You might be wondering what Alternadad author Neal Pollack has been writing about lately. Oh, the same thing he's been writing about for years now—quotidian life with his five-year-old son, Elijah. (We've been on the campaign to make him stop.) Still? you might ask. Seriously? Yeah. But isn't Elijah going to hate him for this when he gets older? Yeah, probably! Latest essay: how he's trying to toughen up his son, who's a wuss like him.
A few months ago, I had a flashback. I was drunk and listless at a bar in Austin, Texas, 4 or 5 years ago, when I ran into a friend. He started giving me crap about something. My lizard brain stirred. I began to shriek, much like my son does when he's having a tantrum, and I flailed my hands crazily. I hit my ex-friend on the side of the face with a beer bottle, chipping one of his teeth. As the bouncer tossed me onto the street, I didn't feel tough. I felt like a drug-addled idiot.
I started thinking about what I'd tell my son in the future about that fight. Would he be proud of me? Probably not.
Actually, one drunken episode is fairly excusable. But Elijah ain't gonna be proud about the years of publicly-accessible essays chronicling his toddler foibles, including his crying jags and failure at karate.
Remember, privacy begins at home. The first step to stopping writing about your child is admitting you have nothing else to write about. Actually, Neal, you might try for a NYT Magazine story out of your struggle to stop child-blogging!