Children and family
Like almost every writer I know, I write about my family every chance I get. My biggest problem is that my home life isn’t very interesting to those who don’t live here. Even those who do seem uninterested much of the time.
I like to think that some of my best and most personal work appeared in print in the pre-Internet days, and now gathers mold in the archives. But I’m sure some of my worst work is in those same boxes and file cabinets, and I dig that stuff out at my own peril.
Here are some of my Internet-era magazine articles about family life:
“Lost Boys” (Men’s Health, September 2004) looked at the sudden rise in autism, including my son’s diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome. It’s always been one of my favorite articles, mostly because it’s so personal, but also because I was appropriately skeptical about the idea that children’s vaccines cause autism. I revisited that topic in “Vaccines Are Not Controversial. They’re Safe. They Work. That’s It” (menshealth.com, February 5, 2015). I’m happy to have gotten it right from the beginning.
There’s nothing explicitly personal in “6 Easy Ways to Screw Up Your Kids” (Men’s Health, June 2014), but I learned a lot while writing it. The experts I quote are some of the most passionate I’ve ever interviewed.
“Full-Spectrum Parenting” (Journal of Genetic Counseling, December 2012) is an essay I wrote for an academic journal on the experience of raising children on the autistic spectrum.
“Daddy’s Little Helper” (Men’s Health, April 2001) detailed my discovery that I have ADHD.
“Third Time’s a Charmer” (Fit Pregnancy, June-July 2005) is a Valentine to our third child, Annie, the only person in our household without a diagnosis.
“Not-So-Great Expectations” (Fit Pregnancy, December-January 2007) riffs on my lifelong sports anxiety, and how surprised I was to discover that our middle child, Meredith, was pretty good at them without having any real passion for them.
Some of my favorite posts about family life:
“How a Man Ages” isn’t about me personally, or really anyone I know. My goal was to describe the indignities, disappointments, and occasional triumphs of the American male, from birth to (near) death.
“Lifting While Old” isn’t about my family, but has a fun picture of me with hair.
“Sports, Spelling, and Genes” begins and ends with a story about Meredith at her middle school spelling bee.
“In Praise of Mediocre Parenting” defends our decision not to tiger-mother our kids.
“Coach Your Way to Fitness” is a flimsy excuse to talk about coaching Meredith’s soccer team. “Coachzilla!” covers some of the same territory. This post has yet another look at youth soccer, this time from my perspective as a dad watching from the sideline.
“Things Break,” about an unexpected trip to the emergency room, is among my personal favorites.
“Nuts, Cracked” reveals that the solution to any problem is to watch your daughter dance in The Nutcracker.
Finally, there’s this one, about turning 50 and renewing my vow to not be anything like my father.