Nov 30, 2011

Papa Say...


Nov 28, 2011

The Tooth Fairy Comes to Town

You're right, Rock.  We can't.
Last night, MONSTA lost a tooth.  Bottom row.  Her fourth total.  It had been hanging on by a thread, ala James Franco's arm in that hiking movie, for a couple months, and while I was too squeamish to pull it, I'm happy to see it go.  It was becoming a real problem.  "Don't touch the tooth," she would scream at me every time I pulled out the tooth brush.  Plus, the permanent tooth (aka Union Tooth) was coming in behind it.  When your time is up, your time is up.  We all saw it coming, and now the tooth sees it too.

Before MONSTA went to bed, we put the little rice grain into a baggie for the Tooth Fairy.  I guess she doesn't bring her own containers, because we always put it in a baggie.  Once asleep, I waited until she was good and groggy before slipping dos Jorge Washingtons under her pillow with a note: "Thanks for the tooth. - The Tooth Fairy."  Of course, we never found the actual tooth.  It disappeared in the night, so if MONSTA gets to it before me, Tooth Fairy is going to have some 'splaining to do.

Now you may think two dollars isn't much.  Or, you may think it's too much.  Either way...I DON'T CARE!  I'm including the amount here for informational purposes only, and not so you can say, "Two bucks?  Wow!  In my day, the tooth fairy only carried quarters.  I guess the recession is over!"  I don't know when it became okay to comment so freely and obnoxiously on how much parents put under a kid's pillow, but that cat is way out of the bag.  It's time we put it back in, tie it up, and toss it the East River.  Two dollars is what we give her, and if you think this sort of frivolous spending will leave her dreaming of Ponzi schemes and golden parachutes, please keep it to yourself.

Whether a quarter or two dollars, all that mattered was how happy MONSTA was when she woke up. She had been upset that with the holiday over, she'd have to go back to school.  But none of that was on her face today.  Just a big, toothless smile and the following conversation:

MONSTA:  She came dad, and she left me two dollars.  And I saw her.

ME: You did?  What did she look like?

MONSTA:  She's brown, like mommy.  And small.  And she can fly.  She flew behind my bookcase.  I wonder if she has a house back there?  

Wow.  The Tooth Fairy owns her own  house?  In New York City?  I guess she's doing better than any of us thought.

Nov 19, 2011

Parenthood 2.0: Baby Is Back, And This Time, He Means Business

In most cases, the more you do something, the easier that 'something' gets.  That's how it's supposed to work.  When I first got my license, it was like watching Andy Dick drive Nascar. But after some quality road time, and a couple "learning experiences" - 3 fender benders and getting chewed out by a racist Atlanta sheriff - I was a pro.  If my insurance rate says otherwise, it's because WIFE is not a pro.

Parenting is, however, nothing like driving.  It does not get easier with experience.  You think it does, but it doesn't.  Case in point: for five years, I have been a dad.  From diapers and formula chunks on my shirt to kindergarten and "No you can't have a Bratz doll!", I have been dere and derd dat.  So I should be really good, right?  Right???  WRONG!  We just had MONSTA 2.O, and three days into it, I don't know what the hell I'm doing!  The phrase "circus without a tent" comes to mind.  It's chaos, and that's with GRANDMA in town to help.  She leaves on Monday, and when she does...god help us all.

What happened the first time around?  It feels like I didn't learn anything.  An entire semester of classes has passed, and the final exam still looks like an alien wrote it. It's sophomore-year Algebra all over again.   The past five years should have left me with an encyclopedia of parenting know-how and expertise, but it hasn't.  Instead, it feels like our little girl just appeared one day.  Too sassy and fabulous for heaven, she dropped in our living room, able to brush her own teeth and use a fork.  Logically, I know I helped her reach this age alive, but I'm not sure how.  I look back, and there's only a blur.  A giant screen of static, like in Poltergeist.

Deep breath.  Now downward dog.  Another deep breath.  MONSTA 2.0 is here, and there's no turning back.  Plus, he's super-delicious, so telling the stork "wrong address" is out.  I have to do this, and history tells me that if I can keep one kid from jumping in the oven/falling off the fire escape/telling NY1 horrible lies about her teacher...I can do it again.  Of course, history also said George Washington challenged a beaver named John Henry to a cherry-tree chewing contest only to be disqualified for using wooden teeth, so he's hardly a reliable source.  

