[This week DadWagon is proud of ‘basically goading’ NYC writer and father Alex Smith into guest-blogging for the week. Alex was recently profiled in AM New York for having over 2,600 CDs in his collection, so you can be assured he’s ‘basically fucking insane.’ Welcome aboard, Alex.]
Sure, it sounded like it would be fun, but here we are on Monday and I’m already stalling.
When my former colleague Nathan shot me a note two weeks ago basically goading me to contribute to DadWagon, I envisioned a week’s worth of pithy posts rife with meaningful insight and sidesplitting anecdotes. My qualifications were all in order: Like Nathan, I’m something of a cantankerous loudmouth and I somehow managed to dupe an unsuspecting, lovely lady into not only being saddled with my unenviable last name, but also into procreating with me. I’m now the father of two little folks, Charlotte (age 6) and Oliver (age 4), and I document the many travails with same on my otherwise trivia-fixated weblog, Flaming Pablum, in a little category called The Dad Zone.
I live in downtown Manhattan in New York City, basically right in the crotch of NYU, where the sight of a parent pushing a stroller is about as welcome as a parade float covered with bedbugs. Despite years of cruelly unsentimental gentrification, there are still portions of town that like to consider themselves insouciant hotbeds of urban bohemia. Having grown up in NYC myself, I bristle at the contingent of waifish, collegiate hipsters who barely conceal their “move to the country, already!” glares as my little kids hopscotch through their fauxhemian fantasies. I once foolhardily composed a post about what a bitch it was to push one’s stroller through the Union Square Greenmarket. Said post was picked up by Gawker and my inbox was suddenly bloated with hate mail, zealously taking me to task for the audacity of inflicting my children on my fellow Manhattanites. Listen, here’s the deal: People have kids, even cool New Yorkers. Last time I checked, Patti Smith, Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth and Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys had all sired a few offspring, and no one’s sneering at them.
Becoming a father changes a man in many ways, but not always in the manner you’d imagine. Before Charlotte was born, I had this rosy preconception that along with parenthood came this giant, figurative hypodermic needle loaded with weapons-grade maturity that would enable the injected to handily clear the innumerable hurdles one encounters as a new dad. Suffice to say, this hasn’t been the case. While no longer technically a newly minted dad, I’m still prone to making myriad boneheaded decisions and ill-considered declarations in the name of doing my parental duty. It’s a learning process for all parties concerned.
I look forward to sharing those embarrassing moments with you all as the week rolls on.