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we all know raising kids is a helluva job, but once you have in kids in school, isn’t the workload supposed to get a little lighter? no way. you know my new job? Fundraiser. Class Parent. Volunteer. for someone with an open schedule, i got no free time!

i’m not complaining. (maybe just a little). the fundraising part can be fun (ha!) actually, and lord knows i love me a good class trip. but jay-sus, when you have a kid in the nyc public schools, all you ever hear about is money money money. honestly, it gets a little tedious.

but sometimes you luck into something so special that you really don’t mind writing a check or baking for the sale or asking your friends for favors. such is the case with the pre-school miss thing attends. the boy went there also, two years ago. people, this place is special. it rocks. you wouldn’t know it to look at is from the outside, which is a lesson in itself. it’s tucked away at the bottom of a huge ‘project’ building in the bronx. the elevated train rattles by 100 feet from the front door,  you’ve got to watch your step as you approach (lots of dog walkers with no access to plastic bags apparently)… you get the picture. but step inside and it’s another world.

mhns

i can say without reservation that the marble hill nursery school is the best thing that ever happened to my son. he was very shy, easily overwhelmed and not interested in being left at school – even at age 4. his teachers were incredibly patient and perceptive – they realized the old ‘he’ll cry for a few minutes and then be fine’ was not going to be the case with him. he needed a slow, easy, loving, low-key introduction to school. i remember telling my sister-in-law, who has a son the same age, about our slow approach to leaving him at school, and she expressed surprise: not that he needed it, but that the school allowed it. i felt like saying, it’s what he needs, of course they ‘allowed it’! apparently her son’s pre-school didn’t work that way, no matter what. but then again, look at our teachers: most hold masters degrees, many from bank street. they’ve been there 10 or 15 years. they could probably teach anywhere they wanted in nyc. they are extremely dedicated to the mission of this school. we’ve also got an on-staff child psychologist (we made good use of her!), and music teacher. the kids bake. they paint. they make play dough. they glue and string. they dress up and take care of the babies. they play house. they work puzzles and build with blocks and create worlds within the classrooms. the play is child-directed, with guidance from the teachers. for the kids that are there all day, there is a hot lunch and nap time. the world inside the grimy brick wall is rich indeed.

mhnskitchen

all this is to say: it takes money to make all this happen, as i’m sure you know. and, as i’m sure you’ve guessed, it takes fundraising to get that money. the school needs to raise roughly $60,000 annually. that number obviously rises each year. tuition does go up, but not really that much (maybe 2%) each year, because they don’t want to shut people out….oh yeah, that’s the other thing about this place: no one is turned away. no one. you can’t pay? we’ll give you a scholarship. This assistance has enabled hundreds of children over the years to participate in a wonderful preschool experience which has prepared them to be very successful in future school endeavors. 

the school gets some money from the board of ed, and there’s been a pretty generous contributor for several years running, but there’s still at least 30 large to raise each year. there’s an annual live auction in june which generates a good amount, but this year we need more.  so the board of directors (of which i’m part) has decided to hold an online auction this year, which i think should be really fun. and because it’s online, we can reach a pretty wide audience. 

so, we need stuff to auction. good stuff! fun stuff! handmade sells really well. tickets, gift cards, one of a kind items, you name it. 

You Can Help:

are you a yoga or pilates teacher? donate a one-on-one session! are you a photographer? donate a print! do you knit or crochet? get those fingers moving and make us something! did you write a book? sign a copy and send it our way! going to some exotic place? pick up a cool souvenier! you get the picture, right? donations are tax deductible and you’ll be our hero!

if you think you can help us out, please leave me a comment. i’m going to be really bold and ask some specific crafty and fabulous bloggers directly for a donation. i’ll get back to those of you who want to donate with info as to where to send your goods. the auction will take place in late february or early march, so we need donations soon!

thank you thank you thank you!

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so i spent the morning playdating/babysitting with three two-year-olds. i wasn’t on my own the whole time, the first hour or so was the playdate portion with another mother, but then my neighborhood friend dropped her daughter off so she could do something she really needed to do and hasn’t been able to because altho she’s married, her husband isn’t in the picture right now and she has been in babysitter hell. since i am a saint, i agree to sit for her.

lemme tell ya, sainthood ain’t what it’s cracked up to be. toddler girls shriek. a lot. and pull hair. and cry. luckily they are also cute as hell, and when well-fed, pretty entertaining. after my miss thing spent the first hour not sharing and grabbing things away from her poor playdate (and this was a first date, too. oy. wonder if playdate’s mama is ever going to want to have another with us), she finally ate some banana and veggie booty and became (relatively) normal & well-behaved. and then they started dancing. i turned on some abba and the ladies went nuts. very cute. also, caught on tape for future usage.

but then, miss thing’s little pal’s mama was way late coming to get her because of train troubles and my little *cough* angel started to get a wee bit tired. the last 45 minutes or so was a feat of negotiation and entertainment and food offerings on my part. they ate their weight in dried mango (blech). finally it was over and miss thing went down for her rather belated nap and i was thinking, well that sure sucked the life outta me, and i checked my email and found something that made my day.

a neighborhood friend of mine took my picture on saturday, quite randomly, because she’s trying to become less shy about asking to take people’s pictures. she’s a writer and a blogger (and a mother, of course). so she took a coupla pix of miss thing & myself and one of me alone and that was that. she emailed me the full-sized cute pic of me & my progeny the other day & i replied, thanks, and boy do i need a facial! nothing like an extreme close up to give you pause about the state of your skin.
anyway, she replied (and i quote):

“no way, man, you’re foxy.”

i think i’m in love.

it gets better too. she linked me to her flickr photostream, where she describes me thusly:

“Glamazon. Comrade-in-arms”.

i owe her a beer, for sure.

her flickr photstream, if you’re interested. her descriptions of the people that i know in her set are dead on (ahem, if i do say so myself), and pretty hilarious. those of you in the ‘hood: read what she wrote about zuzu. i laughed my ass off. those of you living elsewhere: it is an understatement.

later.

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my instructions to you:

read this:

eatpraylove.jpg

watch this:

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be inspired.

that is all.

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