Sunday, June 12, 2011

More Helpful Advice for the Suburban Mommy in the Big City

A continuation . . . 

11.  Make sure your child’s immunizations are all current.  You won’t have to worry as much about Hepatitis when a sweet little Hispanic lady says to you, “your son lick elevator.” 

12.  On the subject of hygiene, I’ve never been one of those Purell mommies.  (You know the kind that have the travel-size hand sanitizer in a little holster on the side of their purse?) I tried to make sure my boys washed their hands often when we were in the city.  They loved to hold onto the pole on the train and the thought of the thousands of people who have touched that same pole throughout the day skeeves me out.  And then of course, there’s the licking.  Again.  It SHOULD go without saying that “we don’t lick the pole,” but it’s worth emphasizing.

13.  Remember the Geriatrics at Golden Corral who are experts at raising my children?  It’s worse in the city.  There’s the added threat of having a little mommy vs. toddler screaming match at the playground documented on is a special website where random strangers can tattle on your childcare provider if she dares to talk on her cell phone or discipline your child for sticking a wet lollipop on that nice dog.  I worried that someone might assume I was a nanny, take a photo of me doing the one-arm wrangle with my toddler, and post it on the website.
I'm sure rodents don't use this sand as a litter box when we're not around . . . 

14.  There is no shame in wearing shoes that are practical for your situation.  Just because every 13-year-old girl on the Upper East Side is wearing Chanel shoes and carrying a Louis Vuitton bag does not mean that you should sport such accessories to the playground.  I once saw a Prada mommy standing on the side of the sandbox trying to coax her preschooler to get out of the sand.  That little girl knew there was NO chance her mother was gonna hop in the sandbox to retrieve her.  Since I logged a lot of time at the playground with my dirty little sand throwers, while wearing J Crew flip flops and stylish ensembles from Old Navy, I may have silently snickered at this scenario.

15.  Do not let your children play with the ashtray in taxi cabs, lest you notice something in your child’s mouth and discover that he is indeed chewing someone else’s previously chewed gum. 

16.  Hope you like pets!  We had mice while we were in New York.  Lots of them.  Hubby has never moved so fast as the day he called the exterminator and insisted he service our apartment immediately as, and I quote, “my wife is losing her sh*t.”  It started when I caught half a mouse under a plastic cup.  I’ll wait while that image sinks in. . .  HALF a mouse was caught under the cup while the back end (the half with the long tail) was wiggling furiously outside the cup.  We came home from a trip one time to find a mouse carcass in the middle of our bedroom floor. Hubby once had to call a colleague to stop by our apartment on his way home to help me dispose of a mouse, which involved us duct taping it inside a paper plate and carrying it out to the curb.  But the incident that put me over the edge was when Medium came into the family room and announced excitedly, “I petted the mouse!”

17.  Teach the kids good balance.  Climbing onto a crowded city bus with a diaper bag and your stroller strapped to your back while your children clutch the tails of your shirt so you don’t get separated does not guarantee you a seat.  Many people have little sympathy for children on public transportation.  The fact that children can’t reach the handle is irrelevant to some weary travelers, but unfortunately it means that when your bus stops suddenly for a wayward jaywalker, your kids are going to go flying towards the front of the bus with the velocity of a roller coaster.  And then you’re gonna have to put all your crap down and go retrieve them.

18.  The subway stations are a maze of germs and danger.  The trains pull into the station at breakneck speed, so when our kids were standing close to the edge of the platform so that they could count the black rats, (always a fun game!) we would tell them they couldn’t stand on the yellow warning part; instead they had to stand with their backs pressed against the wall.  It was the lesser of two evils.  Expose them to Hepatitis or risk being hit by a train?  Your pick.

19.  The preschool process is an absolute nightmare.  We applied to preschools that wanted $30,000 a year for tuition. . . to cut paper, eat glue, and draw stick figures!  Unless the school has crayons made out of pure gold, our kids aren’t going there.  We knew we were out of our league when Hubby and I went to an informational meeting and looked up to see Spike Lee sitting 3 rows behind us.  It is safe to assume that we are NOT in the same income bracket as Mr. Lee. 

20.  Know that you are being assessed when you take your child for a preschool interview.  (Yes, there are interviews.  Perhaps your child isn’t ready for ALL of the letters of the alphabet . . . )  I mistakenly showed up for an interview where Medium was taken into a playroom with other children his age and I was shuffled into a conference room with the other mothers.  I was wearing a wool sweater, jeans, and Ugg boots.  (While hideous, they are warm and comfy for city walking.)  One of the other mommies was all decked out in a fancy suit, Prada shoes, and one of those Berkin bags that Samantha coveted on Sex in the City.  Medium was not accepted at this particular preschool, although his fate was probably sealed when I asked how they handle “spirited” children. 

These are just a few helpful tips for the Minivan Driving Mommy who will need to get used to schlepping children around in the City That Never Sleeps.  (And neither will your children, until they get used to the incessant noise.)  Good luck!

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