A Gronking To Remember

In 2014, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio began the school year with more than double the amount of full-day pre-K slots for city toddlers the year before, serving nearly half of the city's pre-K population with a free full-day pre-K option. Our zoned school already provided free, full-day pre-K before that. On September 9, Mr. Kiddo started there.

Both Jen and I were kind of surprised — actually, very surprised — to learn that children enter pre-K in the calendar year they turn four. Which means that if a child is born on December 31, he or she will go to pre-K as a three-year-old. For me, a casual conversation at the playground turned into this weird realization that Mr. Monkey was entering the school system basically immediately. I gather that (focusing vast sociological powers) there exists a inequitable dynamic when families with means hold back children until they're very ready to kick ass at school. I was going to "cite" Malcolm Gladwell's hockey story, because I've heard it summarized over and over (or at least once), so I figured I'd look at it . . . and, oh well . . . but anyway, suffice it to say, there's this advantage for kids who are older and smarter when they start kindergarten.

All of which is to say, I've been in the company of Mr. Monkey for 99 percent, or probably well over 99 percent of his time on the earth (i.e., out of the womb, not to get prenatal about it). I don't say this to humblebrag or put myself in the running for a father-of-the-year prize or even to elicit sweet looks from elderly women around the neighborhood but rather to contextualize just how strange it is to not know what's going on with him. Also, this is what happens when you don't have budget for a babysitter or nanny or whatnot. Which also is to say, without me, I wouldn't be able to explain that those are not just books sitting sideways on top of other books but rather "pizzas" "cooking" in the "oven." It goes on like this; the smugly satisfying thrill of being able to interpret preschooler headspace. The first day or two I had grisly thoughts about what might happen when he was out of my sight; I sort of get how one can be an insane worrywart; it also passes very quickly, like probably the third day, but not before some other weird fantasies about how it'd probably be OK to homeschool children; that passes when you see actual homeschooled children — not that there's anything wrong with that, but the ones I see on cable just seem a little, I don't know, off or whatnot — like they've been at home with their parents too much.

Which also is to say, it is disconcerting, upsetting and disorienting — like you've blacked out or something and can't remember time — when you don't know or can't quickly figure out what he's been up to. Try figuring out, for example, what in God's name they ate; it's impossible. They have the menus online and nothing makes sense or lines up. It's hopeless. And that's stuff you can sort of factcheck: he came home that first full day and after hounding him for hours — literally, hours — about what they did at school, he finally allowed that the teacher talked about "applesauce." So I googled "applesauce saying" and pretty quickly discovered "criss cross applesauce."

"Do you mean 'criss cross applesauce'?" I asked. His eyes lit up.

"Yes! Yes, that's it: criss cross applesauce," he confirmed, and then proceeded to attempt to sit cross legged, except that he sat on one leg and then bent the other one awkwardly at a 90 degree angle over his knee. And I guess "Indian style" was excised somewhere along the way.

Later that weekend we googled it, and indeed, "Indian style" was ditched for "criss cross applesauce." For about 38 years I assumed that it had to do with Native Americans until I saw the image search for "criss cross applesauce" and saw a person doing some kind of yoga pose; duh, "Indian" meaning "India." I guess I don't understand the harm in "Indian style" except that it probably makes sense to just avoid ethnic anythings altogether. Thus, jaw harp or maybe even the police van. Fair enough. Then again, "sitting cross legged" or "cross your legs" seems pretty obvious, so . . .

Here's something: full-day pre-K in a public school is a great fucking deal and I don't totally understand why people who have the option to send their children to a full-day free public option would pay money — a lot of money — to opt for something that can't possibly be all that different. I actually feel guilty about it: they not only feed your kid lunch but breakfast, too; the only thing you have to do is deliver them there in the morning. (And you quickly get over the fact that they may or may not [not sure exactly what goes on yet] get stuff like skim chocolate milk or whatnot, and even though you've somehow convinced him that chocolate milk is for a special occasion he now knows this is total bullshit.) You go back to life with one child for two-thirds of the day and it feels luxurious and decadent and honestly a little lonely and disorienting — it's not so much that having one kiddo is "easy" but rather it's about relearning what it's like to relearn what it means to be present and parent-y and awesome with a one-and-a-half year-old. It's like rewinding time two years earlier: refreshing, strange, wonderful, lonely, guilty; like you blacked out and erased time.

