Friday, March 05, 2010

In Which I Make Fun Of Rich Folks' Problems

[Welcome to this humble blog, Stumblers! For more hard-hitting (ahem) reporting on the alarming trend of wealth making you stupid, go here. Or here .]

This New York Times article discussing the increasing use of occupational therapists to teach young children how to write makes it apparent that, like many of the academic ailments we ascribe to our children these days, the current scourge of "dysgraphia" is most likely due to the unfortunate collision of normal child development and too-high academic expectations.

Wait! Make that the unfortunate collision of normal child development, too-high academic expectations and an extraordinary amount of disposable income, as is apparent from another quote in the same article:

“Even with the economy like it is, the hottest question when we socialized at our country house this summer was not what country club do you belong to, but who is your child’s O.T. back in the city. And how can I get an appointment?”

Let's see....I think the key words in the above statement are "country house," don't you? Higher-than-average household income is a better predictor of a kid's "needing" handwriting coaching than anything else would be. Let us pity the rich folks and their problems. As Joel Achenbach once complained, "The problem with affluence is it's so expensive."

Oh, and here is my favorite quote, from a parent explaining what drove him to seek therapy for his 3-year-old:

“The nursery admission people tell you they want your child to be ready to learn how to write,” said the father, who spoke anonymously so his son wouldn’t run afoul of nursery school administrators.

Afoul? Afoul of nursery school administrators? Now that is one movie I cannot wait to see. I hope it stars Bruce Willis as a divorced dad, desperate to prove his worthiness to his ex-wife by getting his preschooler into the finest nursery school money can buy. Yet, sinister nursery school administrators will make this an all but impossible task. Coming soon to movie theaters near you - Cry Hard! One man against the formidable forces of nursery school evil - can he possibly win?

You know, I get almost as many "hits" on my blog when I don't post as when I do. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I even picked up an extra Follower by not showing up for a week. If I promise to go away for a whole month, do you think I'd have as many Followers as VodkaMom?

And where have I been, anyway? I've been busy not cleaning my refrigerator, that's where. It's a very time-consuming form of procrastination. Also, I began to suffer an unfortunate addiction to the word game Scramble on Facebook. As in, I would start playing after putting the children to bed and suddenly the sun would be coming up and the kids would be coming down the stairs in their jammies looking for breakfast.

Well, not really - but almost. So I had to quit cold turkey. It's all behind me now. I'm clean, I swear it.


  1. Part of my evening walk was spent pondering where you've gone to. I'm serious! I'm glad to know you're okay and it's not monsters, just words, that are eating you alive.

    And I LOVE the first part of your post. I declare, some people have NO common sense.

  2. I maybe got through 3 paragraphs, so take my comments with a grain of salt, but first of all, KINDERGARTNERS SHOULD NOT BE DOING WORKSHEETS! It is completely developmentally correct for five-year-old's hand, especially a boy's hand, to "get tired" from too much writing. Nope, I'm not a doctor. I have no credentials whatsoever. Just my opinion that kindergartners shouldn't be writing overmuch. Know what they should be doing? All those fine-motor activities that pricey OT is having those kids do, that's what. I remember reading somewhere that kids were getting to school unable to use scissors because their parents didn't let them have any because they might cut stuff. Paper, their fingers, whatever. Safety scissors. When my current kindergartner was two, cutting paper would keep him occupied for huge chunks of time (give him some scotch tape and I had at least an hour to myself). But then we're not rich, so we're forced to give our children paper, scissors, and tape to play with...

    You know my point--stop rushing the kids, and let them do what's developmentally appropriate at the right ages, and maybe all these fancy-shmancy problems will decrease.

  3. I missed you. I am a little put off by your addiction; I hope you seek help; but I missed you. Good post.

  4. I swear, those games will bring about the end of civilization as we know it.

  5. My daughter is in kindergarten and when she started I couldn't believe that she had HOMEWORK four nights a week! What the hell? It's kindergarten! And the sheer volume of paper worksheets that come home is seriously disturbing. Even in Asian countries like Japan, where they take education dead-serious, kids that are kindergarten age are still learning through play. The status of our educational system is such a mess.

