Sunday, August 19, 2007

five words

Adding insult to injury, the injury being the Saturday I had to spend on call for the cardiac service, I think yesterday's weather was probably the nicest its been for a month. But I can't complain too much. I was in the hospital basically all day doing two emergency cases, but was home by 6pm (cardiac is home call), and didn't get called back in for the rest of the night. Can't argue with being able to sleep in my own bed. And though I'm really confused how it was decided that cardiac should be home call while call for the pain service is in-house, I shant dispute it now.

Joe and I have recently started the process of applying for preschools. (For Cal.) I had originally envisioned Cal to start preschool at age two, just like every other kid in Manhattan seems to, myself included, but given that I totally missed the boat last year (who knew it was, like, a six month-long application process? Not me, apparently) I figured we would just apply for next year, to start right after Cal turns three.

The schools that we've decided to apply are just normal neighborhood schools. We decided for a variety of reasons not to apply to the big-name preschools that everyone talks about, for a variety of reasons. One is that we would never get in, for the same reasons that Joe and I will never be featured in the society pages of the Sunday Times. (We are not rich, we are not famous, and we are not related to anyone of note.) Second is that I just want Cal to go to school to have fun and play with kids, I don't want to get involved in The Scene, with crazy competitive parenting and extravagant and tawdry displays of money, playdates in the Hamptons and limos picking up three year-olds after school and whatnot. Third is that none of those schools are near us anyway, so it doesn't even make sense to want to go--I don't think a three year old should necessarily have a 45 minute commute on the subway twice a day to go play with some bristle blocks and sleep on a mat, even if it is a brushed wool Dolce and Gabbana mat.

However, even normal neighborhood schools have something of an application process, and we were wrestling with one such essay the other evening. I guess calling it an essay sounds a little too dramatic. (Not that some schools don't make parents write whole essays, because they do. But we're shunning those schools, remember? Or, if you would like to think of it another way, rejecting them before they reject us.) But anyway, on the application for this other school wasn't so much a full essay, rather one of those, "What words best describe your child?"


MICHELLE
How many words do they want? Three words?

JOE
It doesn't say how many.

MICHELLE
How about..."nice."

JOE
"Nice," "good" and "great."

MICHELLE
No seriously, what should we say?

JOE
"Loving?"

MICHELLE
No, don't say that, that sounds like something that crazy parents say. "He just LOVES his parents!" Meanwhile, the kid is sneaking out the back door to run away from home. We can't pick any words that makes us sound insane, like, "brilliant, genius...."

JOE
..."sexy."

MICHELLE
Ew.

JOE
OK, how about "inquisitive?"

MICHELLE
Yeah, that's a good one. Oh, and how about, "sensitive?" Wait, don't put that, that sounds like a euphemism for "crybaby." Put, "empathetic."

JOE
(Writing)
OK. Oh, I have one, "energetic."

MICHELLE
That sounds like another parenting euphemism for "My little monster is out of control." Like when they call an apartment "cozy" and you look at it and realize that it's basically a closet with a bathroom attached.

JOE
"Gentle?"

MICHELLE
Good one, and so true. Oh, and put "attentive." Because he is. Remember that time he was able to watch "Blue's Clues" for almost an hour because our toilet exploded and we had to keep him out of the way so that we could clean up the poop water?

JOE
All too well.

MICHELLE
Let's pick one more word. What qualities would you want for a kid in your preschool class? Think man, think. It's a classroom full of screaming three year-olds. You're the teacher. What kind of kid do you want there in the mix?

JOE
"Awesome?"

MICHELLE
True, but next.

JOE
"Smells good?"

MICHELLE
Again, true, but next.

JOE
"Cute?"

MICHELLE
(Exasperated)
There's already a picture attached the application!


* * *


And finally, a word of thanks for those who introduced me to the concept of using some sort of auction sniping service to actually win stuff on eBay. I signed up on this service and managed to buy this fairly large lot of Duplo blocks for about $34. Thanks for the help, Cal is going to go nuts when he sees these, that lucky, lucky boy.




Aside from the little ambulance and firetruck and police helicopter, there actually appears to be some remnants of a "Bob the Builder" Duplo set mixed into this collection, with actual wrenches and screwdrivers and spare parts that will allow us to build our own cars. Either that, or to maximally injure ourselves. Isn't that how Louis Braille went blind, gouging himself in the eye with a Duplo awl?

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