Child's Play
Looking at the world through my children's eyes has both amplified and filtered my universe. I get clues to my childhood by watching and interacting in their world. In fact, learning to play again has been one of the highlights of parenthood. These stories are about their play which is sometimes influenced by me and my wife but, more often than not, inspires us adults.

February 21, 2011

Father Knows Best When He’s Got It Good

Jim Anderson surrounded by his adoring family. Umm, not quite me. I walked down the hall as I’d done thousands of times before. As always I’m on a mission. Most of them are trivial: take the trash to the…

September 12, 2010

Just Thinking Good Thoughts

My mother’s tombstone is so high above my head, it’s hard to connect with her grave. Every trip to Los Angeles is punctuated by a visit with my parents. They’re buried at Mt. Sinai Memorial Park, just a few…

April 24, 2010

On Talking to Strangers

Never say a commonplace thing. Jack Kerouac My name is Jeff Gates and I talk to strangers. More on that later. We don’t want our children to be fearful of public engagements. But we want them to be able…

September 13, 2009

Our Real Family Vacation

I went to Santa Fe and all I got was this wonderful portrait of my daughters. Click image for larger view. It’s the week after Labor Day. The girls are back in school and I’ve got deadlines at work….

December 23, 2007

Believing in Santa One More Year

You might remember we dodged a bullet a few weeks ago over the Tooth Fairy. But the big question remains: does our youngest still believe in Santa? Last week I got a voicemail from my wife: “I just thought…

December 23, 2006

Of Teeth and Claus

Notice: Seasonal and youthful spoilers below. If you are under 13, ask your parents to read this first. My daughter’s tooth- and toothbrush-shaped note to the Tooth Fairy. Is this the work of a true believer? Parents are constantly assessing…

September 10, 2005

Getting a Freeway Education, Hollywood Style

Family vacations are so much fun. At least that’s how I remembered them from my youth. The night before we left for “parts unknown” was full of hustle and bustle as my parents scurried about while my sister and I…

May 15, 2003

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

After one week of being the sole resident parent to a 5 and 6 year old I can faithfully state: THE GOOD: Childrearing is a science. THE BAD: It’s not an exact science. Yesterday morning I had our “get-out-of-the-house”…

February 22, 2001

Underground Magic

As we walked through the door she began her incantation. Raising her hands before her, eyes closed, she began: I wish, I wish with all my heart To fly with dragons in the land of heart I stared, transfixed,…