejected children’s music CDs in another. Not a word passed between them. They shared the silent bond of endurance. Behind them,...
“When is it coming?” the girl asked. Neanderdad and his wife shook their heads. They didn’t know. And so, on a pair of rocks beside a parking lot, between the train tracks and a pathway to the beach, the whole family waited. Only the slightest of ocean breezes blew. The sun shined down benignly on them, unable to penetrate either the sea mist in the air or the layer of sunblock shielding the...
Greetings mother’s of Burlingame (and their support staff). It is my great pleasure to communicate with you again with this, my third annual Father’s Day column. My first column explored Fatherhood Fictions. My second introduced my alter ego, Neanderdad. This year, I am writing to encourage every parent out there to know and love their parenting clichés. Nary a discussion of my kids goes by...
Neanderdad Faces Death
Neanderdad closed in on a long-legged bug as it bounced spastically against the living-room wall. He held a tissue in one hand and a rolled magazine in the other. He was ready to strike. This was Neanderdad on his game; he was focused, in the moment and on the hunt. The dog stood beside him, a slight wagging of the tail showed his endorsement of the venture. Neanderdad’s offspring stood on...
Neanderdad and the Conspicuous Bruise
Neanderdad looked around nervously before unloading the boy from the car. There was barely a soul in the outer parking lot at the community center where he took his 2-year-old son to swim, but he felt that a thousand eyes were upon him. The boy pointed excitedly at an airplane flying by and called out loudly, “Airplane.” Neanderdad fought back the urge to shush him. He didn’t want them to be...
Neanderdad the Protector
Neanderdad was the protector. In a panic, he lurched across the room toward his son, stumbling over the dog that had sprawled inconveniently on the carpet. The boy was maddeningly agile for an 19-month-old and Neanderdad had been looking in another direction for a microsecond too long. In that moment, the boy had climbed onto the sofa and bridged the gap onto the living room coffee table. He...
Neanderdad Explains Christmas
Neanderdad’s people have many traditions, many important legends. And at no time of the year were there more traditions and legends than during what Neanderdad’s people called ‘The holiday season.’ With this season now upon them, Neanderdad and his mate had dedicated themselves to exposing their offspring to every nuance. The tree was up and decorated. Stockings were hung with care. ...
Neanderdad concentrated so hard that his brow ached. He knew his attention had a tendency to drift, but he was alone today with the girl and he wanted to stay in the moment. He wanted her to know that she was his sole focus. That she was loved. The only distraction in the dwelling was the dog, who had tried to insert himself in their play several times. Neanderdad pushed the beast away. ...
It was dawn and Neanderdad was dreaming. After struggling to get to sleep, then struggling to stay asleep, he was finally there. He dreamed fitfully of a lush, green, mammoth-stocked valley. Neanderdad was a night hunter, built for late-night forays. He was not built for the morning. But morning was now upon him. First, the boy gave a lone, plaintive wail from his room down the...
Neanderdad was confused. His 3-year-old daughter held up a sippy cup with a built-in straw. He had just conveyed to her that she must drink in the kitchen. Yet she was still upset. She waved it under his thick brow, as if to better reveal to him specific technical details that he did not understand. Their family dog, who had been hanging around to scavenge food scraps, sensed trouble and...
A while back I wrote some fatherhood fictions about my family. A few fake anecdotes to pass the time. But recently, I’ve been considering more serious matters. Painful truths about being a father, which I have uncovered. I want to write about the greatest riddle of parenting: why is there such a horribly unfair distribution of innate parenting skills between fathers and mothers? There...
Neanderdad Sees Santa Clauses
No figure in Neanderdad’s culture mythology held more sway with the little ones than a certain bearded, red-suited, chuckling, jolly-old-elf. Neanderdad knew this well. So, as he looked over the latest incarnation of Santa Claus, as he and his family rode the Christmas Train, he worried that the man was going to ruin this oh-so-important holiday legend single-handedly. First, he was much...