Archive | January, 2013

Decisions, decisions

31 Jan

One of the most problematic aspects of raising a kid in Park Slope is that the pressure around ‘success’ starts early, persists in expected and unexpected ways, and continues to pick and poke at you throughout baby’s childhood. Pressure for your baby to get into the right schools, participate in the right programs, play-dates, activities, it is a relentless gorilla standing on the chests of aspiring parents.

Now, two things about this phenomenon. First, your kid gets involved with cheating, or else dabbles in performance-enhancing drug use. And as a parent, you become more annoying than dangerous – one of those ‘well, my daughter is deciding between Harvard and Trinity College (oh, the one at Cambridge, not the one in Hartford, I know, a silly mistake that Americans make). I mean, Harvard is Harvard, sure, but we just think that an international sensibility just makes more sense in this globalized world. Don’t you agree?’ The high-performing but high-pressure educational world is just out there, waiting for you! Grab an apple, enjoy the show!

Second, just because something exists doesn’t mean that you have to participate in its least appealing aspects. This is precisely the pernicious problem of living in Park Slope. The social environment invites and rewards compliance. It’s one of the more convincing, sociological truths about culture and hegemony. So if you’re not going to care, that’s fine, but it’s going to make you an asshole at dinner parties. Not that we’re going to many dinner parties.

This is all a prelude to saying that baby was accepted to the tot-preK-preschool whatever program at the temple across the street. Yay! And the only other place that we ‘applied’ that I was enthusiastic about is the Montessori school in the neighborhood. But we have to decide about the synagogue school before we are going to know about whether he’s going to get into the other school. Bird in hand, etc.

I think we’re just going to just kind of say fuck it, we’ve never heard any bad things (on the contrary, we’ve had only good experiences with the temple so far) about the temple school, so we’ll just do that. And then if we’re unhappy, we’ll ask to be considered for Montessori next year. The thing is, I’m actually on board with Montessori methods. But compared to a sure thing that’s a 2-minute walk away, it’s hard to imagine not just participating in the temple school. I mean, he’s going to be frickin’ three next year, it’s not like they’re going to be learning calculus or something.

Anyhow, prepare yourselves for my being that asshole parent. I may become it despite my own best intentions.

Projects in 2013

9 Jan

So, we’re underway in 2013, and the first thing we are up to is cleaning and beautifying our ugly-ass apartment. I’m feeling all Manhattan Nest, and if we are going to live here for a while, we need to get this apartment feeling like it’s a livable space.

Of course, there are some impediments to this, including things that I’ve purchased over the past year with intentions, but which have yet to resolve. Like a bunch of bottles (for the failed vanilla project) and Mason jars (because I read Tamar Adler’s Everlasting Meal and thought I would want to save leftovers in glass jars). So yeah, gotta get rid of, or repurpose, these things. If I can get my nerve up, I’m going to try to replace our ugly light fixtures with something more attractive. You know, stuff like that.

We are also going to be potty training the baby this year. And we are going to pull a 3-day weekend of no-pants, no-diapers. Maybe. But poop. So, I don’t really know yet.

And I know that you all want to know exactly how baby is doing nowadays. He is speaking up a storm, this morning he was shout-singing the ABC song in his crib at 6:30. When I get up to get him, I like to knock on the door, and he sing-song responds, “Commeeee Iiiinnn!” When I take him to the neighborhood coffee shop for coffee and muffins (well, coffee for me), he likes to clean up the trash, toting it across the cafe by himself to put it in the can. Then he takes our plates and glasses, puts them on the bar, and says “thank you!” Well, it’s more like “dank-u”, but it’s getting close.

He eats a ton…of bread and cheese and yogurt and sometimes fish and chicken and sometimes meat. And fruit! But still nary a vegetable, and I’ve made brussel sprouts 15 different ways. We’re not going to worry about it at this point, but geez it is a bit annoying. And no, I’m not going to put spinach in brownies, thank you very much. What are you people, monsters?

Lately he has been toddling around on his balance bike as well, even in the cold. Seriously, what is it about toddlers and their inability to wear mittens or gloves? Crazy brains. I think he’s just an accidental hop-step from realizing that he can coast on it rather than just walk on it, but we’ll see.

I’m also trying to take a lot more video this year, little clips every day or so. I’ll start posting interesting stuff when, well, I get some interesting stuff. Lately it’s stuff like this, crappy quality, but rather hilarious:

Exciting stuff, right? Amiright?