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Monday, February 12, 2007

apply liberally

so it recently was brought to my attention that if i wanted to get my toddler into a part-time day care program SEVEN MONTHS FROM NOW, i needed to apply, like, last year. my kid would, at this late date, be automatically placed on the waiting list.

that's right: if i wanted to get my child into a face-painting drum-circle finger-puppet virus-swapping two-day-a-week junior-statesman toddler-scrum in september, i needed to pay FIFTY DOLLARS to APPLY for the privilege ... two months ago.

so i stopped by my local nursery school that my local listserv lionizes and i said "i know i'm a bit late, but can i get an application for september's part-time two-year-old day care?" and the lady looked at me with withering scorn and said "yes. we know your kind. you are late. here is the application. we will waive the fee." not spoken: "we will waive the fee because once your child's name is known to us you will be DEAD TO THE ENTIRE CHILD-CARE COMMUNITY IN THE TRI-STATE AREA. never will your little girl find professional teaching. may she rot in hell for having you as a parent."

i took the application and thanked her. i folded it in half, flinching at the knowledge that the crease-mark in the paper would even further dampen my child's chance at landing a bottom-feeder's shot at the last slot on the waiting b-list. and then i went on my merry way.

tonight mrs. nice guy and i had a nice laugh together filling out our child's day care application, the humiliating form we submitted in search of adequate care FOR A TWO-YEAR-OLD just TWO HALF-DAYS A WEEK. here is what we would have preferred to have answered. i swear to you these are the actual questions (but, for the more-literal minded among you, not the actual answers) on the application for day care we just filled out for an ALMOST-TWO YEAR OLD:

  • What do you enjoy most about your child? The way she looks in fishnets. Also: the fact that she now knows how to operate a bottle-opener. HIGH FIVE!
  • What concerns you most about your child? Where to begin! She's so short, it's totally weird. I mean she looks like a tiny little grown-up, but she's kind of a spaz. Like, enough with the pants-crapping already! She's had two years to figure out that poop stinks. Right? Also ... this is between you and me, but I am not entirely convinced she's mine. Like, you should see the way she dances whenever Hall & Oates is on the box. I mean, come on, "Private eyes are watching you?!?!?" Two words: Not My Kid.
  • What preschool program or group experience (if any) has your child previously attended? I bring her to all my Crank Anonymous sessions. Does that count?
  • Preferences of classmates you would have in your child's class for September? Oh that's easy: No Jews.
  • Is your child toilet trained? She's trained to sit quietly and watch daddy conduct his affairs, if that's what you mean!
  • Does your child dress independently? This is an interesting question. Independently of what? Of the current mode? I'd say she does! This was Fashion Week in NYC, in case you hadn't noticed, and NOT ONCE did she demand a little more Marc Jacobs in her style section. Like, WTF? OK, fine, she exhibited a little preference for Prouenza Schouler, but I mean, how common! They have a line at Target, for Christ's sake! And I like Alice Temperley as much as the next Babyshambles douche, but FUCK!, this is my child we're talking about, after all! All I'm saying is, don't be surprised if you see her in some Isabel Toledo "couture haberdashery" Anne Klein shit come autumn, bitches!
  • Does your child receive any special services, i.e., occupational therapy? Oh yes, thank you for asking! The "job of living" requires so much for our child. Like, for example, making sure you feel sorry enough for her to accept her into your program despite the lateness of this application. There's an extra C-spot in it for you!
  • Toys or books your child enjoys: Hmm, do the toys she finds under mommy's side of the bed that make a buzzing noise and wiggle all funny count?
  • Other comments: Have you ever had that dream where you really have to go to the bathroom and you're in this public space and all your high-school classmates are there and you're naked and running late for your math final (for which you are totally unprepared), so you sprint to the nearest toilet but it's clogged with shit and everyone's looking at you and you start shrinking and they all become laughing giants and you realize that one of them is your own daughter and suddenly you're the one who's wearing a diaper? Man, I have that dream all the time. Any idea what it means?

oh who am i kidding? i love "private eyes." come here, oates, snuggle up and tickle me with that gorgeous 'stache.


Anonymous Mrs. Bojangles said...

Those applications are a bitch, aren't they?

Our daughter did a brief stint in daycare this winter. At our first parent-teacher meeting, the lead teacher asks us of our then 9-month old, "What are her hobbies? What does she enjoy?" My husband and I stall, looking all perplexed at each other, reading each other's mind "Did she say HOBBIES? Fucking hobbies for a 9-month old?", then both proudly exclaim together, "Tits!" Yes, tits. She really likes tits. Uhh, breasts. My wife's breasts. Yes, my breasts. I mean she's really into breastfeeding. Oh yeh, she can't get enough of breastfeeding. Loves the breastfeeding. Loves tits umm breasts.

We didn't make a lot of friends at daycare.

Oh, happy belated birthday to you! Today's my birthday. Thanks for the hilarious post to wrap up the day.

2/13/2007 12:39 AM  
Anonymous Jenn said...

lol - love those questions. I make a lot of stuff up on our applications - we've hit up multiple sites to cover our asses - and have had the hobbies/ extracurricular activities questions too. I know that my 8 month old now has more of a life than I do, but repeatedly writing it down on daycare forms is a bit torturous...

2/13/2007 12:47 AM  
Blogger Surviving Motherhood said...

