Month / February 2015

Yorkshire Terrier who obeys wife better than husband.

1. LOSING BATTLE. At times, I simply cannot stop myself from being jealous about the other man in my wife’s life — our Yorkshire Terrier, Jake. When I teased her this week about how much affection she showers upon the dog, she tousled his hair and explained, “How could you not love this little guy? He’s always in a good mood, doesn’t ask for much from me and always obeys my commands.” Okay, Jake, you win. There’s no way I can compete with all of that.

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Teens girls wear lots of rings.

1. NOT SO SECRET WEAPONS. Like most fathers, I operate under the illusion that I could serve as my daughters’ protector if anyone gave us any sort of trouble when we’re out together. But when our family recently went out to see a play, and my girls were dressed to the nines, I noticed nearly every one of their fingers were adorned with metal rings of intimidating density, adorned with stones of daunting size. Of course, if I carried around that much hardware, my hands would ache, but my daughters didn’t seem to mind having their fingers weighed down. And as we walked the streets of Boston, my 15- and 17-year-old girls left me feeling as secure as a Mafia don whose henchmen carry brass knuckles in their pockets.

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Fancy restaurant vs. a hot weiner joint.

1. THE FULL SPECTRUM. My children have been exposed to a full range of culinary experiences. They’ve dined in gourmet restaurants and adventurously tried foods I wanted no part of, like octopus. Thanks to their mother’s influence, they know how to use all of the many utensils at their settings and can pronounce any dish with a foreign language twist, like duck a l’orange, with the proper accent. Thanks to their dad, they’ve also visited dining venues at the opposite end of the spectrum. They’ve stood in long lines to order clamcakes and clear-broth, Rhode-Island-style chowder from windows of seaside take-out restaurants, and they’ve marveled at the skills of short-order cooks who can line buns up the full length of their usually tattooed arms to put together our order of hot wieners in assembly-line fashion. To their credit, our kids are entirely comfortable in both types of establishments. To me, that’s clear evidence we’ve raised them right!

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The Persuader superhero along with collage of family.

1. REVEALING SUPERPOWERS. One evening over dinner, my daughters and I discussed what superpower we each would want if we were only allowed one. My youngest wanted the power of telekinesis, as she explained because, “That way, I wouldn’t have to get out at bed at night to turn off the light or brush my teeth, I could just command the light-switch to flip to off or the toothbrush to come into my room and brush my teeth without me even having to get up.” That decision made me wonder if her current schedule of school, piano and trumpet lessons, and debate team might be taxing her a little too much. I said I’d like the power to tele-transport the way the characters in Star Trek did, a desire that surprised no one given how much I complain about how expensive airline tickets are. My oldest said she would like the powers of the Persuader, so she could talk people into doing whatever she wanted them to. That seemed like a wasted wish because it would be entirely superfluous. With her father at least, she seems to be in full possession of that skill already.

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