ADAM GERTSACOV

"I shall call him.....Mini-Me!"

AGE   47 (Yikes!)

HOMETOWN / WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW? Providence, RI (hometown)/ Yonkers, NY (where I live now)

@TWITTER   @kafclown, @dadapalooza

ON THE WEB

Dadapalooza.com (Adam’s personal blog)

Clownlink.com (“Links to all things clown and wonderful”)

AcmeClown.com (clown for hire)

BrightNight.org (1st night revelry for fellow Providence RI folk)

http://www.trainedfleas.com (home of the Acme Miniature Flea Circus)

DigitalFamilySummit.com (a family friendly conference for Summer 2012 that will, “Feature and help support families and kids who blog, vlog, tweet, facebook, and engage in all other kinds of activities on the internet.”)

What can I say? I have a lot of websites and projects! (It’s okay Adam, we did ask! *La Editor*)

NUMBER OF CHILDREN   One (a son, age 3)

* new question! * new question! * new question! *

FAVORITE CHILDREN’S BOOK What children’s book is a favorite in your house and why? What book has made a great impact on you or your kids? Was there/ is there a story that was passed down from generation to generation?

My favorite kids’ books were Bread and Jam for Francis, The Five Chinese Brothers, Carry On Mr. Bowditch, If I Ran the Circus, The Phantom Tollbooth, Where The Wild Things Are, Babar, the Oz books, and pretty much anything by Richard Scarry. Of the new crop of kids books, I’m a big fan of Mo Willems Knuffle Bunny series, the I Stink garbage book, and surprisingly Max and Ruby. Oh yes, and The Monster At the End Of This Book! (which I never read as a child)

My son likes some of these books, and hasn’t yet been introduced to all of them. He’d happily read Curious George (and all the variants) all the live long day, and watch The Fresh Beats for the rest of the day. He also loves anything by Richard Scarry, Knuffle Bunny, Elephant and Piggy, and a book called The Year I Didn’t Go To School, which is the story of a girl whose parents took her out of school for a year to take her to Italy to perform in a family puppet theatre. I like this one too!

DAY JOB   Stay-at-home.

I’m the primary care-giver to my 3 year old, who now goes to pre-school. In my copious spare time I am a clown and performer, flea trainer (yes, really!) and the director of Bright Night Providence, RI’s New Year’s Eve Festival. And with my wife, I’m starting a new conference for families that live, learn, and play on the Internet: The Digital Family Summit.

RELATIONSHIP STATUS   Married

HOW DO YOU COMBINE WORK AND FAMILY?

It’s difficult. My wife and I both now work from home, and my wife is the primary breadwinner. That makes me the primary care-giver.

HERE’S A TYPICAL WEEKDAY I’m in charge of our son from 6/6:30 am when he wakes up until 9 am, when I take him to school. We watch TV or read or play for a couple of hours. We generally eat breakfast at 8 am as a family. From 9:30-3 I’m working on projects for the house, projects for my shows, projects for my wife, grocery shopping, running errands, blogging, researching, and avoiding working out. At 3 I pick our son up, and we generally go on an adventure. (Sometimes to a shop, sometimes to a playground, sometimes to home.) Around 5 or so I come home and start cooking dinner while our son plays/helps/watches a show. We usually eat dinner as a family at 6pm, and then my wife typically plays a little/takes our son to bed around 7, 7:30.

Everything changes if I have to travel (usually in the fall/winter for my New Year’s Eve Festival) or if I have a show on a weekday (which is a rarity right now— I’m not taking those shows unless they pay VERY well). Then my wife has to re-arrange her work schedule around my son’s school times, and we bring in a babysitter to care for him while she’s working or if she has meetings she can’t re-arrange. If there’s no school, or our son is sick, I’m the one who has to re-arrange his schedule.

On the weekends we typically hang out together as a family, we try to see plays or music events together. I often take our son to a circus/dance show while my wife finishes some work or has a little time off.

One thing that makes this possible is that we have the person who is our babysitter come in for two hours every weekday to clean up. I know, I know, it’s a luxury, but also a necessity. My wife and I are not good cleaners, and as you probably know, kids are geniuses at making messes. Having somebody come in so that at some point each day the house is clean is really important. The floor gets washed nearly everyday, and it needs it!