    And I used to part-time "nanny" for some of those affluent families. It would drive my mom nuts because she had to raise four kids with no help and survived. But I was paid for being a sub-in mommy and could take my toddler with me. So, when it comes to those richie-riches, let 'em spread the money wherever they please!

  6. I had my go-round with Scramble last spring. It started out okay--every day I would play a few games and always beat my high score. Then, one dark day, I got a really high score. I had to play more and more games each day in an attempt to top that score. I never did. I had to go the cold turkey route, too.

  7. Exactly. Do you know in Denmark, where they have some of the highest performing students academically in the world, they don't even introduce the alphabet to their kids until the age of SEVEN!

    As a teacher it is very frustrating!

  8. "Country house" ... whimper.

  9. I definitely can't wait to see "Cry Hard." This kind of nonsense is what started me on the path to homeschooling to begin with...

  10. I'm laughing b/c my 5yo is having an OT evaluation for his "pencil grip" on Tuesday, right after seeing his speech therapist. I feel quite wealthy right now, but I want to know where my country house is dammit!

  11. LOVE this! The other day when those insipid "Your Baby Can Read!" DVD commercials were on TV, my She-Twin (8) said, "Why in the world do babies need to read? That's what the mom is for."

    From the mouths of babes...

    Have a great weekend, Wise Woman!

  12. I know this woman and I try with all my might to find the good in her. On most days, it's excruciatingly hard. She's all about the showcasing of all her material goods, which to me . . . who the freak cares. I laughed when I read your post. She has 3 daughters who each have their own personal soccer trainers and of course, each one of them has their own OT. Ridiculous doesn't even begin to describe it.

    I thought of you this week. I have these refrigerated drawers that are separate from my fridge. We keep them stocked full of the goodies from the earth, fruits and veggies at the children's disposal. We were away for a few days and came back to the smell of rotting produce. The drawers' cooling unit, died. All that lovely produce down the drain. Oh well, at least it got a good cleaning.

  13. "Cry Hard"--you are so good at satire! Seriously, some people have more money than sense.

  14. oh, i missed you so! I was actually planning to email when I saw this post. Nobody makes me laugh like this! I too have me gripes with the system. I also went to school in the former USSR, and it started at 7. Guess what - it was a much better education overall. sigh. Now my kids started learning alphabet at 2 or so. Why or why? Could somebody please give kids their childhood?

  15. I was talking to another mom this week, and she was asking me if my daughter was always as active as she was at that moment- we both have 2 1/2 year olds, and my daughter was running around all over the place. (We were at one of those kiddie gyms where they can run free.) When I replied that she was, she told me that this was the only place where her son would run around. Allegedly, he does not do so at home and only likes to sit and draw and practice writing his alphabet. It was all I could do not to reply, "Oh wow! Even when you take his shock collar off?". Sorry lady, not buyin' it.

    I understand about disappearing for a few days. Sometimes life just gets a little too hectic to post. Glad you're back!

  16. Oh, crap! I didn't know I was supposed to worry about all this stuff. I just let my kids write messy and didn't worry about it. Now I'm afraid I've failed them.... :)

  17. i thought teaching kids to read was their parents job? maybe they should stop going to the club and pay attention to their own kids? novel idea, eh?

  18. Oh man. That? That's just funny stuff. To have their problems--imagined/invented/inflated made so newsworthy reminds me again how "in touch" the press is with real people and their lives.

  19. "Cry Hard"
    You. Are. Brilliant.

    I understand a fellow addict, so I'll just continue wrestling with my sugar addiction (and the Easter chocolate, oh my, look at the Easter chocolate!) and keep myself away from the Scramble.
    And Facebook, but that's another kettle of fish.

  20. Ha!
    As the mother of a child who actually had an OT for REAL problems, the idea of getting one to help with HANDWRITING boggles my freaking MIND.

  21. I often think when I read comments like yours about rich people that if I were rich, I would not fall victim to such ridiculous practices. I wonder, though, if that this the truth or if I'm just deluding myself?



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