Lets just hope she passes the drug screening and the multiple choice personality type quiz eh?!

2/13/2007 6:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love you when you're angry.

Your Brooklyn Neighbor

2/13/2007 9:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you meant "waive."

2/13/2007 9:27 AM  
Blogger mr. nice guy said...

no, anon 9:27, i typed "wave" and i meant "wave." as in: "we will take your $50 and wave it under your nose while we laugh at you and your silly daughter!"

but i see your point: "waive" is less confusing, so i changed it.

2/13/2007 10:51 AM  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

'Does she dress independently? Ok, fine... she exhibited a preference for Proenza Schouler...'

Laughed. Out. Loud.

2/13/2007 10:53 AM  
Anonymous Glennia said...

Out here in California, people camp out over night outside the school to get their kid into pre-school on registration day. It's like the opening of a new Star Wars movie. Insane. Just insane.

2/13/2007 11:08 AM  
Anonymous BrooklynGirl said...

We skipped even considering programs that required an application because I just couldn't face them--or the interview playdates--without copious quantities of liquor.

2/13/2007 6:07 PM  
Anonymous sisco said...

We moved to PDX so we could live next door to a group of BMX bikers who don't work because they're professionals (seriously, have you ever heard of Ryan Sher? I hate him. Look at his finger:,15737,1545230,00.html. I've seen that finger a lot) and partied all night long. Outside. About five feet from our daughters bedroom window. When I couldn't take the glares from their trashy 16-year-old girlfriends any longer, I got them kicked out. I did! They were renters! So am I. But anyway.

I honestly can't tell why I'm supposed to send my toddler to preschool--and, really, the waiting lists for montessori and waldorf, which is all that's offered in pdx, are prohibitive. Kidding.

I mean, I don't want her getting bored at home with the nanny, but I don't want to send her off to some freaking institution either (I don't care how interested they seem in her hobbies, they got more than they can handle). So, you know, I'm bringing her to some music classes once a week so she can get something instructional going, and begin to understand that other children who are strangers exist and that she is one of many. Maybe for the year before kindergarten starts we'll send her to a school so she can learn how to follow orders. If we get on the list now. She just turned two.

Oh, and I know that "literal-minded" comment was for me. I once had a poetry professor tell me I was "frontal"--yeah, Wayne Koestenbaum told me I was frontal.

2/14/2007 12:47 PM  
Anonymous sheameister said...

Oh, Lordy. Funniest post in weeks, IMO. I'm so glad I checked in today.

I put my son on the Duke daycare waitlist when I was two, yes TWO, months pregnant. We hadn't even started telling people I was knocked up yet. Insane. He's just shy of two YEARS old now and we still haven't made it off the damn list. In lieu of daycare, I just keep him chained under my desk.

2/14/2007 2:54 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

I love your answers. Fortunately my daughter's preschool application was fairly low key but one of my friend's applied to a local where at the interview, yes interview, she was asked how she saw her family as diverse. She's Korean, her husband is German and they have a daughter with Down's Syndrome. She had no words for them.

2/14/2007 3:02 PM  
Blogger Leslie Kauffman said...

Thanks for this great post. We're also in Brooklyn and have completely opted out of preschool for our nearly-three-year-old twins ... this kind of bullshit is a significant part of the reason why.

2/14/2007 5:21 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...

go Sara, linking Mr. Nice Guy to Babble. Maybe you'll be the next big parenting blogger, you'll make a fortune with your book deal.

2/14/2007 6:12 PM  
Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said...

Hilarious! But, I now have Hall & Oates running through me head.

2/14/2007 10:28 PM  
Blogger cheer34 said...

Is this actually the state of day care?? My kids were in daycare 17 years ago. No applications, signed up 1 month before I needed daycare, paid first week that was it. (obviously I checked out the day care schools before choosing one)The only worry was a behavior chart for my son. He could not sit still. Imagine a 3 year not being able to sit still.

How much does day care cost now? I paid $120.00 a week for both kids, full time.

2/15/2007 10:27 AM  
Blogger elise said...

you have a gift. i burnt my kid's soy dog I was L so OL.

2/15/2007 12:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

reason # 8,736 why i'm going to have to move away from a highly desirable and over-educated metropolitain area.

if you ever get the chance, could you please comment on this bright idea?

2/16/2007 3:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think im pretty cool because I can predict when the clapping part is about to happen in the Hall and Oats song. My wife probably thinks im pretty cool too because i usually act it out to prove it.

But what I really want to know is where does the guy put the magnifying glass from the opening shot of the video? Do you think there was a pillow by his feet that he tossed it on so it wouldn't break? Rewatch the video and let me know.

Sorry about the preschool shananagins.

2/19/2007 4:50 PM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

Ohyeah, Anonymous?
I, too, was clapping all over the dining room to the H&O here in Chicago... But I'm more of a Halls fan. :)

2/21/2007 5:19 PM  
Anonymous RookieMom Heather said...

I love Hall & Oates, I'm glad to hear that one was the lie.

2/23/2007 11:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm curious to know how it went for you. Here in SF my friend was told by one preschool that she was too late in applying because she had waited until her son was actually born to fill out the app. No joke. She was supposed to have submitted it in utero.

Have we lost our minds????

8/30/2007 1:59 PM  

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