As well, because we have those 10 hours a week, our babysitter is usually available to us if we need extra help (if our son gets sick or school is closed, or when December rolls around, and New Year’s kicks into high gear). When we didn’t have a child, we had someone come in once every two weeks to clean, and this costs about 20% more than that, but it’s worth it.

WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS AS A PARENT AND WHAT ARE YOUR WEAKNESSES?
WHAT ARE YOUR PARTNER’S STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES?

I think that we make an excellent team, actually. My wife and I both came to parenting late, (I was 44, she 41) and we both had led pretty separate lives before that. We had lived together for three years before getting pregnant, and then getting married.

The good thing is that we’re pretty sure of what we want, and often we agree. Sometimes, however, one thing is important to her, and not important to me. Or vice-versa.

I think my strengths as a parent are my skills as a listener and an improvisor. I am very flexible and listen to what he says, and then figure out ways to improvise to get him to do what we need/want him to do. I have a lot of patience with him, and a lot of sympathy for him, but at the same time, strangely, I probably am more likely to stick to my guns regarding enforcing the ground rules of eating/sleeping/behavior than my wife. Perhaps it’s because she has less time with him, so indulges him more.

My wife is a great parent because she has infinite amounts of compassion, and combines that with a great ability to take charge of the situation. She also deals with all the clothes, the fashion, the toys, and all the things I don’t care about. She can turn anything into a life-lesson, and puts it in a way that our son understands. And most importantly, she does all the on-the-road poo changes!

My weaknesses as a parent— hmmmm… I tend to overthink things sometimes, and I think I tend to rely on my strengths more than I should. I also have a tendency to forget that my kid is three, and expect him to be much more reasonable than I have the right to expect. 75% of the time it works, though!

My wife’s weaknesses as a parent ? Are you kidding me with this fakakta question? What kind of no-win question is this?

I plead the fifth! :O)

WHAT IS YOUR WORST PARENTING MOMENT?

We’ve been pretty lucky so far. I think that as a parent, my worst moments were pre-parent, when I imagined all the puke and poo and diarahea and other bodily fluids that I would have to clean up, and feared all that, and also feared that I wouldn’t love my child enough and would resent my child for burdening me with responsibility and not allowing me to pursue my career.

As it turns out, those fears were all unfounded (poo and puke and diarahea are temporary and not as bad as my fear of them was) and I love my child much more than I ever thought I could. In fact, counter-intuitively, having more responsibility has made me happier than I’ve ever been. (Of course I have a whole new set of fears now! One of which is that my child will one day mean it when he says “I don’t like you. Go away!” Which he said at 3 am this morning when he woke up due to jet lag.)

Actually, if I think of one worst habit that I have as a parent, it’s that moment of inattention when I’m trying to do something else, and he’s saying “Dad! Come play with me!” And I keep putting him off so that I can finish the sentence. (There, I’m back now.) I occasionally do rely too heavily on his ability to play by himself or to let the TV/iPad entertain him while I get stuff done. And one time he was playing by himself and I was putting him off and he fell down and I didn’t see what had happened.

WHAT IS YOUR BEST PARENTING MOMENT?

My favorite moment is when we are all three cuddling in bed together. It’s delicious and glorious. I also just love how much joy and enthusiasm he can bring to the simplest of things. We go to a lot of circuses, and one day we had to cross a field to get to a circus. He stopped and said “Wow! We’re at a Field! Amazing! Dad can we come back to this field later?”

I also love when he laughs at something I do. I make kids and adults laugh for a living, but it’s something special when it’s your own kid.

I’m proud of having created a character, Mr. Handy, just for my son. Mr. Handy is my hand, talking to him as a puppet. Mr. Handy can usually defuse crying or sad situations. Mr. Handy is a little irascible, a little bit of a doofus, and often hurts himself by mistake. He’s a little lazy and selfish, and doesn’t help people and is not a good sharer. But somehow, my son loves Mr. Handy, and often asks for him to come out. And sometimes, Mini-handy, my son’s hand , also comes out to play.

I’m also very proud of this fast-thinking innovation: I’ve convinced my son that when the ice cream truck plays its music, that means they are out of ice cream.

I know, I know, I’m going to hell.

Lisa D

Lisa Duggan is the founder of The Modern Village, and publisher of TheParentduJour.com and TheMotherHoodBlog.com.

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