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We are raising a boy and a puppy. And the similarities are astounding. And expensive.

Alexander and Shadow Robinson. Photo: Christopher Robinson.

I am not a dog person. Or a cat person. If there are lizard persons, I am not that either.

I am not an animal person of any kind.

And I have always rolled my eyes at the little names people give their pets that suggest that they are kind of like children — “fur babies,” for example.

So when we brought our puppy home a few weeks ago, I had no reason to believe that I would ever use any such terms.

But, oh my God, if someone doesn’t get over here and help me take care of my…


The only thing more life-altering than discovering and raising my child was losing him

Photo by Szilvia Basso on Unsplash

I’m not particularly religious, but I believe in generational curses. I’m convinced they’re the cause of issues that course through the paternal lineage of my family tree — everything from addiction to poverty to absent or abusive parenting. I wasn’t cognizant of this growing up; I just knew I had a screwed-up childhood. But things came into focus when I had a child of my own.

My son (I’ll refer to him as “C”) came into my life unexpectedly as many children do. But this was more than just an unplanned pregnancy; I wasn’t even aware of C’s existence until…


Just save me the big piece of chicken, tbh

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Father’s Day is almost here, and you know what that means: Prepare to unwrap another pair of socks!

Sure, you might get lucky and get something good — some cigars, that broadsword you’ve wanted since you were a kid — but I wouldn’t count on it. These are, after all, gifts usually given to you by your children filtered through your significant other.

But you love them, so you’ll smile and say thank you for the house slippers or the drink coaster set that the many rings on your coffee table prove you never use. …


Just Rankin’ Sh!t

Just because you’re vaccinated doesn’t mean you’re trying to do everydamnthing!

Photo Illustration: Save As/Medium; Source: Getty Images

5. You’re still waiting for that second vaccination to kick in

As if 14 months of daily video meetings wasn’t enough, now your co-workers wanna go to a bar together? Cop the Pfizer plea. Perfect for last-minute invites, but unfortunately this won’t work for anything that’s more than two to three weeks out. (Also, avoid this one if you’ve posted evidence on the ’Gram — you never know who’s gonna fuck around and go all Easy Rawlins on your excuse.)

Dinner with other couples can be fun. It can also be extremely… not. Next time an acquaintance or couple you don’t know that well tries to rope y’all into two hours…


Just Rankin’ Sh!t

Don’t make things awkward, son

Photo Illustration: Save As/Medium; Source: Getty Images

5. “Ain’t Your Mama,” Jennifer Lopez

Just what your Mother’s Day soundtrack needs: an audio skewering of man-babies who refuse to grow the hell up, instead, playing Xbox all damn day and expecting a significant other to handle simple adult responsibilities like cooking and cleaning. We’re not gonna tell you what to do — we ain’t your mama, either — but we doubt this is the vibe you’re going for.

You see, this is exactly why you can’t rely on a keyword search to power your streaming choices. You’ll end up looking as bright as Prancer’s nose, playing a Christmas carol dead in the middle of…


Stay calm and ask your kid these three questions

Photo: Pexels.com

My son is screaming at the top of his lungs. It’s as if I’ve ripped away all that matters to him in the world.

The reason? “Hickory Dickory Dock” is glitching on Spotify. Who knows? Maybe that is all that matters to him.

We’re making our way home after what has thus far been a great day. No major tantrums have happened up until now, and the kid turned out to be a natural ice skater. He’s barely halfway to three, and I can’t stop bragging about the little booger.

But this ain’t one of those moments. How do you…


The pros and cons of raising a preteen

Photo by Kaysha on Unsplash

I was trolling TikTok for laughs one day when I stumbled upon a video of a guy doing a “review” of his newborn baby boy. This dude was visibly delighted with his two-month-old offspring — he said the boy only cost him a few “grown-up transactions” — and encouraged others to get one, too.

Now, I got a good chuckle from the breakdown, which played like an unboxing video. That’s a shiny new baby, fresh out of the box. What’s not to like?

Of course, he’s cute. A baby alligator is cute. And like a baby alligator, a baby…


Some will say America is better than this — it’s not

Photo of an adult’s hand holding a baby’s hand.
Photo of an adult’s hand holding a baby’s hand.
Photo by Aditya Romansa on Unsplash

For the longest time, whenever my mother dreamed of a baby, she’d call me to talk about my future children. She’d describe in vivid detail the child’s mix of features, curly hair, and fat cheeks. If she saw a blonde baby, she’d ask if I was dating una rubia, or someone possessing whatever other characteristics she knew didn’t exist in me. The answer was always a resounding no. No, I wasn’t dating una rubia. No, I wasn’t even thinking about kids.

My mother still dreams of grandchildren, but their features have changed. Dirty blonde hair has become the darkest shade…


It was a year of loss, but that’s not the only thing he’ll learn

Photo: Unsplash

In March 2020, my wife and I went on our last date outside the house. Here’s the story I want to tell my son about that night and all that happened during his first year of life.

Your mother and I hit up Samantha’s Tap Room in Little Rock’s River Market District and feasted on a quail appetizer, steak, and pasta. We’d been watching the news and realized this could be our last time enjoying dining out because of the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s the dating activity we enjoyed most.

I sipped wine and tried to savor this last night together…


Dear Level

In the words of Ginuwine: ‘Ain’t none of your friends’ business’

Photo Illustration of phone with angry emoji and heart texts. Boxing gloves in the background.
Photo Illustration of phone with angry emoji and heart texts. Boxing gloves in the background.
Photo illustration: Save As/Medium; source: Getty Images

Last year, my partner and I hit a rough patch. It’s a time I refer to as The Terrible, God Awful, Very Bad Fourth Year. Miraculously, we survived it, both different and better for the wear we endured. What did not fare well after the roller-coaster dip, though, was our friends’ and families’ feelings about our relationship.

People we allowed to be involved in our relationship over the years — especially during that tumultuous time — developed cross feelings after hearing our complaints about each other. Then, as he and I painstakingly worked through our issues with the help of…

LEVEL

Higher Learning. A publication from Medium for the interested man.

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