We received this piece of paper after the last Swim Babies class at New York Sports Club. I mean, right after class. While we were soaking wet and starting to shiver.
I think it’s bullshit. For one, Adela spends the most time underwater because I’m a kamikaze teacher, letting her drop off the side and tread water for a few seconds before scooping her up. We pass the babies to one another, and I back up so she swims a little longer. Swim or sink, baby!
She got a “good” grade at “Pizza Arms,” but she totally S U C K S at Pizza Arms—because this stupid move is done on the stairs of the pool, and all Adela wants to do is either climb out of the pool, or swim some more.
She got a “good” grade at “Spider along the wall” which is bogus! She R O C K S at spidering along the wall. Spidering isn’t even a verb, and if it were, Adela would be a master spiderer, because I totally let go of her and she must cling to the wall for dear life. Swimming is an essential survival skill, and I treat Swim Babies like a survival course: Outward Bound Babies.
Here’s Adela eating dead flowers from a rhododendron plant I potted last summer and left all this time to become a science experiment on the Fiesta Deck (that’s what I call the deck off our kitchen. It’s festive. Join us on the Fiesta Deck.) In this photo, she is expressly disobeying my order to S T O P eating sticks.
But I digress. Report card?! She’s 14 months for Christ’s sake. Had I known there would be a report card issued, I would’ve reined her in during goddamn Pizza Arms, and made sure that she spidered from one side to the other along the wall, at least when the instructor was looking.
I’ve always been competitive about grades. It’s part of what spurred me to perform in college—maybe it’s the main thing that spurred me. An Ivy Leaguer, I took insane pleasure at elbowing my way through the crowds gathered at scoreboards during grading time at NYU. We openly compared and competed with one another. In grad school at DePaul University, the first time I asked someone, “What’d you get?” they scowled at me, and I was a little disappointed with the lack of competitiveness among my peers. I got straight As in grad school, as everyone should—by that level, you’ve chosen your life’s work and you’d better be there because you love it. I dream of getting a PhD, but I hate standardized tests. I’d take the GRE again, if I had to, so I could become an anthropologist who writes for National Geographic.
I digressed again. What I’m getting at is, today Adela was initiated into the system of academic grading (even though this was at the gym, for Christ’s sake), and myself along with her, as the parent of the graded, and I didn’t like the feeling it gave me one bit. It took me by surprise.
Does nursery school give out grades? If so, I’m going to buy that $100 Your Baby Can Read program and get started tout de suite!