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You Were a Kid Once

My parents required clean rooms and made beds of me and of my siblings, without adult help. With my own kids, I cared enough about order to want the rooms eventually cleaned up, but not so much that I needed it done regularly or on their own. I didn’t have complete confidence in my kids’ ability to do it well themselves, partly because we hadn’t trained them early, a decision I suppose my husband and I made by default: Neither of us is great about putting clothes and books and shoes away ourselves! And why was I the one helping and not my husband? I wasn’t the only parent, after all. Like many women, I may have thought it was my bailiwick, but to be honest it wasn’t something my husband seemed to care about a whit: It was my value and my assertion of authority. My decision to help them clean their rooms reflected a value perhaps influenced by the culture of my generational cohort: By making it a project we did together, not only was I able to lend some organizing advice and modeling, we also got to spend time together.

As your …

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RELATIONSHIP STATUS: Single
RESIDENCE: Los Angeles
CHILDREN: Two boys ages 19 and 16

I’m a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, and co-host of a podcast that interviews legendary songwriters. In addition to running my record company, which is set up to allow me to release and distribute my recordings on CD and vinyl, I lead masterclasses and retreats in artist empowerment and songwriting.

Visit https://www.louisegoffin.com/the-great-song-adventure-podcast

What was your road to parenthood experience? I always knew I wanted to have children, but I was so focused on my career that I had no plan in place for when and where I’d enter parenthood in my life. I thought it would just somehow happen.

I was dating a younger man who wanted to be a young dad, and for him there was more urgency than for me. My OBGYN reminded me at a routine check-up that I had a biological window that I couldn’t keep ignoring, and I’m eternally grateful that both these people helped me pay attention and not miss the opportunity to be a mom.

What has single motherhood been like? I lived with the father of my children until my eldest turned eight and my youngest was five. I was fortunate …

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When I first heard they were making a musical based on the “Dog Man” graphic novels by Dav Pilkey, (of “Captain Underpants” fame), I wasn’t exactly sure what to think. I knew the “Dog Man” books were extremely popular–the demand is high in my son’s elementary school library. (To lend some perspective on the popularity, Pilkey’s “Dog Man: Brawl of the Wild” had an initial print-run of 5 million copies.) So, while I knew a musical could potentially tap into that popularity, would a musical format of this material be successful?

Dog Man: The Musical, photo credit by Jeremy Daniel

Curiosity won out, so on Thursday, July 4th, my family and I entered the Lucille Lortel Theatre for an early afternoon showing of “Dog Man: The Musical” wondering what we would find. The overarching concept (of both books and musical): two best friends, George and Harold, create comic books together—Harold draws the illustrations, while George writes the stories down. They began their successful run as comic strip creators after initially being sent to the hall for detention (an autobiographical fact about author Pilkey himself). Later, the boys are often found creating comic strip stories in their treehouse. The …

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Chapter 1

My Name is Karen and I am Infertile

Hello Ladies!  (Oh and hello to the few “supportive” men who were bullied into reading this book).  I am infertile and no one likes to talk about it.  If you are infertile, you are not alone.  Let me start at the beginning, I was born on…HA!  Just kidding, that book would suck.  No, let’s start at the other beginning.  Soon after we were engaged, my husband and I moved in together in the fall of 2009.  My husband, John, proposed after we jumped out of a plane together.  Yeah, we are those cool people.  We were married in August of 2010.  I had no plans of starting a family anytime soon.  I told people, including myself, that I wanted to wait until I was thirty-five to start “trying.”  Well, I am turning thirty-four in a week and I have a dog, two kids and a house in the suburbs, so that “plan” sure as heck went to hell in a handbasket and fast.

We went to pick up our dog in June of 2010.  That was when the motherhood juices really started flowing.  We were towards the end …

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Chapter 11

21st Century Parenting in Review

“There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other, wings.” —Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 

Remember school, tests, midterms, finals? If you were like many of us, you looked forward to the review prior to the test so that you could cram to improve your grade. Unfortunately, there is no way to cram for the parent test. It’s ongoing and all around you, lasting for eighteen years and beyond. Your final grade is what your child demonstrates as an adult and lives with him or her the rest of his or her life. So let’s go back and review:

As parents, you need to recognize today that your kids bring more home and to the classroom, playground, and their social community than books, pencils, and iPads. Their emotional backpacks are often affected by family dysfunction, economic impact, physical challenges, learning disabilities, academic challenges, mental health issues, and various influences both in and outside the family, positive and negative, that often affect their ability to perform, feel good about themselves, develop relationships, and feel accomplished.

