Differences Archives - 2 Dads with Baggage
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Playdate Politics

Playdate Politics

I know from talking with other parents that they experience playdate politics too. They talk about feeling obligated to allow their kids to have playdates with kids in their classes at school, despite how they feel about that kids’ parents. You know that old saying about how you don’t really get to pick your inlaws? Well that starts in preschool and continues on from there.

It seems there is an unwritten rule that you have to make nice with the other parents if your kids want to play together. Even when it’s that couple that sends candy bars in their kids’ lunch every day and has a TV in every room, including the kids’ bedrooms. Or the ones that always seem like they would benefit from a good wash and rinse cycle.

But what about the ultra right-wing whitebread Republican crackers, with the heavy starched shirts and the too-tight hairbuns that make their eyes go a little crazy? Am I required to allow my kids into that home for a playdate too? And more importantly, do they want my kid in their home anyway?

Hammock girls

It’s kind of like imagining a day in the past when Chelsea Clinton wanted to have Ivanka Trump over to play at The White House. Don’t you wonder what would go through each of their parent’s heads at facing that dilemma?

This is where I get all protective-like, and my daddy claws come out. Because here’s the thing: I really don’t want my kids to be made to feel uncomfortable about who they are, and what form our family takes, by a bunch of ignorant rednecks (or anybody else for that matter). And even though it’s just a playdate, I am left wondering what subtle prejudice comes leaking through in that mommy or daddy’s treatment of my great kids while they are in their company.

I know this sounds paranoid. And it also sounds overprotective. This is, after all, the kind of issue that will be faced occasionally in their lives when dealing with people less enlightened about gay families. I should use this as a teaching opportunity, yes I should.

A bigger person would do just that.

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Filling Out Those Damn School Forms

Filling Out Those Damn School Forms

For same sex parents, filling out those damn school forms is not only a chore but also incredibly insulting.

You see, every year the girls come home with this hideously thick packet of school forms to be filled out by their parents. The process necessary to go through each individual piece of paper is both time-consuming and laborious, as we parents try to decipher just what information the school is exactly asking for. In triplicate.

But for gay parents, this burden is made even more excruciating because the forms ask for information from the Father and the Mother. Really guys? In this day and age, after all the advances we’ve made? Do we really still have to cross out the word Mother and write in Father? It’s borderline cruel.

Imagine the number of trees killed... Imagine the number of trees killed…

On a couple of forms supplied by the State of California, somebody thought enough to get it right and simply list areas on the form for Parent and Parent. Still, most of the forms supplied locally by the school itself have not evolved from the Stone Age yet.

It feels so lousy to be faced with this each year, when you know school administrators look at these forms in order to gather the data we supply. Having now seen our family’s forms for ten years, along with the hundreds of other same sex parents in the San Diego Unified School District alone, you would think it would dawn on someone to speak up. “Hey”, they might say to their supervisor, “There’s a shit ton of forms where people are crossing out Father and writing in Mother, or vice versa! This happens every year! We should change these forms in order to accommodate these same sex parents and families!”

Maybe poster child of homophobia, right wing village idiot Kim Davis is in charge, taking a Kentucky-like stand down at the School District headquarters.

Homophobe wing-nut Kim Davis Homophobe wing-nut Kim Davis

Adding insult to injury, we have to do this multiple times in this packet, times two for both kids. Here’s a partial list of some of the packet contents we had to read and sign:

  • 01 Welcome Letter
  • 2016 Football Schedule
  • 2016 MAD DAYS ASB Purchase list
  • 2016 Booster Donation Form
  • 2016-2017 Bell Schedule Calendar
  • Academic Honesty Policy
  • Anti-Bullying Policy
  • ARC Participation Form
  • Calling all Parents
  • Contract Signature Form
  • Course Sequencing
  • Dress Code Policy
  • Health Information
  • HIV AIDS Education Form
  • Important Dates to Remember
  • Keys to Parent Information
  • MAD DAYS Picture Order Form
  • Open House Flyer
  • Parent Portal Tri-Fold
  • PA Info _ Volunteer Form
  • PA Membership Form
  • PA Other Ways to Donate
  • School – Home Compact
  • Site Map
  • Student Nondiscrimination and Sexual Harassment Policy
  • Zero Tolerance Policy

Ah, the rigors of parenthood. I need a good strong Manhattan.

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Daddy Needs A Break

Daddy Needs A Break

Alone time. Peace and quiet. Some time away. Escaping the madness.

Call it what you will, but in every parent’s cycle, there comes that time when Daddy needs a break. A break from the constant needs of others. A break from pretending to have all the answers. A break from the dawn-to-dusk fever pitch that is life with two kids in the house. I know you know what I’m talking about.

It’s the Gloria Gaynor “I Will Survive” disco drum beat that begins the day as the alarm goes off at 5:00 a.m., jolting me to hit the gym in the wee morning hours before the crazy starts. Then it’s the mad scramble to get breakfast eaten/dogs walked/teeth brushed/appropriate clothing chosen (more on that later)/homework completed/permission slips signed/kids loaded into the car/last minute grab of forgotten item/mad dash to school drop-off/mad dash to Starbucks for fuel/mad dash to the office for that 8 a.m. management meeting. Yeah, that’s all before the workday even starts. You hear me – you know you do.

