Monday, August 30, 2010

A Great Day!

Every night, I tuck my son into bed. We review the events of the day, and discuss what's on the calendar for tomorrow. Tonight, after talking about our activities, he looks at me with the most sincere little face, and says "It was a great day!"

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I snore. Over the past few years, my attempts to combat this flaw included quitting smoking, quitting drinking, and losing 40 pounds. OK, so I didn’t do these things specifically to stop snoring, but I figure they should help. I feel for the many spouses, partners and sleeping buddies out there who must deal with this affliction on a nightly basis.

My wife has her own bedtime issues that annoy me to pieces. Specifically, she likes to fall asleep with the television on, and I am a silence person. In an effort for peace, I wear a night eye mask and earplugs, which usually does the trick. The earplugs hurt my ears after a while, and my son usually comes into my room in the morning and puts them in my water glass, but it is a compromise.

I am out of the house three to four nights a week, so I get to bed around 3am. On the other nights, I do my best to get to bed early to catch up on sleep. Two nights ago was one of these nights. I went to bed at 10pm. For some reason, I couldn’t sleep well. Every time I drifted off just a little bit, I was startled awake. I couldn’t figure out for the life of me what was going on. I was exhausted, but without fail, I nodded off, and then popped back awake time and again.

I ripped off my eye mask and pulled out my earplugs. The clock read “Midnight.”

Tommy: “Can we please turn the TV off?!?”

Nicole: “No”

Tommy: “But I can’t sleep and it’s Midnight!”

Nicole: “I can’t sleep either”

Tommy: “Maybe it’s because the TV is on”

Nicole: “No, it is because you are snoring, and I have to kick you every ten minutes to shut you up”

This is the exact moment that Nicole almost got thrown out the window for the first time in her life.

Since I wake up with the baby 95% of the mornings, regardless of the day of the week, or work schedule, we have agreed that on nights when I snore, Nicole will wake me up only once, and I will sleep in the living room until Nicole falls asleep, and then I will return to bed. This way, I get to sleep a full night at least 3 nights a week, and Nicole never has to experience crashing through a glass window.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Potty Training, Part 2

Jackson has a rash. The “Kill Two Birds” solution decided by Nicole and reluctantly agreed to by yours truly is to keep him naked, all day. The potty is in the living room, and Mr. Bare-Ass is thrilled to be running around in the buff. I, on the other hand, am paranoid as hell that I am going to be cleaning up baby poo off the floor before the end of the morning.

I know that potty training is important, but for selfish reasons, I wish he would just stay in diapers. I don’t mind changing diapers. When we were in the birthing class, the instructor said “when you get home from the hospital, Dad should do all the diaper changing because over the long-term, Mom is going to be changing the most diapers.” Well, not in this family, and that’s fine. I really don’t mind it, and I think that any man (or woman) who makes a big deal out of this simple task is a whiner.

As I start this third paragraph, I have asked Jack if he needs to poop 17 times. His answer remains a definitive, “Nope!” I know he’s going to shit on the couch. I just know it. It’s like when the dog pisses on my bed instead of the easy-to-clean linoleum hall floor. At age two, he doesn’t know to defecate in the potty, but he knows spite. Maybe I’m imagining it, and maybe potty training makes parents a little more nuts than regular child rearing. We’ll see. This is certainly going to be a work in progress, and I will keep you posted on our success and failure.

(After being questioned 23 times, he still says “Nope!”)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

What May Fall (not a humor submission)

Last night, at 11:00pm, I received a message, that a good friend from law school, who I hadn’t seen or spoken to in years, had passed away on Thursday. She was diagnosed with cancer a few months back. She was pregnant. She passed only a short few weeks/months after the birth of her child. She was 34.

This morning, I sent the following response to the message:

I got your message last night, while at dinner.

Nicole and I had just experienced an amazing play called What May Fall, which is about the lives of a group of people and how they are affected after they witnessed the death of a man who fell from a building. The playwright went to school with my brother and wrote the play after he witnessed that exact situation. The characters were inspired by his own struggle to make sense of the tragedy.

Immediately prior to the play, we had left the movie Inception. I won't give anything away other than it is a thinking movie that makes you question and explore your own beliefs on reality.

After I got your message, Nicole and I walked from 74th Street to 26th Street where I was parked. This weekend was our date/stay-cation weekend; Jack is with the grandparents. We were parked on 26th because we have weekend passes to the Del Close Improv Marathon. I don't know if you know this, but I sold my law firm in April, and since then, I am completely focused on nothing except raising Jackson, and studying comedy.

I have never been happier, and if I spend the rest of my life struggling as an artist, I think I will be content doing what I love. Nicole has been writing more and more and just finished her first book, which will be published in January. She too is moving away from what she thought she wanted in life to what she wants right now. It is a process, but I guess all we have is the journey.

I don't fully understand why the universe unfold as it does, and at times it really seems unfair. However, as each day ticks on, all I know is that we only have this moment, so we better make the best of it.

