He’s the author of the book, Rules for My Unborn Son, which is a whimsical collection of pearls of wisdom from his own experience as an expectant father who wanted to get it right as a parent, as well as ones that he’s collected from submissions to his blog. We love his take on parenting, which is all about raising kids who will become happy, well-rounded adults. Rules like #497 “You’re never too old to wave at firetrucks”, #487 “None of it counts unless you graduate”, and #245 “Monogram in moderation. Otherwise, you may appear paranoid,” are at once hilarious and spot-on. He’s also old-school when it comes to personal style, which we find quite refreshing at a time when wearing Crocs and sweats to brunch seems to be the weekend costume de rigueur among a certain dad set.
Do you ever contradict some of the rules from the book, now that you have a child?! One of the reasons I wrote the book before I had a kid is because I had a feeling that all my good intentions would fly out the window once the mayhem of parenthood began. So now the book serves as a pretty good manual, and I try to stick to it. My son’s still learning so he gets a pass. I don’t expect him to wear a tie and read the newspaper everyday. Yet.
Do you ever take heat from the overly earnest, and if so, can we get a couple of examples? Of course. There are still plenty if earnest teenagers and Woodstockers that are still convinced that rules are for squares. And I have a lot of critics in California. The dudes there really like their flip flops and the right to jog shirtless.
In your family, what’s the division of labor (cooking, bedtime routine, that sort of thing)? A friend gave me some very good advice when I got married: Never keep score. My wife and I share all the duties pretty evenly, and I’m ALMOST certain she would say the same thing!
Is there a go-to dinner that appears weekly, and if so, who cooks it and what is it? Neither my wife nor I are especially good cooks which is great because if I don’t have time to whip up a locally sourced, organic vegan three course meal, our kids seem pretty happy eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Friday night it’s take out, and Saturday morning dad takes the kids to get bagels.
What’s a typical weekend like? Long. We live in Washington so we spend a lot of time at the Smithsonian museums. But the highlight for me is always the flea market early Sunday morning. My son has a good eye for mid-century modern furniture…and trucks.
Any family rituals you carry on, or that you have created? When I was a kid, Santa dropped the stockings off on the ends of our beds, but we had to wait until after a big family breakfast before we could enter the living room. That kills my wife who was a tear-it-all-open-at-6am family, but we’re trying it my way. There’s more theater to it.
Tell us about how you celebrate birthdays in your house: We’ve only had a couple, but the most important part is a homemade cake.
What’s the soundtrack in your house? We have a record player in the dining room so the kids are listening to a lot of their dad’s old records, currently plenty of Ray Charles and Louis Armstrong. And Woody Guthrie gets a lot of play in our house.
Top 3 favorite books—for your kids, top 3 for yourself? Last book you read? This is New York is a favorite for the kids, as well as any Richard Scarry classic. At any given time I feel like I’m knee deep in a Teddy Roosevelt biography. But right now I’m reading Arabian Sands in preparation for a move overseas.
How do you feel about screen time for your kid? TV? A necessary distraction when dad needs a break. But 20 minutes worth is about all anyone has the patience for and then it’s back to playing trucks. But I’d be lying if I said I don’t know all the words to the Backyardigans theme.
What do you feel you could be better at? Noticing my wife’s new haircut. And golf.
What websites inspire you and for which parts of your life? I admit that I read Gawker obsessively, mostly because I miss New York City and aspiring writers tend to need a steady diet of schadenfreude which Gawker serves up regularly. But I atone for that with regular visits to This Isnt Happiness for visual inspiration, An Affordable Wardrobe, Valet, and Ivy Style for my fashion fix, and A Cup of Jo for gift ideas for the wife.
Is there a Part 2 book coming out? Perhaps! But I’d be just as happy to move on to a new project. I’m open to suggestion.