Keeping Mum

Dita De Boni looks at the trials and tribulations of being a parent.

Urban Baby-related madness

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Many US parents spend thousands of dollars trying to get their toddlers into the 'right' preschools in the hope they will be set on the path to an Ivy League education. File photo / Bay of Plenty Times
Many US parents spend thousands of dollars trying to get their toddlers into the 'right' preschools in the hope they will be set on the path to an Ivy League education. File photo / Bay of Plenty Times

If anyone who is a regular reader of this column thinks some of the comments left at the bottom of each page are a bit harsh, get a reality check at urbanbaby.com.

The New York-based site specialises in chat. That is, mummy-chat. For New York mums, apparently, that can be anything from how to get their kids into the best private kindies, to whether to have a Brazilian wax or go au natural (and whether you should have a Brazilian before giving birth), or if your nanny needs to be informed there are three nanny cams pointed at her at all times.

The site is overwhelmingly preoccupied with getting toddlers into the best preschools and kindergartens. It is replete with testimonies about various schools and their teachers.

One parent complained the school sent all its kids' artwork to a psychiatrist for evaluation! Lord knows what would have been made of my son's "one red piece of macaroni and 25 pieces of sellotape" masterpiece from my last post.

Whatever it was, it probably would have disqualified him from Harvard! Because, after all, almost every single anxiety expressed is about getting into the right schools.

It is truly amazing the lengths many US parents will go to to get their children on to the "ivy league" fast track.

As detailed here, many a parent will pay thousands of dollars to get their kids trained up for the "Baby SATS", or standardised tests taken by four-year-olds to pass or fail them for the best schools.

I guess the New Yorkers would have a few opinions about the current Kiwi discussion about National Standards.

For Americans, especially in urban centres, there seems nothing strange about being tested incessantly as a preschooler and then having your result lock you into extremely good or extremely mediocre educational environments for the rest of your academic life - especially if your parents' fortunes cannot mitigate bad test results.

Back to Urban Baby, where the free-ranging topics and brutal treatment of posters is addictive.

I found myself engrossed in a conversation initiated by one OP (Original poster) who appeared to claim she'd been given the nod and wink for her child to attend an elite kindergarten.

Her crime was simply to ask whether it might be possible that her child had been accepted without official notification - and crucially, before anyone else's child had been notified.

In response, she was threatened with being reported to the school for defaming it; she was outed and shamed; called a liar; told she was a lucky b****, and also told to "go f***" herself.

If you like people getting hammered, flamed, and generally chewed out, go to Urban Baby for a little light entertainment.

After all, if topics like breastfeeding, uniform colours, and yummy mummy fashions don't bring out the death threats, they're not being done right. Right?!

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