Articles written by: Cheryl Dumesnil

A freelance writer and writing coach, Cheryl Dumesnil likes nothing more than laughing at the crazy things her kids say. Her books include a memoir, Love Song for Baby X: How I Stayed (Almost) Sane on the Rocky Road to Parenthood; a collection of poems, In Praise of Falling; the anthology Hitched! Wedding Stories from San Francisco City Hall; and the anthology Dorothy Parker’s Elbow: Tattoos on Writers, Writers on Tattoos, co-edited with Kim Addonizio. When she’s not writing or teaching, Cheryl’s hiking, yoga-ing, begging her children to stop the potty talk please, or trying to toss pop flies, without tearing her rotator cuff. Check her out at CherylDumesnil.com.

Four Lessons I Learned While Surfing
Family / Parenting

Four Lessons I Learned While Surfing

As we approached the surf shack, my eight-year-old son B looked over his shoulder at the ocean and said, “I can’t wait to wipe out!” “That’s a great attitude,” I chuckled. After a fifteen-minute, on-land surf lesson, B waded into the water with his cousin M and two instructors: one […]

Taming Vesuvius: The Power of Three (or Ten) Breaths
Family / Parenting

Taming Vesuvius: The Power of Three (or Ten) Breaths

Sometimes, we have to calm an upset child when we’d rather be binge-watching The West Wing.

Keeping It Queer in the Suburbs
Books / Culture

Keeping It Queer in the Suburbs

Fourteen years ago, I moved out of San Francisco to the suburbs, to shack up with my betrothed. When you do that, move out to the suburbs, San Francisco revokes your queer credibility card at the westernmost point of the Bay Bridge.

Leprechaun Trap #15
(Not that I'm counting.)
Family / Parenting

The Lesson of the Leprechaun Trap

Leprechaun traps, homemade science experiments, lemonade stands, vehicles made out of cardboard boxes – I used to love this stuff. Over the past nine years, I’ve amassed volumes of photos of the kids getting crafty, smiling in their paint-covered smocks. But lately, I’m just not that into it.

Embracing the unicorn
Family / Parenting

Embracing the unicorn

This kid. The one who, four years ago, stopped wearing t-shirts with writing on them – even his all-time favorite, “I’m with the band” shirt – because “I don’t want anyone to talk to me about them.” This kid who, for two years running, has chosen the most innocuous Halloween […]

Winning the homework wars
Family / Kids / Parenting

Winning the homework wars

 As the end of winter break inched closer, B-Man asked, “Do you like it better when we’re in school or when we’re out of school?” “I love spending time with you guys,” I answered, “and when you’re home, I don’t get much work done. So I like both.” But I […]

Silent morning, holy morning
Family / Kids / Life / Parenting / Spirituality & religion

Silent morning, holy morning

Every morning I wake up at six o’clock, half an hour before my wife and kids. I stumble – yes, there’s actual stumbling involved – out to the kitchen, toward the coffee maker that’s lit up like a friend, having timer-brewed my morning cup. I pour the steaming ounces into a […]

Why doesn’t anyone write happy poems?
Family / Kids

Why doesn’t anyone write happy poems?

In Northern California this year, November has missed her stage cue. Seventy degree days and no rain in sight. So yes, the leaves on the trees that border this park have flamed up red, but in the distance, the hills, pocked with dusty oaks, remain scrub brown. Out on the […]

What we talk about when we talk about sperm donors
Family / Kids

What we talk about when we talk about sperm donors

When my wife Tracie and I chose to conceive our children using an anonymous sperm donor, we entered our family into sparsely documented psychological territory. At the time, the first children to participate in our sperm bank’s donor identity release program were turning eighteen years old, and as the program […]

In Honor of Childhood Crushes
Culture / Life

In Honor of Childhood Crushes

In celebration of National Coming Out Day, I am sharing the poem “Clarissa’s Great Aunt,” which I wrote to honor of all those childhood crushes that I had not, at the time, recognized as crushes, because I didn’t know girls could like girls that way. Who was your first crush?   CLARISSA’S GREAT AUNT That summer […]