Neanderdad Finds A Perfect Christmas Tree

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When the last piece of Thanksgiving pumpkin pie had been served and eaten, Neanderdad’s offspring quickly turned their full attention to the last and most important holiday on the calendar—Christmas.  And the very next day, with the warm light of November still shining down upon them, Neanderdad and his family were walking through a large field full of christmas trees, trying  to find one that they all agreed upon. Continue reading

Neanderdad Serenade

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It started out as a short-term solution to a temporary problem.  The girl couldn’t sleep, perhaps, wouldn’t sleep.  And she was adamant that based on her current state of agitation that she might never sleep.  Such was the effect of a little girl’s swirling, conflicted thoughts after a busy day.   So Neanderdad tried to calm his daughter down. He sat in her darkened room.  He spoke to her in soothing tones.  He tried to lead her mind to calmer waters with carefully crafted questions and mollifying observations.  And then, when that didn’t work, he decided to sing her a song.    Continue reading

Neanderdad and the Violin

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“I want to learn the violin, daddy.” The girl said one day.

“Hmm.” Neanderdad had replied.

Then Neanderdad took no further action.  These whimsical requests of hers were quite common. Neanderdad had not responded to her request to get a pet cat or to quit school either.   So time had passed.  Then the girl approached him again.

“Daddy, I want to learn the violin.” She said this more insistently.  Continue reading

Neanderdad the Betrayer

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The boy didn’t understand. That’s what made it so painful for Neanderdad and his mate. They had explained to the boy what was about to happen, but the boy couldn’t conceive of it. So the boy didn’t worry. He exhibited only the slightest apprehension and any concerns he might have harbored quickly evaporated in the bright heat of the boy’s natural ebullience.  Continue reading

Neanderdad Gets Spooked

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Darkness devoured Neanderdad’s dwelling leaving only a fragile cone of light around the television for Neanderdad to huddle.  Neanderdad’s offspring were in bed.   Neanderdad’s mate was out for the evening.  So, being alone, Neanderdad watched TV and ate a cold chicken leg from a paper towel.  He was looking forward to spending a quiet evening relaxing but there would be no relaxation this chilly, fall evening.   Dark forces were stirring in the shadows. Continue reading

Neanderdad the Victim

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The beating started at dawn.  Neanderdad was sleeping in bed.  All was at peace.  Then the boy came in and started thumping his rubbery fist against Neanderdad’s slumbering skull.  At first the thumps weren’t hard enough to hurt.  However, they did interrupt a glorious dream in which Neanderdad had been driving hundreds of long-nosed mammoths off a cliff and onto a giant, valley-sized dinner plate.   His entire tribe had been cheering him and banging drums.  These drums began to match the rhythm of the boy’s fist as it pounded Neanderdad toward consciousness.  When the boy spoke, Neanderdad’s happy dream evaporated into a hard reality.   Continue reading

Neanderdad Out In Public

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“I don’t like that man,” said the girl, her voice echoing loudly through the indoor pool facility.  Then, as if that wasn’t enough, she hitched her thumb in the man’s direction.  Neanderdad quickly grabbed her hand and pulled it down.  Then Neanderdad shook his head at his daughter in an attempt to silence her.   There was only one person in the jacuzzi besides them, so there was no mistaking who she meant.  A glance at the man in question confirmed to Neanderdad that the man was pretending he hadn’t heard.   Neanderdad would have gone pink with embarrassment if the hot water hadn’t already turned him lobster-like red.  Continue reading

Neanderdad Says Goodnight

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“Goodnight,” Neanderdad said.  He then expected his children to go to sleep but that was foolishness on his part.  He should have known from long experience that it would not be goodnight.  This particular ‘goodnight’ was only the beginning.  This first utterance was simply the signal to the five-year-old boy and the six-and-a-half year-old girl that the game was afoot.  Upon hearing father say the phrase, both children promptly fled the bedroom with squeals of laughter.  Neanderdad glumly watched them go and sighed, powerless to stop them.  They were out of reach.  There was no goodnight. Continue reading

Parenting is Easy

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This Essay appears in the May edition of the Burlingame Mother’s Club Newsletter

Time is short for us now. Soon the BMC will eject my wife and I from their warm embrace.  We will be cast out, as all seasoned parents are eventually cast out. It’s not like we broke some rule. To the contrary. We followed the tenets of the BMC closely and raised our kids diligently. However, our youngest son will soon age-out of the BMC. He will cross the threshold and we will no longer qualify for membership. The BMC won’t want us around. We will know too much. Continue reading

Neanderdad Before and After (but not During)

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The children orbited around Neanderdad.  They made small circles, large circles, ovals, figure-eights and paraboloids.   They rode clear across the giant expanse of tarmac that covered the playground of the local middle school, then swung back toward him pedaling furiously, as if to charge him.  In every case, as they drew near, the would swerve at the last moment, missing him.  Then they would laugh and call out to him. Continue reading