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

Fatherhood

In LEVEL. More on Medium.

Stay calm and ask your kid these three questions

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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 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?


The energy can’t be duplicated

“New Jack City.” Photo: Warner Bros.

New Jack City makes me feel nostalgic.


Every father hopes to see his son surpass him. But did it have to happen so soon?

Photo: Nick David/Getty Images

My 12-year-old son keeps challenging me to hand-to-hand combat. First, we move the coffee table and place a few pillows so that no one loses an eye or needs stitches; then we wrestle in the living room.


Don’t just take them to Grandma’s during the holidays

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When I got divorced, my biggest fear was trying to coordinate Thanksgiving and Christmas with my two young sons, now nine and six years old.


Who teaches us to grow into men who love themselves, and other men?

The author on a motorcycle.
The author on a motorcycle.
Photos: courtesy of the author

“Your honor, this is a case of young love gone horribly wrong.”


Just Rankin’ Sh!t

The only gift guide that matters

Photo: Maskot/Getty Images

6. Get the hell out the house for once

He already felt a way about you living with your folks after college. But now you’re back at 25 — in the midst of a pandemic — to shelter in your bedroom with the faded Kobe posters? He. Just. Needs. Space.

5. The big piece of chicken

Chris Rock nailed it: “My mama would kill us if one of us ate the big piece of chicken by accident. ‘What the… you ate the big piece of chicken?! Oh, lord no! Now I gotta sew up some chicken! Give me two wings and a pork chop, daddy won’t know the difference!’” (Oh, he’s vegan? …


Growing up, old-school soul connected me to who I thought my father was; years later, it connected me to the man himself

Photo courtesy of the author

I used to think my father looked like Marvin Gaye. I’m talking about the Marvin of the ’70s, the What’s Going On/Trouble Man Marvin, the “I come up hard, baby, but now I’m cool / I didn’t make it, sugar, playin’ by the rules” Marvin. The denim-on-denim Marvin, with the two-month-old beard, the heavy-lidded eyes, and the devil-may-care grin. I used to study Marvin’s album covers while listening to his records in my bedroom, and I’d flip out over how much he and my old man looked alike. I was probably a little generous in my estimation. …


Chubby baby thighs: 1. Me: 0

Photo: DorianGray/Getty Images

Before I get into one of my funniest fatherhood moments, I have to set the unfunny scene.


I always laughed at the word ‘toxic,’ but this Facebook group was a real wake-up call

Photo: skynesher

Three months into quarantine — and deep into what felt like our 500th Zoom or Blink or Google Video lesson — my husband and I finally began to give up. The endless online classes were not only taking a toll on our family’s sanity, they no longer seemed to be working. Our toddler sons couldn’t hold still, office matters constantly distracted us adults, and the increasingly warm weather beckoned our brood out of the house and into the great outdoors. Or at least what passes for the outdoors in Manhattan.

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