We're surveying some of the coolest guys we know about life as a modern dad.
Name: Andy Ward, Book editor, Random House; intern, Dinner: A Love Story
Kids: Phoebe (11) & Abby (9)
Location: Dobbs Ferry, NY
Find me online: Do twitter accounts expire if you don’t use them?
1. A parenting trick that works for me and not for my wife: On weekends, I go for a long run and my daughters ride alongside me, on bikes, and as we go, they open up about their lives in ways that are really unguarded and sweet – and very helpful in the intelligence-gathering department. Which sounds ominous, but isn’t. The more deeply we know them, the better parents we can be.
2. A myth about modern dads: That, by some quirk of DNA, we are incapable of arranging our daughters’ hair into a proper freaking ponytail.
3. My favorite toy from childhood: One of those electric football tabletop games, which I inherited from my older brother who, in the process of loving it intensely, must have harmed it in some irreparable way — because the second you turned it on, and that buzzzzz started up, all the players would immediately slide to one side of the field. Not that I cared. Runners up: My Chemcraft Chemistry Set, which held so many (in hindsight, probably toxic) wonders, and my dad’s peanut butter-brown IBM Selectric II.
4. My favorite children's book: Impossible to pick one! As a kid: Trumpet of the Swan, The Chronicles of Prydain, Strange But True Sports Stories, The Great Pie Robbery, The Sneetches. As a parent: The Important Book, Trumpet of the Swan, The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip, The Paper Bag Princess, The Animal Family, anything by William Steig.
5. A website or blog I visit regularly: Dinner: A Love Story, LoHud Yankees blog, Talking Points Memo, The Rumpus, The Book Cover Archive blog, Think Denk, and an obscure news site called nytimes.com.
6. A product I would recommend to another dad: Beefeater 24.
7. A question I hope my kids never ask me: Dad, why do you love Beefeater 24 so much? And: What do people mean when they talk about “the economy”?
8. A song I'll be really bummed if my kids don't end up loving: “Moonlight Mile” by the Rolling Stones. And “Ain’t It Funky Now” by James Brown – the Love Power Peace version.
9. My favorite way to spend a few hours with my kids: Hiking up Anthony’s Nose (trailhead just off Route 9D) and having a solid picnic lunch, sitting on a rock and overlooking the Bear Mountain Bridge – and what feels like the entire Hudson Valley. Then stopping for some Jane’s ice cream (toasted coconut) on the way home.
10. My parenting superpower: Patience.
(Image: Peter Van Agtmael, courtesy of Bon Appetit)