Lasker Pool

Lasker Pool
Central Park, summer 2011

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


With three boys in elementary school, I'm pretty well acquainted with the school nurse. To wit,
"Hi, it's Nurse Marcia (name changed to protect the innocent, of course). It's not an emergency. Jesse got hit on the head by a ball at recess. He says he's fine, but he has a rather large bump on his forehead. I gave him a Band-Aid and sent him back to class. You might want to make sure he's not slurring his words tonight."
"Kyle tripped over a chair in the cafeteria at lunch when he and some of the other 5th grade boys were dancing to Lady Gaga. It's not an emergency. He's fine, but his braces might need a bit of tweaking. Hope you have coverage for the orthodontics!"
But in almost 11 years of raising boys, yesterday's message from the nurse stands out.
"Hi, it's Nurse Marcia. It's not an emergency (are you seeing a pattern here?) Seth is in my office and he says his eyes are itching and his nose is stuffed up. He thinks he may have pollen allergies. He spoke with another second-grader (I kid you not) about it and figured out that his symptoms match those for pollen allergies. He's fine, but he thinks you should take him to the doctor to get it checked out. I think he might be right about this diagnosis."
My work here is done.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Moral of the Story

So, you know how you try to instill good values in your kids?
In our house, the more sophisticated stuff is a bit beyond our grasp at the moment. But we're constantly working away on the basics of civility: be kind, be fair, take turns, share, say please and thank you, tell the truth, be a gracious winner and a good loser.
I'm thinking that the truth-telling aspect of this is not taking so well with Jesse.
He, Seth and I were sitting in their favorite fancy pizza place the other night (Dean's, where the wait staff brings thin-crust pizzas on big silver trays) when Jesse asked,"Do you think the boss here makes a lot of money? I mean, look at all these people!"
Indeed, the joint was packed with Upper West Side families, all chowing down on the yummy pizza and family-sized salads.
"I have no idea, Jess," I replied.
"Well, I'm going to sue this place," he said.
"For what?" I asked.
Jesse: "For throwing pizza at me."
Me: "But no one threw pizza at you."
Jesse, grinning: "I'm going to cover myself with pizza sauce, then call the cops.It's a trick."
Me: "Umm, but it's not true."
Jesse, grinning even more widely: "I know."
Me, trying to decide whether to pinch my child, scold him for thinking dishonestly, or try to explain the depth of the problems associated with frivolous lawsuits: "No one will believe you."
Jesse: "Why not? Would you tell them I was tricking them?"
Me: "I might, if you tried to be so dishonest. And you'd never be able to come to Dean's for pizza again."
Jesse: "No more Dean's? Okay, I'm not suing."

Friday, April 2, 2010

Carnival Economics

Today, there was, improbably, an Easter carnival in the town next to ours.
After holding the kids off until 6pm, when the carnival opened, with pizza and promises, we headed for the promised land.
It was, possibly, the cheesiest carnival I've seen in many years. And growing up in New Jersey, I've seen an awful lot of cheesy carnivals, fried Oreos and all.
First off, they had one guy running all three kiddie rides.
The slide was closed because of the cool weather. "You wouldn't really slide on it," the gap-toothed woman in the ticket booth explained.
Suspicious, no?
And the rides, which cost up to $5 a pop, looked a bit too rusty for my liking.
Still, I paid my $60 for 56 tickets, feeling pretty grumpy about shelling out so much for such a pathetic little affair.
But the boys were absolutely ecstatic, in the way that only three little guys can be. Running, jumping, twirling in the air.
So, they sat in the front car on the mild little dragon coaster (except for Jesse, who still harbors bad memories of another dragon coaster from long ago, when he and Seth were utterly freaked by the thing).
They twirled on the twirling strawberry ride.
Kyle and I even shared a bench on the Ferris wheel, where the guy smiled at a mom and son riding together and let us spin around for what felt like forever.
As we were leaving, Kyle asked if he could use his own money "the next time."
"Oh, I don't think we're going back there," I said. "It was really kind of a ripoff."
"Yeah, but look what it's doing for the economy," he said. "It's bringing money into the state and giving people jobs."
I hugged my serious little freckle-face.
"You're right," I told him. "You really know how to look at the bigger picture."
Kyle grinned. "I know, Mom," he said. "And I really know how to talk you into things."