I miss you, and love you, and would love for our kids to play together as soon as possible. What is your 9am-3pm schedule this week?


Thursday, July 29, 2010

It’s Potty Humor (so it has to be funny)

I rise to the top when it comes to certain fatherly duties, and doody in the potty is not one of them. I’m only so-so on pee-pee in the potty. It’s at times like these that I am so thankful my wife is still alive, because if I lost her in a ski accident, or at the beach, both Jack and I would be screwed. He would be shitting himself in Depends diapers at age 14, and I would be the largest retail consumer of air freshener. Nicole really fills in the parenting gaps for all my faults.

It’s not that I’m not totally in love with the idea of cleaning up the feces and urine of another animal in my house (we have a dog, who I will eventually complain about). I just hate having to remind him to bless me with the opportunity. It’s difficult enough to recall what I enjoy. How am I supposed to remember to tell someone else to crap, so that I have the luxury of shoveling it?

Can’t you just hear the righteous parents in the distance with their pitchforks and hate? “How dare you?” “That is your child!” “You must love everything about your blessing!!!” Bullshit…no…I mean, really, his shits are the size of a bull’s shit. This is no ordinary child. When I change his diapers, I have to change his pants too, and melon scoop the poop out of his belly button. Quite frankly, I don’t think the Elmo potty can even handle it. Christ, I don’t know if the toilet can handle it. I may have to revert to the old school outhouse, and dig a crater in the backyard that runs directly into the sewer line.

He is great at getting the pee in the potty around shower time, but I am convinced this is just a result of the water running in the bathroom. If running water equals pee, then what equals poop? Do I need to push a Play-Doh fun factory in front of him to encourage his flow? Then, after he squirts the piss, my wife shovels chocolate into his mouth as a reward. If he ever releases a number 2 in the receptacle, I am going to have to give him a king sized snickers bar.

I’m of the “All in Due Time” philosophy, which selfishly means, “I don’t want anything to do with this right now.” I know, I know, I know…If I want to be a good stay-at-home dad, I should just bite the bullet and ask him ever 30 seconds whether he has to pee or poop. After all, at some point I would like to go skiing or to the beach and Nicole might not be here forever to save my ass.

(Please feel free to enlighten us all and leave comments with your suggestions, or silly potty training stories)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Toddler Beds Suck

We adjusted Jackson’s bed from a crib to a toddler bed. They forgot to add the medieval chains to lock the child to the bed frame. So, where he used to wake up, play in the crib for an hour, maybe pass out again, and then get us up at a reasonable 8am; he is now up at 5:30am, every morning.

We bought room-darkening curtains…still 5:30am. I suggested cough syrup; no dice. Nicole doesn’t get behind mad scientist parenting.

I perform, teach and take classes on weeknights. Often, I go to bed between 1:30 and 3am. As my career develops, I will be out more and more nights, and my bedtime will most likely get later before it gets earlier. 3 hours of sleep each night was literally killing me since being a Stay-At-Home Dad puts me on baby detail every morning.

I’m against kids going to bed with parents. If it works for you, great, and if I could afford a new king sized bed, then maybe it would work for me. However, our queen barely accommodates Queen Nicole with her legs and arms and penchant for stealing blankets. The last thing I need is a 2 year old lying sideways with a piss diaper on my face.

It finally got to the point where we just decided to pretend we were still sleeping, or dead. And it Worked!!!! Jack has been climbing into bed with us, and just passing out. Sure, I still get a diaper full of piss in my face, but I’m already half asleep, so it’s like a warm face towel after an airplane ride.

Wait! I Thought You Were a Lawyer?

OK, so I’ve been getting this question a lot lately because for the last decade, I kept the different parts of my life separate. In the legal world, I was Tom Galan the young entrepreneurial attorney who represented doctors and sued insurance companies, while my doppelganger Tommy Galan did shots of Jack Daniels and took the stage in midnight performances at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater and Caroline’s on Broadway.

Interestingly enough, ten years ago, it was quite the opposite. No one believed that Tommy Galan could accomplish law school and then crush the New York State bar exam on the first shot, and Tom Galan was my intelligence just aching for some recognition.

This year, the schizophrenia of my mind has all comes together. Maybe it is because I was born in ’77, I’m 33, and it’s 2010. On April 1st (coincidence?) I merged my law firm with another lawyer who now runs the day-to-day operations, freeing up my time to focus on what truly matters in my life. My days are spent as a Stay-At Home Dad, developing material at every turn. At night, I study and teach improv at The Peoples Improv Theater in NYC (see for more info), and I perform and write as much as I can, whenever I can.

So, who is Tommy Galan? A Father and Comedian who happens to have a law degree from another life.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I Need A Community

Being a Stay-At-Home-Dad is tough, and I'm sure there is a lot I can learn from other Dads and Moms out there, so if you would be so kind, please post comments to this post with suggested blogs that I could read to learn from the mistakes and successes of my fellow parents.

