No, Thanks, Really, I Don’t Want Another Dog


I wrote a story for the September issue of the magazine about some very nice dogs. I started working on the story back in February, so for a long time, whenever anyone asked me what I was writing, I would tell them about these dogs. This provided an opportunity for people who knew me to say, “So! I guess you’re thinking about getting another dog!”

This was especially true of my two kids, who, when they were growing up, frequently accused me of loving our dog more than I loved them. There was some truth to this. Homer, the collie/shepherd mix who shared our lives for 12 years, never once kept me waiting, never couldn’t find his shoes, never talked back, never got arrested. It’s been five years now since we had to have him put to sleep, and I guess that’s considered a suitable length of time for mourning, because suddenly everybody is convinced I must want another dog.

“Don’t you miss when we used to take Homer for walks?” my daughter Marcy will ask, apparently forgetting that she frequently had to be hauled out of the house kicking and screaming when it was time for those walks. “A dog would make it easier for you to make new friends,” my son Jake will say. He’s become convinced I need to “make some new friends your own age,” as he puts it, like I’m a socially inept sixth-grader and he’s the parent. He recently guilted me into paying $220 for a special tailgating parking pass at his college, to fulfill some fantasy he has of me clinking highball glasses with the parents of his football teammates before the games. But he’s not going to guilt me into getting another dog.

I don’t want another dog. Read more »

Your Kids Can Shoot an Uzi Right Here in Pennsylvania


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Tragic news came out of Arizona this week that a 9-year-old child accidentally killed a shooting instructor with an Uzi at the Bullets and Burgers range in Mohave County during a shooting lesson. And this has a lot of people scratching their heads, wondering why a child would be given an Uzi to shoot. Well, you don’t have to go all the way to Arizona to find an Uzi for your kid to fire. You can do it right here in Pennsylvania. Read more »

My Daughter Wants to Throw Like Mo’Ne Davis


This article was published before the Taney Dragons advanced to the Little League World Series on Sunday.

“I don’t throw like a girl,” my 7-year-old daughter uttered in late June, her tone full of sass. The haymaker of insults, whether on the grass and dirt of a baseball diamond or the hard asphalt of a schoolyard, has always been to tell someone they “throw like a girl.”

“I want to throw like Mo’Ne” is what my daughter and a dozen or so other little girls were overheard saying a month later while waiting in the victory line for a chance to high-five ace pitcher Mo’Ne Davis of the Taney Dragons after they defeated Collier Township of Allegheny County in the championship game of the Pennsylvania State Tournament of Little League Baseball.

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What Does My Kid’s Apartment Say About Me?

Illustration by Alexander Purdy

Illustration by Alexander Purdy

I’m standing in an aisle at HomeGoods, holding a spoon rest. It’s a pretty thing, bright orange, shaped like a sunflower, and it only costs $3.99. I don’t happen to need a spoon rest, and anyway, my kitchen’s red, not orange. But my daughter Marcy’s kitchen has one orange wall. This would look perfect in it.

I’m pretty sure she doesn’t have a spoon rest. She doesn’t have a lot of stuff. She and her husband, Basil, are just a year out of school now, working their starter jobs, living in West Philly amidst hand-me-downs and thrift-shop buys and found-on-the-street reclamations, the way most people do at that age. They’re perfectly happy, but I know Marcy would like to have more — to have nice things. They will, someday. Meantime, I’m buying this spoon rest for her.
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We’re Not Criminalizing Parents. We’re Criminalizing Poverty.

Where are the adults?

Where are the adults?

On Sunday morning, I stopped into a Center City fast-food joint; I’ll not name it for reasons that may soon become clear. I took my breakfast sandwich to a table, not far from where a little girl, probably around 5 or 6, was playing with her dolls.

She was alone.

A group of middle-aged men sitting nearby noticed her as well. “Sweetie, are you here by yourself?” one of them asked. She gave them a wide-eyed blank look, but said nothing. He looked around, stymied for a second. Then: “Where’s your mommy? Is she working here?”

The little girl paused, then nodded slowly. “Okay,” the man said, ready to let the matter go and apparently pleased to not to have started his day with a report to child protective services.

It was a fraught, awkward moment — none of us wants to be the SEPTA passengers who let the “heroin nod” mother walk, but neither do most of us like to interfere in another person’s parenting. Finding the right balance can be tricky.

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“Cover It Up!”: This Snarky, Satirical Rant About Public Breastfeeding Is Perfect



The Huffington Post published a 1,387-word, snark-filled rant about public breastfeeding last night that, in 17 hours, has taken the Internet by storm, with over 23,000 shares and 95,000 likes on Facebook. It’s every bit ironic and satirical, and I think most—if not all—mothers would agree, it’s 100 percent perfect.

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Drexel Sexting Study: Majority of Kids Exchange Sexually Explicit Texts

drexel-sexting-studyDrexel University just released a new study that finds that the majority of minors engage in sexting, much to the horror of parents everywhere.

The study, “Youth Sexting: Prevalence Rates, Driving Motivations, and the Deterrent Effect of Legal Consequences,” was published online by the journal Sexuality Research and Social Policy. Researchers surveyed undergraduate students about their teenage sexting behaviors, and more than half reported sending or receiving sexually explicit messages via text.

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Mila Kunis Is 100 Percent Right About Dudes Saying, ‘We’re Pregnant’

I’ve never been pregnant, and yet it jars me when I hear a guy announce nonchalantly, “We’re pregnant,” referring to himself and his with-child significant other. So I can’t even imagine how annoyed I would be to hear such a thing if I were actually pregnant, like actress Mila Kunis. For the record, I 100 percent agree with everything she said on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

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You Know What Really Causes Autism?: A Look at the Deluge of Recent Headlines



There’s been a recent flood of studies on the causes of autism, each one trumpeted in headlines that promise, “Now we can do something about this!” Is autism caused by prenatal stress? Too much testosterone in utero? Moms who take antidepressants? Who get infections during pregnancy? Who are overweight?  Dad’s job? Moms who are olderGrandfathers who are older? Moms who were sexually abused when they were kids?

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes and yes.

And no.

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