I'm back on the subject of neurotic New York parents today. But before I describe my morning, let me start with an admission, lest you think I am harshly judging these Preschool Parents. I am just as neurotic in my own way, as was brought home to me clearly last weekend when we went to have dinner at our friends house in the suburbs. There were four couples all together, with four kids total, ranging in age from 2 to 6. For all these people, having the kids downstairs in the playroom while we had an adult dinner upstairs was par for the course. To my husband and I, this was some unheard of and slightly anxiety producing nirvana. When the other parents heard someone crying or shouting, they rolled their eyes and waited for the injured party to a) work it out for him/herself b) come upstairs seeking parental assistance. When it was my kid crying, my first instinct was not only to jump up and run downstairs, but also to broker the peace between the kids. Every 20 minutes or so my husband would look at me and say, "should I go check on the Boy?" Now clearly, the other parents have a far better and healthier approach to this. In our defense, we not only live in tight quarters with our children in New York, we are, for the most part, required to keep a sharp eye on them at all times. I don't let my kid go running wild in the museum, or even out of my general sight at an unfamiliar playground. And walking down the street with your child in NYC is an exercise in vigilance. Too many crazy people, too much traffic, just too much, in general. And when removed from this urban environment, it's hard to relax the standards, I admit.
This morning we had the followup visit to one of the preschools we are applying to for September. The "playdate." I mentioned this in my earlier rant about Manhattan preschool insanity, and today was the first of three I have scheduled. It's also the most normal, in my opinion, and the one I'd most like him to attend. So whatever, I don't really get why they do this unless they want to weed out the super aggressive kids or something, but we went and it was low key, just four kids, one parent each, and all they did at first was free play. The point, the director told us, was to observe the children. Get that? Observe the children. Which I took to mean that I should hang back, shut up, and let my kid do what he wants, right? The Boy, being who he is, found a bucket of tiny blocks and proceeded to build a tower in his meticulous and focused way. And spent the entire freeplay time doing it. Which was fine with me - just as well she see his anal retentiveness right off the bat. And there was another mom there doing pretty much the same thing, and she and I chatted a little and kind of watched the kids and waited to see what we were supposed to do next. But the other parents? Holy crap.
There was one dad there, who I am familiar with from some previous classes, who was pumping his kid so loudly I was embarassed for him. "Julia, look! There's an alphabet puzzle! You love alphabet puzzles! You know your letters, Julia! Do you want to play with the alphabet puzzle? The RED, YELLOW and BLUE alphabet puzzle?" Good God, man. I'm sorry you didn't make your high school football team, but you really need to back up. Your kid is three. He then followed her over to the play kitchen, where he entreatied her in a loud voice to play with the other little girl there: "Say hello to Lucy! Say hello, Lucy! Why don't you give her some food on a plate? How about the YELLOW BANANA, Julia?" Oy. I had a headache by the time I left. If the Boy doesn't get in because he didn't display his knowledge of the alphabet, we'll live.
And a few random and odd things rattling around my head:
I do not understand the big fuss over this stupid Jessica Seinfeld book, Deceptively Delicious. First of all, our own mothers and grandmothers have been doing this for years - ask yours. I bet you anything she shredded carrots into spaghetti sauce, grated peppers in meatloaf, etc. I know mine did. If that woman had a different husband, that book never would have been published, if you ask me. BUT! I keep reading blogs where people are raving about it, and talking about copying down the recipes. What?? You need a recipe to puree vegetables and stick them in what you're cooking? It boggles the mind.
Why am I craving ice? I am drinking a boatload of ice water these days, but what I really want is the ice. And for some reason, the ice from my freezer tastes just like I remember the virgin, unbroken snow tasting when I would eat it as a child. Weird.