Today there was mass hysteria at the dropoff — I don't say this lightly; heard from more than one person that the entire class was insane about being abandoned by their caregivers and parental figures. Mr. Monkey got caught up in it and began going on about not wanting to go back to school; we attribute it in part to figuring out that his lot in life now is to be a student. He says he wants me to be his teacher; I almost get sucked into the fiction (I can do this!) but then quickly recenter and come back with some platitudes that neither of us will remember. Ultimately, tomorrow's Friday and at the very, very least he now probably fully internalizes what "the weekend" means; son, don't tell me we never taught you anything.

Posted: September 18th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: The Cult Of Domesticity | Tags: , ,

For Our Younger Viewers, Go To Google

October 22, 2014

It took me a while to remember what exactly I was repeating, but it eventually came back: ESPN's Scott Van Pelt floridly and eloquently eulogizing the Washington Post's Ben Bradlee during a late night edition of SportsCenter, only doing it in a way that didn't really say anything about Bradlee's legacy, then lazily adding at the end, "For our younger viewers, go to Google." If only he wrote obituaries.

In the post-2 a.m.-class of Tweets, this had to do with what I felt was gratuitous grandstanding — as if there's any other kind! — from our local council member about a large development on the waterfront; it also merited a late night FW: Link email to Goober and Jen. Later I regretted feeling anything, remembering that every single aspect of city government in a one-party city is some form of theater, with outcomes predetermined. In retrospect, I should amend this to "The City Council is fucking stupid."

So our bank, Esahc (read backwards if you care), deigned to tag me with a $12 fee because a direct deposit was $5 under the minimum required to maintain a free checking account. I called and asked them to remove the fee. They did (as they did this month again). Ready to switch banks.

Only in the days afterward learned it was a thing.

October 24, 2014

Um, ya think? So much of the governance of this state (and city) is so fucking crazy-making. With so few media outlets discussing these proposals at all until the waning days of the election, do you think anyone really was that informed about how to vote? New York is so "progressive" . . . except when it comes to voting. A disgrace, and it's hard to believe that everyone in power doesn't prefer it that way.

The people in charge want people to think it's hip not to panic; they are the least hip people on the planet. I don't want to live in a world where elected officials are cool. They're not. And when people think they are, that means politicians have way, way too much power.

October 25, 2014

It was Mark Levine.

I also really dislike the ostentatious use of mass transit. I bet de Blasio didn't even pay his own fare.

October 26, 2014

Like a ham, able to be served at Christmas? The words of ESPN's Mark Jones (harder than I thought to figure out who called this game, but this page exists) after ASU put the game out of reach late in the fourth quarter against the Huskies. This seems to be a go-to line for him; I just wish I understood what it meant.

October 27, 2014

It occurred to me, while out at an artisanal hot dog/cocktail establishment, how ridiculous it is to make music that people dine out to. I'm sure ASCAP is appreciative of their efforts, but people, seriously?

I didn't know you could even buy a Maserati, much less lease one, but being that we're on the topic, who does this?

A close loss, by under a point. Wouldn't have mattered had Sammy Watkins not prematurely hotdogged . . .

October 28, 2014

I'm happy to believe it's my own problem but I much prefer to blame the New York Post. I find myself avoiding clicking on their links, especially on a mobile device. Technology changes everything.

October 29, 2014

The last day of the public radio pledge drive, and I'd heard this bit of opera so many times that I finally had to figure out what it was. It's "Nessun Dorma" by Puccini, and it took so, so long to figure that out:

October 30, 2014

When I say "a portion," it keeps it open ended.


The answer to the earlier tweet; now we know.

It was early in the season against the Cavs; I think it might have been this exact moment, now that I think about it:

October 31, 2014

A post-1 a.m.-class State Farm quip.

November 1, 2014

Always a good thing . . .

Not me, this, which serves as a great reminder to everyone to avoid ever being interviewed about anything lifestyle related; they always make you sound like a big jerk.