This is the shrill pitch of parental life that causes us to push through our days like a car whose gas gauge is blinking red on empty, but we’ve got just two five more miles to go.

Recently, that car broke down (meaning me, not the car). Triton could see it in my eyes – that hyper-caffeinated, wide-eyed stare where I am taking in my full field of vision but not really focused on a flippin’ thing. I’m so lucky he gets me.

So we planned a weekend getaway for a quick visit to La Quinta Resort, one of our favorite places to bake out the crazy in the hot Palm Springs sun. I had already conjured the poolside images, could feel the nub of the terry cloth mashed into the side of my face as I lay on the lounge chair, an umbrella drink as my new best friend.

The spa pool at La Quinta is delicious. And no, that is not me in the pink hat, silly. I look better in blue.

The spa pool at La Quinta is delicious. And no, that is not me in the pink hat, silly. I look better in blue.

I mentally made massage appointments in La Quinta’s world-class spa, and mused on menu choices (steak or lobster? hmm, why not both?) at their most excellent signature restaurant, Morgan’s. In the hazy distance, I could sense the kids were there somewhere, swimming or engrossed in their iPhones. Triton would be sitting nearby, bingeing on back episodes of Homeland. This was the kind of mini-vacay where we would never have to leave the resort all weekend long.

But this was not to be.

Evidently, the girls forgot to tell us that Friday night was the Spring Dance at their middle school. Sophia pleaded a compelling case for this, her last dance as an eighth-grader before she and her friends scattered to different high schools. It worked, and we caved. I watched the scenes of palm trees and blue pools dry up, as talk turned to mall trips for new party dresses.

Sophia and her gang all gussied up for the big dance

Sophia and her gang all gussied up for the big dance

But wait! Why not go anyway? BY MYSELF. After I pondered the ridiculousness of this thought, it started to seem less and less ridiculous. Could I actually take an entire weekend for myself, and go away from my family to be alone with no one to talk to and no distractions? Would I be able to relax, or would my brain spin me out of control, wonky from untethered thoughts and no one to bounce them back into reality? Well, we would see. Because I needed this. Badly.

So I set off for a different location – Two Bunch Palms Resort & Spa. It felt somehow wrong to go to our family’s retreat at La Quinta without the rest of us, and I was drawn to the crunchy spirituality of a new location.

You know what? It was pretty darn great! The drive there was odd and a bit lonely, as the two and a half hours in the car gave me plenty of time to waver between doubt and elation. But the bliss far outweighed the concerns.

It worked too. By the time I arrived back home on Sunday, I was pumping out the zen. I floated into the house, hugged Triton and the kids, made a peaceful dinner and had a beautiful night’s sleep free from stress and anxiety.

And then it was Monday.

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Schoolyard Fashionistas

Schoolyard Fashionistas

Reblogged from 2008 — Sometimes I feel the pressure to live up to my reputation as a proper gay dad by dressing my daughters with a little style. It sounds cliché, I know – a gay father dressing his daughters to the nines.

But since being fashionable matters to me, and I possess the proper gene to inform my fashion sense, therefore it matters that my girls look good too. Triton and I are not ones to go overboard. The girls are not wearing Gucci sundresses and carrying Louis Vuitton’s latest multi-colored backpack (yet). They just….look good. Whether the clothes came from Neiman-Marcus or Gap Kids, they wear it well.

What’s so interesting is that everyone (translation: all the mothers at school during morning drop off) has a comment to share. As we walk on to the playground each morning, bright and shiny and ready for a new day, I see the mommy once-overs and an occasional side-eye.

Yep. The hand moves to the sunglasses, pulls them down the for a better visual, the eyes take it all in from head to toe, and a look of awe (or is it inadequacy?) comes over their faces as they try to refocus back on the school day’s beginnings.

I can almost hear the collective “oh-no-you-diddunt”.

Sure, they all make positive statements like “Your girls always look so perfect” or “Where did you get those tights?” But underneath their breath, are they saying “How dare you upstage my daughter, you nasty drag queen” or “What will those damn gays be up to next”?

Hmmm. I wonder.

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I’m the Mommy and the Daddy

I’m the Mommy and the Daddy

Reblogged from 2008 — Not in the literal sense, but Triton and I often feel like we are filling both roles simultaneously – mother and father at once. We shift back and forth between the stereotypical and the completely atypical…many, many times a day. He’s the best, my Triton. He makes it seem effortless as he spend one moment braiding the girls’ hair into beautiful creations that would make the Pennsylvania Dutch proud, and the next minutes he’s playing monster and chasing them through the house with a deep, manly growl.

Our girls have never known it any other way. I remember when Sophia was only two, and she said one night after dinner in a very matter-of-fact tone, “I don’t have a mommy.” And Triton and I said “That’s right honey, you have a daddy and a papi”. And she smiled, nodded her head in agreement, and asked what was for dessert.

Good thing we have a lot of women in our lives for balance, and some as close as family could ever be. One of our most incredible turned out to be no farther than the house right next door – the girls’ honorary Aunt Babs, who has become a very special part of our extended family. Along with a few other VIP women in our lives, our girls have plenty of healthy female role modeling going on.

But still, when one of the girls tells me her vagina hurts and wants me to have a look, I’m feeling pretty motherly at that moment.

And you know what? That feels pretty great.