At times, life for a family in Manhattan feels like it moves at a faster pace than the rest of the universe. We enroll our kids in music classes at four months, movement and art classes at six months and vie to get accepted into play groups and toddler classes that are deemed to be “feeders” to the best nursery schools in the neighborhood — the so-called “Baby Ivies”.
In Manhattan, preschool madness begins at 7am on the Tuesday after Labor Day every year. Anxious parents flood the phone lines of these bastions of the ABC’s and some schools run out of applications by lunchtime.
To get admitted to a nursery program, you need to apply the September before you’d like to attend, and the admissions process takes nearly a full calendar year. So, if it’s a 2’s program you want, you need to start the application process right after your baby blows out that first birthday candle! (more…)
When I was a child, I despised the fact that my parents often said to me, “Veronica, don’t get your hopes up.” They said this to me a lot, and it made me angry. I felt that they didn’t want me to be happy, or didn’t want me to get whatever I was wishing so hard for. But, now that I am a parent, I’m beginning to understand why they felt the need to say this phrase in particular.
As parents, they couldn’t bear to see me so disappointed when I wished so high for something that they couldn’t provide, was impractical or that I couldn’t achieve. They loved me too much. But, I never heeded the call. I continued to live my life with my hopes up, and I created much disappointment to myself and created worry for my parents.
Growing up in New Jersey, USA, we were considered a low-income household back then. But, I had large hopes and dreams. The younger I was, these hopes were made up more of material items, and the older I became, they were more along the lines of opportunities or experiences.
Now that my big girl, R, is 3, I have enrolled her in swim class. I waited until she turned 3 for a few reasons. I was told that children learn fear around that age; and, even if they were not afraid of the water before then, they may then become fearful. But, my main reason is because I don’t have to get in the pool with her. Instead, I can simply watch dryly from the deck with my little girl, M, who is 1-year-old, at my side. This prevents me from having to pay a sitter or find a convenient time when my husband is home to watch her.
My friends often talk about being “behind” on their children’s swimming skills. Here, in San Francisco, it is popular to enroll your child at a swim school like La Petite Baleen before babies can even crawl. You will often hear moms comparing ribbon colors. Some take it a step further and get private lessons because they felt their child was not excelling.