5 Going on 15

Some subway trains smell more than others in New York.  However, the subway is often the most convenient way to get across the city, especially when the streets are clogged.  Unfortunately, that fact doesn’t usually help the mood of the people jammed into the train like sardines.

Cookie:  The chemical smell in this train is making me really edgy.

Me too, Cookie.  Me too.

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You’re Not Normal. We Had You Tested.

It’s only natural for all parents to think that their kids are geniuses.  One moment, you’re holding a stinking poop machine that isn’t even smart enough to eat properly and can’t be trusted not to seriously injure itself.  The next moment, there’s a miniature human being asking questions that can’t be easily answered.

As part of the craziness in getting you into kindergarten in New York, we had to get you tested, Cookie.  IQ tests for four-year olds: absolutely, utterly, annoyingly crazy (and useless and meaningless and arbitrary).  Due to a scheduling problem, your testing date was inexplicably moved up a month, and we didn’t get a chance to even show you the sample problems, let alone prep you.  You were even sick on the day.  Nevertheless, we told you that you were going to play games with a special teacher and dropped you off at the psychologist.

A month later, we received your score.  Due to the craziness of New York competition for kindergartens, I have to apologize, Cookie, for being initially disappointed: your score was borderline for the school.

Sorry.  I’m very proud of you, Cookie.   You scored three standard deviations above average.

Crap.  Now I still have to figure out how to keep up with you.

Fun Around New York City

Barbecued whole hog.  I suppose that I should stop being surprised that everything and anything may be found in this colossal metropolis, but given that I couldn’t find a decent sweet tea for years (aside from my own kitchen), imagine my surprise to find this glorious meal without having to head south of the Mason Dixon.

Daisy Mays Whole Hog

Bonus:  Daisy Mays BBQ serves excellent sweet tea, served in campy Mason jars.

We went with a big group of friends and their kids, and unfortunately, there are always drawbacks when dining with a group of kids.

Cookie’s Friend:  OH NO!  They cooked Peppa Pig!

Cookie’s Friend’s Mom:  That’s not Peppa Pig.

Cookie’s Friend crying:  How do you know?

Cookie’s Friend’s Mom: That’s not a real pig.  That’s a delicious pig… for eating.

Cookie, needless to say, your friend didn’t eat much pulled pork that day.  She missed out.  Peppa Pig was delicious.

Extra Bonus:  The restaurant is located a couple blocks away from this:

Intrepid

Somewhere along the way, Cookie, you became obsessed with airplanes and spaceships.  Instead of a doll in your stroller, you push around a Lego Osprey.  Planes was your favorite movie (until Frozen), but the Elsa doll always sits on the shelf watching you play with Dusty, El Chupacabra, Bravo, and Rochelle.

Naturally the Intrepid became the most interesting thing available (next to Lagaurdia), but the thing that made it awesome was the Enterprise.  Now, not only did you come back raving about airplanes, we had to build SPACESHIPS!

The Craziness of a New York Education

When looking for private schools in New York, the three-hour interview for a toddler to enter a pre-k 3 (that’s pre-kindergarten for three-year olds) class isn’t even the craziest part of the process.  Actually, that bears repeating.  The application process begins a year in advance, so that’s a three-hour interview for two-year olds to enter a class for three-year olds a year later.  Let the craziness begin.

First, there’s the parent essays.

What is your child’s greatest accomplishment?”  Not pooping her pants?  Talking?  Walking without face planting?

What are your child’s occupational aspirations?”  Seriously?  She’s two.  Her idea of a work day consists of nap time and finger painting.

What does your child want to study in college?”  Hey, she still a year away from her first day of pre-pre-kindergarten, and she hasn’t even had her first day of school, but let’s skip right to college questions.

I have no idea how I managed to write the required essays (paragraphs, with an “s”, as in, several paragraphs on the supposed academic credentials of a two-year old) for each those questions, but I filled in the questionnaire and sent it in.

On the big day, after the teachers called the students in, Mommy and I sat with a small group of parents when the Director of something or other with an overly fancy title appeared.

Director:  Good morning, parents.  I wanted to thank everyone for coming, but I don’t want anyone to get their hopes up.  As I’m sure everyone already knows, this year we have over 5,000 applicants for just fifty spots.

That’s… a lower acceptance rate than Harvard.  For pre-kindergarten.  Makes… sense.

Director:  Blah, blah, blah.  Tuition this for this year is $42,000.  Blah, blah, blah.

Holy…  This pre-kindergarten class is more expensive than Harvard.

Four hours later, the teachers brought you back to the waiting room.

Me:  How was it, Cookie?

Cookie:  It was fun, Daddy.

Me:  What did they ask you, Cookie?

Cookie:  They asked me to read a book.*  Then a different teacher came to ask me questions in Chinese.

Me:  Did you answer in Chinese?

Cookie:  Yep.  Then another teacher asked me questions in Korean, and another in Spanish.

Me:  What did they ask?

Cookie:  Silly questions.  Then they asked me to count to twenty and look at shapes and colors.

A week later, we received a happy phone call.  I’m proud of you, Cookie.  You were one of the fifty.

Me: Wonderful, so what will you teach in this class?

Director:  Letters, numbers, colors: the Common Core

Me:  But, with that many applicants, you’ve presumably selected only kids who can already read.

Director:  Yes, and I think your daughter will fit right in.

Me: So you’re still going to teach letters to kids who can read?  You’re not going to teach them anything they don’t already know?

College tuition for glorified day care?  No, thank-you.

_________________

* Fortunately, it was Good Night Moon.  You have that book memorized, Cookie.