It’s our first Small Talk of the year and we’re kicking it off with father of two, Paul Norton. Even though you may not know him by name—or maybe many of you do know a “Paul Norton”—you’ve likely seen books he’s published!
Read on to get the lowdown on this dad’s many full-time jobs, how he manages it all and what he thinks fathers don’t get enough credit for.
Bio: I manage a publishing house called AMMO Books (short for American Modern, not bullets) with my wife and business partners, and chauffeur my 5-year-old around Los Angeles.
Brood: Anika (“Ani”) is 5 ½ years old, in kindergarten and a rock star big sister. Abigail (“Abby”) just turned 1 and is crawling. And Mayzie is an 8-year-old rescue dog.
5 things my kids can’t live without:
Rose Art Markers
Their Daddy…at least for the moment!
5 things I as a parent can’t live without:
iPhone (instant entertainment when boredom sets in at a restaurant)
Optional 3rd row seating
Audible.com (no time to read for pleasure, but can consume books on the go…)
Biggest misconception about parenting: That it’s not a full-time job.
Biggest challenge about having two kids: That there’s two of them…we used to tag team Anika, but now it’s one on one, and we’re no match.
Proud moment as a father: There are many. As Abby’s become more interactive, it’s really great watching the two play and how they genuinely enjoy one another. It’s comforting that when my wife and I are long gone, they’ll still have each other to lean on.
What fathers don’t get enough credit for: Trying. I’m convinced parenting comes much more naturally to women than to men…in other words, it takes a lot more effort for me to do an average job than for my wife to do a stellar one. Does that make sense?
Best advice you can give to other parents: Relax. We’ve taken the time to enjoy babyhood the second time around a lot more than we did the first, and I think it’s paid off…I know it’s cliché, but it’s really about the journey versus the destination.
Kids’ current obsessions: Ani loves Legos, all things Scooby Doo, arts and crafts and these cool toys called Widgets. Abby mostly loves food…she eats everything…we’ve yet to find something she doesn’t like. When not eating, she can be found pulling books from shelves, socks from drawers and getting into anything within her reach.
Most interesting thing my kid has said to me: Ani drew a family picture and she drew her grandpa (who passed recently) together with an elephant. I asked if he was at the circus and she said, “No, heaven.” I asked why the elephant was in heaven and she said, “Daddy, that’s God, he’s with Grandpa…” Finally it hit me, my wife is Hindu and Ani’s spent some time in temple. Ganesha was God and was in heaven with Grandpa…it all made sense.
How work and family mix: Ani loved the coloring and board books, and lately we’ve been reading The Red Shoes by Gloria Fowler and Sun Young Yoo together. Abby loves to chew on all of them!
If I were to write a book about parenting, it would be… maybe a counting board book meets, insomniac daughter, meets Oscar–nominated movie…One Dark Thirty…Two Dark Thirty…Three Dark Thirty…
And the cover would look like… A dimly lit room, with a silhouette of a very tired person feeding a baby.