Posts tagged Brooklyn
Posts tagged Brooklyn
Spring time hijinks at Forest School this week.
It’s been fun to watch Milo’s evolution over the course of three sessions (18 months) of this Waldorf-inspired playgroup. He was 18 months or so when we first started, and all he was interested in doing was roaming around and exploring. He never wanted to sit and play with mud or dig for worms. His version of circle/song time was to run in circles around everyone else while they sat and sang or watched a puppet show. Snack time (fresh baked brown bread rolls with butter and apple butter with hot herbal tea) was the only activity he participated in with full and undivided attention.
Fast forward to this spring. He’s discovered the joys of digging for worms in the meadow, and as one of the “big kids” (his words), he’s taken it upon himself to help pour out water for the “babies” to make mud with. He points out the turtles in the pond to everyone, and tells me to “come on, mama, want to go in my fowest with me?” as we walk around the paths in the woods. When it’s time to return to the meadow for circle time, he runs happily back, sings loudly and enthusiastically, and watches the puppet show with rapt attention. His love for snack time continues unabated, except that now once he’s nibbled off the butter and apple butter, he hands off the last few bites of each roll to Zachary with a “here Zacky, you have dis muffin, you want it?”
I know that a playgroup called “Forest School” might seem a little silly to those of you who live in a rural area or small town where a trip into the woods means going out into your backyard. That’s the kind of town I lived in as a young child, and I know there’s a lot of joy in exploring the woods and being outside among the trees when you’re a kid. An urban park, even one as beautiful and wild as Prospect Park, can’t truly replicate the experience of being outside in a real forest, but at least it gives city kids a small sense of the beauty of nature.
Just because it’s 41 degrees outside doesn’t mean you can’t have fun at the playground. Zachary was immensely pleased that he got to ride in the swing and not just sit around in the stroller.
(I mean, I personally do not have fun at the playground when it’s 41 degrees outside, but apparently my feelings don’t have anything to do with the matter. I’m only the mother, after all.)
Outside of the loss of the internet for a few hours and few flickering lights, our neighborhood made it through the storm relatively unscathed. I imagine there’s quite a bit of debris outside on the ground from all of the trees that line our streets, but there was no flooding and no power outages. I did get a demonstration of just how drafty and shitty our living room windows are from watching my hanging philodendron plants dance in front of them all night, animated from the gusts of wind rattling the panes. We ate roasted chicken and drank tequila, checked the internet for storm updates and watched a Danish movie that Matt’s company is going to put out.
It’s hard to believe that while we were having a nice quiet evening at home, neighborhoods that are within walking distance from us were flooding and losing power.
The MTA seems pretty screwed. I guess we’ll find out more today about the extent of damage and when the subway will be back up and running. The Brooklyn Battery Tunnel is flooded from end to end, cars are floating down Avenue C in the city, 50 houses out in the Rockaways burned down, and NYU Hospital in the East 30s had a complete power failure and all patients had to be evacuated to other city hospitals, including NICU babies who had to be carried down nine flights of stairs to waiting ambulances.
And yet, if you look out our windows, it just looks like we had a particularly windy night. It’s a little surreal.
It was grey and gloomy yesterday afternoon, but the rain held off all day. After nap, I asked Milo if he’d like to go outside. “NO!!!” was the answer. He ran off to play with his trains. Later, he put some Curious George stickers on a piece of a paper (and in his hair), then did some crayon scribbling for a whole eight minutes or so. That’s the longest he’s spent doing any inside, non-train related activity in months, so maybe going to preschool is having an effect after all.
Finally, around 5:30, it started to rain. Pour, actually. Naturally, Milo asked to go outside. “It’s WAININ’ MAMA! Go outside?” So we did.
He hopped off his scooter a few times to stomp in some good puddles.
Rode his scooter through the rain like a man possessed, fueled by his desire to always “go faster? fastest?” weather be damned, stopping abruptly at each corner to wait for mama.
He’s discovered a favorite route around the neighborhood for these afternoon walks. He knows which are the longest blocks with the smoothest sidewalks that will require the least amount of stopping and disembarking. He also found a tiny little ramp by an elementary school. “I go fast, mommy. Watch!” as he pushes furiously down the ramp. I stand guard on the sidewalk to catch him before he can zip out into the street. It’s a fun game.
Then we walk down to Fulton Street to the health food store, where he pops his head in and greets the store owner with a “Hi guys! How doin’?” The owner is a really nice guy who’s seen Milo around since he was born and always comments on how big he’s getting. He also has a lollipop ready for Milo each time, which is, of course, why Milo loves this store so much. “Thank you VERY much! BYE!” he calls out. Then he hands the scooter over to me, “you hold this pwease,” so he can concentrate on the important task of eating his lollipop. I’ve offered to pay for the lollipops several times, but the guy always waves me off with a smile and “that’s what they’re there for!” I love my neighborhood.
The sun is out today for the first time this week. I assume this means that Milo will get stroppy this afternoon for some reason or another and refuse to go outside.
(Also, sorry for the crappy cell phone pics. I can’t find our camera anywhere, which is a major bummer because I feel like I’m missing out on documenting Zachary’s days. Sad face.)