November 2, 2014

Watching the SNL peformance, it just popped into my head. I couldn't remember if Gaddafi ever died (he did, in 2011). I would worry about how this all sounds but Prince seems so fucking weird that it's hard not to think he had this in mind in the first place; as mysterious and inscrutable now as he seemed when I was in grade school. Before they both pass on, he and Mark E. Smith should reimagine "Girl from the North Country" (Nashville Skyline version). (Just kidding about that "passing on" snark: one is 56 and the other is 57 . . . though one looks like 36 and the other looks like 77!)

November 3, 2014

As usual, I had to google what this was to remember what I was repeating. It's as if you already know it's Brooklyn without the Myrtle Avenue reference. The place itself actually seems a lot less annoying than the headline makes it sound.

November 6, 2014

There are moments when the contents of an infant's diaper sound like a Ruth Reichl tweet.

November 9, 2014

Jen's idea to post this; her experience on Saturday. Wouldn't you know it, they never even responded! I guess we didn't follow the rules.

November 10, 2014

12:41 a.m.: Which is to say, "Let's Go to Bed."

If you have a website these people send this shit spam that goes something like "I'm compiling a list of links around the web and here are some I want to share" and four out of five look legitimate and the fifth is some shit about onlineloanjizzbox.com or some such. I'm googling and no one is calling them out and I cannot figure out why. I need an answer about what on earth it's about.

November 11, 2014

A near-3 a.m.-class of tweet: for some reason the Leaving Trains popped into my head:

November 12, 2014

Jen saw me sleeping on the couch and was pissed, wondering why the baby monitor wasn't on: I was like, "Why are we watching people playing poker?"

2:29 a.m.: a second wind! And back to that Cure song: when Robert Smith says "stupid game," it sounds so much like "stew pit." Is there anyone with a "Stew Pit" alias [checking . . .]? Yes! He (he?) has inactive Twitter and Tumblr accounts!

There's just something so awesomely aggro about these words out of context.

Posted: November 15th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Too Much Information | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Buddy, Would You Please Put A Fucking Hat On That Baby?

October 15, 2014

Sometimes those Amazon features are just too fucking stupid.

There's a line in Boyz II Men's "Motown Philly" that goes "It's long overdue but now Philly is slammin'" — 12 syllables over just two measures, I think — but the melody has been eddying in my head for a long time now (sort of like those Peyton Manning Nationwide commercials) and I cannot seem to get it to quit.

It's true: I was like, "Did you seriously put me on hold to shill for Andrew Cuomo?" and the guy just sort of plowed through an explanation before requesting that I vote for Cuomo on his panderous Women's Equality Party line. I said "fuck you" and hung up. There's a point of diminishing returns and Cuomo has long since passed it.

And then there was the "Please hold so we can patch you in to an important town hall meeting" call from Carolyn Maloney. We were gerrymandered out of her district a few years ago. One-party rule is bullshit and evil.

City boosters cannot resist "best," "biggest," "largest," and "first" anythings.

October 16, 2014

This is from the website of a famous Chicago pizza place. I really don't have an issue with deep dish pizza — I believe my mind is open enough not to demand delicate thin crusts and tastefully dolloped sauces — but this looks so goddamn disgusting, like some kind of fucked up lasagna trigonometry, that it's hard to take it seriously. I'm sure it tastes good though.

October 17, 2014

So with the memory of the "please hold for an important message" call a few days before still fresh, I saw Pandrew Cuomo's fucking ridiculous Women's Equality hostage video starring his children and semi-homemade partner (including that discredited 77-cent claim and the absurd notion that the only thing standing between decent society and brutal back-alley abortions is Cuomo himself). That sentiment was the first thing that came to mind. Sorry. Sometimes you just have to get it all out. Soon enough it will be over, Pandrew having trounced his Washington Generals-esque challenger, and we'll be free from him until sometime in 2015, I guess.

It's good information to know.

October 18, 2014

Instant Google.

October 19, 2014

Imagine a whole stadium of Rahm Emanuels, almost; so weird looking.

More job-related factchecking; this from the website of a bathhouse. Everything passed along without comment; it's better that way.

The minute I stepped out of the house I knew that some cluck-clucking old timer was going to give me grief about not having a hat on the baby. People, it's 52 degrees (I checked) — the kid will be fine. I avoided eye contact the rest of the way to the bagel shop. Passersby are obsessed with babies' heads and believe me, they'll tell you about it.

Posted: October 20th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Too Much Information | Tags: , , , , ,