Someone told me it’s all happening at the zoo…

Yesterday, the Things and I trekked out to the Bronx Zoo for our first “official” homeschool event.  It was a class for 2-4 year-old homeschoolers, and of course a chance for them to “socialize.”  All in all, a disappointment.

Firt of all, I don’t drive anymore.  Between dealing with Builder’s Explorer (he’s one of the few people who can justify ownership of an SUV, but I still hate the thing) and dealing with bad New York drivers (see my post on Boro Park WMDs), I am sticking with public transportation, car services and walking.  Fortunately, car services do provide car seats.  (Hey, I learned something new!)  So we took a car service out to the Bronx.  True, there is a stop for the zoo off the 5 train, but who in their right mind is going to shlep two babies and a double stroller up and down all those damn stairs?

(Yeah.  Turned out the babysitter was a flake.)

So we get there, and despite the class being listed on Jewish Homeschoolers of NYC, I was the only Jewish family there.  I don’t mind my kid getting a little diversity, but I knew Builder wouldn’t be too happy.  Also, none of the parents, myself included, were actually homeschooling yet!  All of them had brought their oldest children, 2 and 3 year olds.  Some had decided they would homeschool, some were yuppie parents weighing their options, but none of them were really “official” yet.  (If your kid’s under six, you ain’t homeschooling.  Sorry.) 

So, we get to the classroom in the Gorilla House, and I could tell right away that the class leader was expecting an older crowd.  I guess she didn’t get the memo that everyone in the class would be under 4.  She expected everyone to sit still and listen, know their letters, and accomplish all of these feats without parental help.  Once she figures out that this group still has some members in diapers (including Thing 1), she has to switch gears very quickly.  So, she pulls out a frog puppet, which Thing 1 immediately covets.  When the puppet goes away,  Thing 1 lets me, and the entire class, know that she wannnnts it back.  Right at the top of her lungs.  Yeah, not one of our prouder moments.  I soon find out, however, that the yuppie parents have been dragging their kids to events like this for quite a while, and their little ones know how to behave.  Only one other member of the group has a younger sibling, and by younger, I mean practically Thing 1’s age.  So, not only am I behind on the “socialization,”  I’m also breeding too much.

After we match a few animals to the letters their names start with, then the fun begins.  We get to see live animals!  A chinchilla and a turtle put in an appearance, and I actually get Thing 1 to sit still long enough to pet both animals.  Finally, as little attention spans begin to wander, we take a tour of the Gorilla House.  After the class, I walk around with a couple of the other parents, and find out that winter is not the best time for a trip to the zoo.  Many of the exhibits are closed because of the weather.  So the other parents and I make our way to the giraffe house, and I find out that there’s an art class for toddlers at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  The 3-year-old “student” in this class lets me know that “Perseus” holds Medusa’s head.  And I thought Thing 1 was doing well correctly identifying the color pink.

However, the day wasn’t a total loss.  I did meet the mom who put the class together, and she is a real homeschool mom, in that her kid is actually old enough to be homeschooling.  We talked for a while about the logistics of organizing a meetup in Central Park for the homeschoolers on the board.   Finally, people to talk shop with!  How to find materials for limudei kodesh!  And, of course, how to navigate New York tricky homeschool laws!

Should I go back next week?  Naah!

Published in: on February 26, 2009 at 4:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

Mom’s Day Out

Well, I think I may have found a babysitter.  Now comes the moment I’ve been waiting almost a year for–Mom’s Day Out!  Five glorious hours without my kids!

Don’t get me wrong; I love my kids.  BUT–after a year of being with them 24-7, I seriously need a break.  Since this is going to be a weekly ritual, I need to figure out what to do first.  Do I:

-Take a nap without having hardback books and toys thrown at my head

-Eat a meal without having to stop every five minutes to nurse a baby, while “sharing” half of it with a toddler who salivates over it, takes two bites, and then won’t touch it

-Read a book without pictures or rhyming text

-Get a mani/pedi

-Catch a movie

-Take in a Broadway matinee

-Buy fabric

-Crochet

Decisions, decisions.  I’ll let everyone know how it went

Published in: on February 14, 2009 at 8:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

Boro Park WMD’s

Since our country invaded Iraq, we’ve heard a lot of talk about WMD’s.  Which countries have them?  Will they use them against us?  How prevalent are they?  Unfortunately, there are many WMD’s right here in our own backyards, capable of injuring or killing many innocent people.

The weapons in questions?  Carelessly driven vehicles.

One afternoon, I was out with the Queen Mom and Things 1 and 2 in their Graco Duo Glider.  We reached the intersection of 19th Avenue and 50th St., and prepared to cross.  Now, the intersection in question has a stop sign.  So we were totally unprepared for not one, not two, but five cars running that stop sign, one right after the other!  All five were driven by frum Jews.  To make matters worse, there is a school right on that corner.  Those drivers who ran that stop sign were putting every child and teacher in that school at risk.

I wish I could say that this is an isolated incident.  Unfortunately, it is not.  I have lost count of the number of times I have been almost hit by a driver running a stop sign, turning against a light, or drving while on a cell phone.  Most, if not all of them, were frum people!

To all drivers: Yes, I know this city is crowded.  Yes, I know that you’re in a hurry.  But road laws were not put in place to annoy you.  They are there to protect other drvers and pedestrians.  The old couple on Ocean Parkway that you nearly ran over could be your parents.  The mother with her baby carriage could be your sister (when it comes to bad driving, women are just as guilty as men).  The schoolchildren could be your own children.  Bad driving is not only unsafe, it is a major chillul Hashem.  Please remember the following

1. Stop signs are not suggestions.  Same goes for red lights.

2. The pedestrian in front of you is not surroundeed by two tons of steel and padding.  You are.  In case of an accident, the odds are slightly in your favor.  Please give them the right of way.

3. Unless you are in Hatzoloh or Shomrim, there is no excuse to be driving and talking on a cell phone.  Studies have shown the combination can cause more accidents than drinking and alcohol.  If you need to call someone, pull off the road.  If someone is calling you, let it go to voicemail.  (And, if you are in Hatzoloh, the only excuse is getting directions to save someone’s life.  I’d better see a siren on.)

4. I don’t really want to hear excuses about “the obnoxious guy behind you.”  Let him honk.  If he wants to run the stop sign, fine.  It’s his ticket.  Don’t let it be yours.

Yes, New York has a reputation for obnoxious drivers.  But frum Jews should not be among them.  We are not permitted to eat or dress like the goyim around us.  We shouldn’t have to drive like them.

Published in: on January 12, 2009 at 10:48 am  Leave a Comment