Wednesday, June 16, 2010

LA Family Moves to New York - from the Moving Archives

November, 2006

We have been living in a sublet loft in an old feather factory on the edge of Bed-Sty, with four or five other artists and various cats. An elementary class toured through here last week, to see what it is really like to be an artist!
(Better think long and hard about it, kids.)

Wayne found, then lost, an apartment, after a month of hunting, in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, a few blocks east of the Brooklyn Museum. I've been to Manhattan all of three times, we've been so busy settling in at school. The girls are going to The Brooklyn School, a tiny (almost miniature) new Waldorf School in the Brooklyn Academy of Music. We had a rocky start, as the first day I went with Mildy (now Juliet), the kindergartners were spitting on each other, hiding under the table, punching each other; in short, I was shocked and appalled. The administrator pointed out that people around us in downtown Brooklyn are cursing like pirates and spitting all the time, and nearly all of these kids are new to Waldorf education - this is what it really means to have a "truly diverse" Waldorf experience, I guess. We had to hold tight to that Waldorf pedagogy, and give it a chance, because the teachers are lovely and very experienced. Laura went from her class of 30 genteel and kind peers to a class of 8; she is the third girl. They walk to Ft. Green park for recess twice a day, and by three oclock she is totally done in. She seems to be adapting well otherwise, enjoying Mandarin Chinese so much we are going to Chinatown for her birthday, also very excited about meeting "Mr. Plus," of the Number Gnomes. Today we (the whole school is as big as Laura's Pasadena class) visited a "farm" in Queens.

It was a slow day, as there were only 2,800 children visiting the farm, instead of the usual 4,000. They had a cow tied up on a platform, so the city kids could see what a cow looked like. There was also a Native American up on a platform! Sorry, it wasn't that bad, just surreal. All those poor children who've never caught turtles or held baby ducks. I'm already strategizing how to get to Oklahoma for the summer.

I have to say that homeschooling my 10 year-old son is very, very difficult in this situation, first because I feel like a klutz and I'm completely flying by the seat of my pants, in comparison to his lovely and gifted teacher. He can't get enough exercise - the boy is like a terrier, just needs to run and run - because we have to walk so far to the park, and our day is so short. And he desperately needs other kids, particularly young boys. Very hard on me. There has not been a minute when I have not been with one or all of my children for the last six weeks (believe it!), except when they have been asleep. This is the
disenchantment phase. Can I really do this? Everything is a grind.