Also, I just added a poll to the left to get an idea of what interests my readers. If there is a brain fart not specifically listed, please feel free to add it as a comment and I will do my best to touch on the subject.

Thanks to all of you!!!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

It's Not The Words

*CRASH* Enter Daddy, to find Jackson (age 2) standing over a bowl of Cheerios scattered all over the living room floor, immediately followed by the sweetest voice in the world shouting, “God Damn It!”

Excuse me?!? (And now I’m thinking, “OH Shit, it begins”)

I suppose I should watch my language around my son, but why? Why do we expect kids to be different then us? Are we just trying to correct our own faults through our babies like some slob mother who imposes her dream of pageantry on her baby by parading her on makeshift stages at the mall dressed like a sailor’s dock whore?

We tell our children not to use certain words; words, that mean nothing when spoken in Bulgaria. And on the flip side, if a Bulgarian child told me to “lizhi ciganska sperma govnarche” I would not know that I should be offended. Unless…

…we know the context. It’s not so much the actual words that are the problem. I propose that the heart of the issue is how we use our words. Take the following two examples for consideration. Think about what is truly more offensive.

Scenario #1: You are sitting on your porch, which happens to be in front of a bus stop. A 7-year-old child is running at top speed to catch his bus, which pulls away at the last second, and the child exclaims, “Shit! I’m going to miss my math exam!”

Scenario #2: You are sitting on your porch. Another 7-year-old gets off the bus, litters in front of your house, and when you confront him, he says, “Pick it up yourself, bitch!”

Now, bitch is barely even a curse, right? Female dog and all. But, it’s clearly more offensive because of the context. While on the other hand “Shit” is still not allowed to be spoken on TV even though it’s just another way to express the word “feces.” We can say “Sugar” or “Shamrock” or “Snot” but not “Shit” because that’s the word that will corrupt our precious youth. (I know what you are thinking right now, “This son-of-a-bitch knows his shit!)

It’s not what we say, but how we say it. Isn’t that the mantra that we tell ourselves when our kids are just little babies? Then why do we forget that so fast when they get a little older? We are so overly concerned about the words our kids use, but we allow them to see us fight hurtfully with each other. We tell them to not use certain words, but neglect the instruction of being polite to all people, strangers included. Worst of all, we tell them to do what we say, but not as we do, and then we are surprised when they don’t live up to that standard.

Personally, I don’t really mind if my son uses some off-color words, as long as the swears are not used as a sword against others. I may utter “God Damn It” every once in a while over spilled Cheerios too, but it is never directed at a slow waitress or in disrespect to another person.

If we focused more on the context of our actions, we could stop pretending that words corrupt our children, and recognize that true corruption is more likely to be achieved with a toddler in a tiara.

(This post is dedicated to my guru who still inspires me to this day, George Carlin…and in case you don’t speak Bulgarian, “lick gypsy sperm you shithead”).

Friday, July 23, 2010

It's Not Weird Until They're 5

Tonight, I was inspired to write another blog post because of the interest of my readers. Within 2 hours, I received 12 comments out of nowhere on a blog that I thought was only read by my wife, my mother and me. Interestingly, the comments were left in the post about circumcision, so being an improviser, I will take that as my suggestion this evening.

This summer has been hot; global warming, polar ice cap melting, Snookie need no bronzer HOT! To combat the heat, Jack and I have made daily hikes to Uncle Louie G’s Italian Ices in Brooklyn. (Get it? Louie G…like Luigi…so clever, or brilliant, or the most retarded play on words ever). This establishment proves that the authentic Italians moved back to Italy and the “paisano” Italian wannabes completely migrated from 18th Avenue to Staten Island and Jersey. I can imagine little old mustachioed Italian grandmothers turning over in their graves.

Uncle Pretend Italian Ices has a bunch of flavors, and at the beginning of summer, Jack and I vowed to taste every one. Really, I made the commitment, and he hasn’t complained. When we get our ices, we must begin the eating immediately because once we hit the two block mark of our three block trek, we are drinking Louie G’ Italian Ices Soup. Getting to our porch, we often find ourselves covered in sticky chocolate jelly ring or mango madness slop that requires a full head to toe cleaning.

I’m still weary of showering with a child, but my cousin who has two kids of his own, assures me that it’s not weird until they're 5 years old. So, we strip down and our post ice ritual begins. I start the shower and Jack jumps into my arms. We rinse under the shower together. Then, I put him on the floor of the tub to play while I soap, rinse, repeat. Afterwards, I clean him and we dry off together.

The other day, while in the process of rinsing, I look down and catch Jack staring up at me with a look of bewilderment and wonder. I notice that with my back to the shower the water is cascading down my chest, past my belly and off my penis like a cherub fountain on Uncle Louie G’s front lawn. The stream of water that appears to be ski jumping off my slope is landing on my son, who realizes that I realize what’s happening. He looks at me, mouth gaping, and says, “Dada making pee pee on Jack!” And that’s why I now shower facing the other way.