Hard times in New York Town

Tag: References

Toddler having visibly screwed up an audition

Competition at age 2

I have finally read Wednesday Martin’s famous memoir “Primates of Park Avenue”. Her article in the New York Times went viral last year and her book made the columns for months. I didn’t like the book, but I did find some excerpts striking and amusing. Here is a particularly funny one, about auditions of young children at daycare:

Before we got our son in anywhere at all, there were applications and parent interviews and child “playdates” at the schools. The applications were easily procured (…) I scampered across the Upper East Side picking up manila enveloppes for days, then got down to work writing essays about what made my toddler special, what his strengths and weaknesses were, what kind of learner he was. Sorely tempted to write “I really don’t know yet, since he’s two“, I instead banged my head against the wall until I came up with what I hoped were some good-sport responses. Next came the playdates, which I grumblingly referred to as “auditions” because it felt more honest. They were generally scheduled during nap time, unfathomable until you consider that the schools were basically trying to exclude as many “nonsibling” kids as they could. Overtired kid had a meltdown in the play kitchen? Or smacked someone at the craft table? Or just wasn’t paying attention during story time? Better luck at another audition at another school. I will never forget the “playdate” where there was a single desirable toy – a brightly coloured play oven with knobs and lights and buttons – surrounded by a fess other, lesser toys. It was the center of a age of musical chairs rigged by admissions people who wanted to see how a bunch of tired toddlers would respond to the stress of confronting exactly what they were incapable of handling at that point in their development – the need to take turns and delay gratification and manage their own frustration under unusual circumstances. With no reward. (more…)