Neurotic Dad

The journey to parenthood. And irrational fears.

Posts tagged parenthood

Apr 15

Sunday Plans

It’s a lovely day and I am waiting for a friend to pick me up for a bike ride. Looking forward to it.*

*Don’t tell anyone, but secretly I’d prefer to spend an hour with a scotch and a cigar.


Nov 22

Shamelessly Sentimental But True

Right now there is nothing more satisfying than when the little one smiles at me and says, “Dada.”


Nov 13

On Updike

Picked up one of his later collections at the Borders fire sale. I had almost forgotten about his marvelous sentences. He’s like the Ted Williams of prose. 

One thing that I hadn’t really noticed before: his observations about children. They’re all a little damaged, too needy or too whiny or too independent. 

And how could they be otherwise, when Updike’s great themes are adultery and divorce?

Another thing: his protagonists—generally aging, divorced, adulterous males—observe these children, are touched, and move on. In other words, the children elicit pathos, as does the particular sexual habits of someone else’s wife, as does, I don’t know, the change of seasons.

Updike’s writing is almost ridiculously sharp. But it seldom seems to get beneath the authorial self-regard. 


Oct 19

No I Will Not Contribute to Your Kickstarter Fund

Dear Friend,

Yes, you are very talented, and yes I am very fond of you. However, you will not see a dime out of me for your project. Here is why:

  1. You own a house.
  2. You have thousands of dollars—if not tens of thousands—of equipment.
  3. You have a teaching job.
  4. You have no dependents.

In other words, you have equity and income; and instead of, say, taking a second job and saving, you are instead soliciting funds from friends and fans. 

That’s you. Here is my situation:

  1. Debt
  2. Two jobs 
  3. A family
  4. The frustration—at times bordering on desperation—that comes from sneaking my own creative project in between the above obligations. 

There you have it! No money from me! Instead I’d rather send that $50 to Visa or buy my wife some sushi.

Again, I respect your work and you are delightful to spend time with.

Love (sincerely!)

Neurotic Dad


Aug 17

Anxiety Caused by Separation Anxiety

The boy seems to going through something. Lately all he wants is Mom. I’ll be playing quietly with him, having a grand old time, but when the wife walks in the room suddenly he’s whimpering and reaching for her.  

My wife thinks it’s separation anxiety, which it probably is. But the neurotic part of me (which is 98% of me) believe that he likes her better. After all, she’s got a nice, sweet voice and boobs that produce tasty milk. How can I compete with that?


Jul 27

Neurotic Dad Expresses Appropriate Anger

When the boy was at about sixteen weeks, we took him to the pediatrician for advice on sleep training. While we were there, we asked the doc about the boy’s head, which looked a little flat. The doctor said the boy was fine.

At four months our regular pediatrician said that his head did indeed look flat, and she suggested ways of keeping him off it.

At six and a half months the same doctor said that she was “concerned” about the flatness, to keep pressure off the head, and that we should bring him back in a month.

In between I was away for work and the wife got nervous. She got two referrals. 

One was for an osteopath who charged us more than $300 to try and move around the plates of the boy’s skull. Then she said we should come back every week indefinitely, even though she couldn’t promise anything. (Around the house, I refer to this person as “Dr. Quack.”)

The second was for a neurosurgeon who gave us a prescription for a helmet. He also said that the boy was fine, that the flatness would be less obstrusive with age, and that “there was no bad choice.”

So in the end, while I am appreciative of the advice of the neurosurgeon, and I believe that the flatness is no big deal—symmetrical and barely noticeable—I am also pissed off. 

We were never advised of something to do between “place toys on either side of him” and “put him in a helmet for three months for thousands of dollars.” There just wasn’t a sense of urgency, and now our options are limited.

So I called the doctor’s office and told the nurse much the same thing. I could sense her growing more uncomfortable as the conversation progressed. It was hard to know if that was because health care professionals feel above reproach, or because it was evident that they had in fact screwed up. Or maybe it was because of the recent lawsuit against a pediatrician in a similar set of circumstances.

We’re not going to sue and I am against the helmet. But I am really angry that it came to this. I am very curious to hear what the doctor will say of and when she gets back to me.


Jul 24

Neurotic Dad Neurotically Ponders the Near Future

On baby duty today while the wife works. We both have crazy deadlines so no summer slow-down for us.

Anyway the boy is really fun lately. A friend told me this would happen around the six-month mark: they get more reactive and begin to develop a personality. It helps that he’s sleeping better so we’re sleeping too.

And yet… maybe it’s the pessimistic Jew in me, but I keep wondering when it’s going to get tough again. Everything I’ve observed about parenting suggests that just when you think you’ve got it down, they will always, always throw you for a loop. So of course instead of enjoying this time, I keep thinking, Teething. I’ll bet that’s when the shit hits the fan again. Any day now.


Jul 9

Neurotic Travel

Getting ready for my trip and simultaneously growing more excited and more worried. Let’s break this down:

Excitement: Going to be working my balls off and even if I will not be partying per se I will be drinking more whiskey than is good for me, which, paradoxically, once in a while is good for me.

Worry: The usual irrational fears of someone fucking with my wife and/or child when I am not around to protect them.

The Neurotic Dad abroad: unable to immerse himself in something interesting and challenging without worrying.


Jul 8

Separation Anxiety

Two days until my trip. A mix of feelings about it … looking forward to immersing myself in work, spending time with a friend, but nervous about being away from my sweet little family. Of course everybody will be fine. But that “must-stay-near-family” feeling is powerful.

I think leaving is a little harder because of a couple of families I’ve been around lately. In the first, the husband is leaving his wife, ostensibly to pursue his work, and now their child is shuttled around like a hot potato. His soon-to-be-ex-wife is devastated. 

In the second, the husband took a two-month out-of-town gig leaving his wife with two very small, very needy children. After she puts the kids to bed, she goes to her car to cry.

I hesitate to judge, because I’ve done some pretty fucked-up things in my day. But I have a hard time respecting these guys. And maybe my own ambivalence is because by leaving for a week I’m doing the same thing in a smaller way?


Jul 4

Fatherhood Haiku #2: To My Wife

Baby got sick then
Daddy. Don’t worry, my wife:
We’ll have sex again.


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