Nov 13, 2011

Papa Say: E.T. and that Glowing Finger

Why does E.T. have a glowing finger? and whats wrong with his voice?  - Anthony, New York  

First, let me say that the Papa Say column is really to field questions about parenting, and how to raise a smart, well-adjusted child like mine as effortlessly as I seem to have done it.  But since Anthony was the only one who responded, I'll field his question today.

The glowing finger, Anthony, is what scientists call "Stanky Finger."  One gets Stanky Finger from putting one's finger where it does not belong.  The nose.  Ant hills.  Other aliens. Symptoms include a bright light emanating from the tip, and also a mucusy cough.  God knows where ET picked up his Stanky Finger, but that he's got a really serious case of it is clear.  That's why for me, the most frightening scene in the film is when he tries to touch the boy without any protection; the gloves worn by lunch ladies, for instance.  ET may call this "phoning home," but I call it irresponsible.  

Now with his voice, I don't know.  Probably cigarettes.  Really, really strong cigarettes, like the ones Kathleen Turner uses.  Really makes you wonder why the mother was so intent on saving what was clearly a really bad influence on her kids.  But she had her own issues, didn't she?  

Got a question that you'd like Papa Matt to answer?  Email me at

Nov 7, 2011

Papa's Advice Stand is Now Open!

Kid's got you running for the fire escape?  The love life looking more like a script from Walking Dead?  Is your spouse a zombie?  (If so, please call 911, then put a sharp object through the frontal lobe.  This is the only true death)

If any of this sounds familiar, then we need to chat.  It's Papa Matt, and he's ready to answer your questions.  So send in what's bothering you, and I'll answer here as a benefit to all.  And of course, confidentiality is the name of my game.

Email all questions to  

Nov 6, 2011

Lil' Thoughts: Homework

Say you're too tired again, and I'll put you on a slide.  Have you seen Dexter?

Nov 2, 2011

Halloween: It Ain't Just For Kids

Maybe the Catholics are smarter than I thought. A holiday after Halloween?  Not a bad idea, right?  The first pope must have had a couple kids for him to come up with that one.  I certainly wish public school kids got off for All Saints Day.  Who knew taking 2 1/2 hours to walk around three blocks with a group of kindergartners could be so exhausting?

MONSTA went out on Monday.  She was an Angel, which is pushing it if you ask me.  For her first Halloween, she was a devil.  Five years later, an angel.  I guess that Catholic-school education wasn't a total wash.  We went to Sunnyside Gardens in Queens, which is like a tiny English village plunked down a few miles from Times Square.  It's a great place for T&T. Lots of good candy (read: not Tootsie Rolls or those hard strawberry things), fun decorations, and happy candy givers.  That seems to be key. No matter how top of the line the candy is, no one wants to take it from a jerk.  

But the older she gets, the more cautious I become.  I guess it's one more change that comes with age. When I was young, Halloween meant complete freedom.  Dress how you want.  Stay out a little late.  Get an apple that may have a razor blade?  Caution to the wind, baby - we're rolling the dice!  But from the other side - the guardian side - it's fun, but there are worries. How many Whoopers are too many Whoopers?  Where the hell am I going to find her a bathroom in this place?  Should we be taking candy from a grown man wearing a shirt and tie with Tevas? For this last type, my friend and I played a game.  She'd have her Blackberry out, and when a Senor Creeperton answered the door, I'd call out the address and say "Run it!" We never did, but I can guarantee a couple hits.  

Being the adult does, however, have one benefit: you are now what Marx would call "management."  While I did have to walk around with MONSTA and supervise, I'd hardly call that work.  She had the real job.  And yet now, because of her toil and sweat and demanding of strangers, I'm sitting on a stockpile sweet, delicious candy.  Sour Patch Kids.  Starburst.  Candy Corn/Pumpkins.  All the hits!  And because she's only five, I can take as much of it as I want. And if she doesn't like it, well, there's always the gulag, or as we call it, the time out chair.  Ah yes, it is good to be on top.