Today’s performance in and outside of school requires more …

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The two musketeers and I headed off last week to experience the much lauded interactive theater show ‘Pip’s Island’, currently showing at Times Square. Previously a sold out ‘pop up’ show in Chelsea in 2016, this is the show’s second well-deserved run, and considering the incredible artistry and unique storytelling, and how fresh the experience was, I trust it won’t be the last.

This will become a new way of doing kids theater. Think escape room for adults or some such. Experience and embodiment being the key words. There is nothing passive about this theater. The audience becomes the show, in a multi-sensorial, participatory way, like diving into an alternative universe. Better than any video game or movie theater escapism.  Plus the kids come out with a real sense of collective and individual accomplishment.

Without giving too much away, because surprise and suspense work so beautifully in the experience, the premise of the story is that a call for help has been received from Pip’s island, a magical far away land. An evil character named Joules Volter has started to steal the island’s unique energy. The children will need to journey to Pip’s island to restore it’s power and capture …

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I consider myself a Polar Bear Mom, through and through! After winning full custody of my five children, whom I lovingly call my ‘tribe’, my life and heart has been dedicated to these magnificent beings who came through me, and who are a part of me, in every way.

To put it lightly, it has been tremendously overwhelming raising five children by myself, not only as a single mom, but also without family here in Los Angeles! That’s right. No grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc., to help me out along the way. As you can only imagine, life became an accelerated blur of who needs what when, and a list of endless To Do items, all while making sure there was enough money for rent and other essentials!

I look back now, however, and cherish our uncommon and unpredictable life together. It has brought us closer, as a family unit.

Now my tribe is mostly grown up, well, no more little ones anyways. My oldest just finished her Sophomore year in college, and the next one is on her way to UCLA, as she graduates high school next week!

I will still have three left in the nest. My …

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It’s not a task I enjoy, but I started receiving warning messages stating my laptop storage is almost at capacity.  So….I’ve begun the painstaking process of email purging.

I never would have thought that hitting the Delete key would inspire a piece….but I find myself at the keyboard feeling a wave of emotion I didn’t see coming.

As I sorted through the thousands in my Mailbox that had clearly outstayed their welcome, I turned up emails from various teachers my son has had over the years, offering comment on his academic classroom performance and in some instances, praising his behavior.

I turned up emails announcing school play rehearsals, plant sales, international culture fairs, etc…..all activities I enjoyed participating in.

I turned up emails from tutors we had hired over the years and potential babysitters.

I turned up email invitations to birthday parties and playdate proposals.

I turned up emails alerting us to check his report cards and progress reports.

I turned up emails from other moms when I was a new mom seeking to connect with peers also doing it later in life.

I turned up drafts of family holidays cards we created every new year and announcements of his …

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Four years ago today, I held my beautiful little boy for the first time.  The nurse escorted me to the operating room at noon for a scheduled c-section, and by 12:45 I had become a mother. I felt the warm skin and tender breath of my son, as his grandma held him to my chest.  Amazed at how quickly and efficiently the delivery took place, I reflected that in less time than I have spent going to the post office and waiting in line to mail a package, I had a baby.   I was not prepared for the next four years to pass just as quickly.  The happiest and most fulfilling days of my life were those four months of maternity leave when my days and nights revolved totally around my newborn love.  Even through the sleep-deprived and chaotic early weeks, I felt an inner peace and contentment.  How quickly those months and now the years have passed.  I am sitting in my “nursing chair”, as I write.  The glider’s armrests show wear from my elbows, first clumsily and then competently placed as nursing became more established. The chair now most commonly serves as a resting place for my clothes …

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THE SECOND SATURN RETURN

The New Elder (Age 58)

Wisdom is one of the few things in life that does not diminish with age. -Ram Dass

At fifty-eight, there’s another shift as we enter the phase of the elder. Once again, taskmaster Saturn is our guide when we come to our Second Saturn Return. And you thought you were finished with Saturn. Sorry, it returns every twenty-nine years.

Before you mutter Dorothy Parker’s famous “What fresh hell is this?” let me explain. Yes, it’s the same old “tough love” Saturn we met at twenty-nine, so it involves discipline, responsibility, commitment, reality, and new challenges. With our first Saturn cycle as a reference point, we’ve outgrown ourselves again; we need a new purpose, a great work – one that will occupy the rest of our lives. But at this age, our goals are different, and so are we. During our first Saturn cycle at age twenty-nine, we’re invited to move from youth to adulthood; at age fifty-eight, during our second Saturn cycle, we move from adulthood to becoming an elder. During our first cycle, it’s normal to be self-centered; we’re establishing an identity and carving out a place for ourselves in …

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