When you live in the city, you make your own swimming hole. (Or at least, you go to the sprinklers in the late afternoon when the big kids show up and place plastic bags over the center drain hole and make it for you.)
Even though it’s only early December, it turns out that we got a late start on the preschool application process. It’s not that we’re trying to get into some crazy Manhattan preschool that requires an interview and testing and costs like $28,000 a year (although we do have a few of those in Brooklyn, too…looking at you, St. Ann’s with your $24,000 a year tuition), but there is a limit to the affordable options and there are a lot of parents applying. I made my preschool spreadsheet and duly started the process, ruling out all the schools whose Fall/Winter tours were already closed. I’m trying to focus on the schools with 2s program that are either 2 full days a week or 3 mornings (although the latter option only works if the school is within our neighborhood). It’s not that I think the boy really needs to be in preschool next year, but I think he’ll enjoy it a lot, since the alternative might be a lot of sitting around at home with mama and the new baby. If there’s one thing that Milo hates, it’s sitting around.
Matt and I went on our second preschool tour this morning. This one, at the Early Childhood Center at Congregation Beth Elohim in Park Slope, was much more successful than the Waldorf school tour. For one thing, we didn’t have to sit through an adult chorus made up of gangly white ladies with unkempt eyebrows singing African folk songs. So, you know, CBE automatically gets one point in their favor for that.
The Waldorf tour was…underwhelming. The school facility itself was lovely. The classrooms were, as expected, very Waldorfian - all wooden things and knitting needles and balls of yarn and cozy feelings. I was feeling pretty positive about it all, until we sat down in the auditorium for a Q&A session with the Director of Admissions and a few teachers. After the aforementioned adult chorus, the real trouble began.
Like the majority of New Yorkers, we survived Hurricane Irene with nary a scratch and only the most minor of inconveniences. Unfortunately, not all city residents had it so easy. Staten Island didn’t fare so well and bore the brunt of the storm, and several neighborhoods there will be bailing and pumping out over the next week. There were a few instances of minor flooding in parts of Brooklyn like Red Hook (of course, if it’s your basement that’s flooded, it probably doesn’t seem so minor) and around the Gowanus. We heard that there were people frolicking, post-storm, in the flooded streets around the Gowanus. If you know anything at all about Brooklyn, you may be aware of the notorious Gowanus Canal, an officially designated Superfund site. Whatever, idiots. Hope you enjoyed your dip in toxic waste, syphilis, gonorrhea and fecal contamination bacteria!
ANYWAY! We stayed inside, watched some movies, played with crayons and play dough, and tried to channel Milo’s manic energy the best we could. He clopped around in his rain boots for a while, touched literally everything in the apartment like ten times, pulled out scads of books and ate all the tips off his crayons. Good lord, it was the longest 24 hours of my life thus far.
As the storm subsided on Sunday afternoon, we ventured out for a bit over to our friend Aubrey’s birthday party in Bed Stuy. Milo chased her cats, cadged potato chips off the grown ups, spit out a mouthful of Jaime’s guacamole in disgust, and wandered around the backyard until we realized that there was like three years worth of tiny shards of broken glass from wild parties wedged into the ground, all of which Milo was drawn to like a moth to the flame. After he tried one too many times to steal sips from people’s cups (guess he hasn’t seen enough E! True Hollywood Story episodes of Drew Barrymore and Tatum O’Neal to know what a slippery slope that can be for a kid), we figured the sort-of-baby-friendly portion of the party was quickly drawing to a close. But not before Aubrey went upstairs and put on her Miracle Woman birthday pants. These pink silk pants, embroidered with the words “Miracle Woman” on the thighs, have been a key part of the Aubrey birthday experience for the last three years; I believe she found them in the trash one drunken night in the good old days.
I was in such a funk last week. Between Matt not being around at all because of work and the boy becoming this clingy, whiny thing that was just constantly climbing all over me and screeching in my ear, I had one of those weeks where you maybe have one of those teensy tiny little fantasies of emptying your bank account and taking off for some tropical island where there are no children allowed. I’m sure that island exists somewhere.
After a somewhat bleak Friday night, most of which was spent with me glowering to myself on the couch, Saturday dawned as a new day. I pressed upon Matt the need for him to do most of the parenting that weekend so that I could recharge a little. After breakfast, Matt dropped me off at the nail salon and took the boy to Fairway with him to do some grocery shopping. By the time they picked me up, I was feeling much better. Amazing what a little sunshine, 60 minutes of alone time and a pint of Guinness can do to improve a girl’s spirits.
Friend Eric was in town from SF this weekend, so some other friends hosted a bbq in his honor down at their place in Kensington (Brooklyn nabe). It was like taking a day trip to suburbia (or Queens, I guess), with its detached houses, driveways and little yards. The rhythmic thump-thwacking of a basketball bouncing from the asphalt to the backboard as a father/daughter duo shot hoops in the driveway next door was enough to mentally transport me out of NYC for a few hours. Milo went nuts with excitement, showed off his dimply snaggletooth smile for all the ladies and was especially thrilled with watching Mike water his tomato plants. As for me, well, after a few beers and some burgers cooked on the grill, I was back in a mommy state of mind.