Thingish Things

Übermoms, Überdaughters

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Jan• 08•12

Nothing like a trip to a West Side children’s theater to make one feel normal – and lacking. I was one of a handful of fathers at the 11:00 performance today of “Pinkalicious” on West 60th Street, and it was like wandering into a super-mom convention.

The lady on my left was speaking French to her daughter; the lady behind me was planning to write a book with hers (they resolved on the spot to undertake a study of Manhattan cupcakes – vanilla and house-specials – over a period of a year and publish their notes and photographs for the mommy market.) The lady in front of me had three daughters, one of whom engagingly disagreed with a statement I offered my daughter. Before I could strike up a chat with this delightful young soul, the word “boundaries” was spoken twice, once sharply at her and once apologetically to me.  “Um, it’s okay,” I said wondering what the girl had done wrong.

There were around 200 seats in the theater, and there must have been twice that many graduate degrees. One could feel them – see them – manifested in the organic snacks and flash cards popping out in the minutes before the curtain opened.  “Want another Twizzler, Gigi,?” I half-whispered. (I forgot the Jujyfruits.)

Here’s what went on in my head in the hour everyone else spent watching the show (although Pinkalicious’s stage friend admittedly drew an overabuldance of my attention): This super-kid thing is utter madness. It’s desperate. Toward what end is all this done? Can’t anyone trust his child-rearing instincts anymore? New York children are being taught by theory instead of parents.  This is secular humanist brainwashing. When did I stop being a New Yorker and start being a suburban dad? Can’t kids just be kids? Growing up in Manhattan wasn’t like this when I was a kid, was it? The way we are raising our children is definitely better, right?  Sitting under a tree for an hour beats two hours of flash cards hands down.

And then on my way home, during a stop at the supermarket, I bought instead of our regular milk, for the very first time, Organic DHA-Omega 3 milk that purports to support “brain health” (whatever that means.) It probably cost around nine bucks.  But hey, it’s murder out there.  My kids need a fighting chance.

But here’s the rub.  I bought it in chocolate. Sue me!

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  1. Karol says:

    I loved this!! Maybe it’s because my daughter is too young but I have yet to encounter this super competitive parent type. I know it’s out there, just like those graduate degrees, I can feel it.

  2. Alexander says:

    Apparently you don’t need a graduate degree to invoke the phrase, “This is secular humanist brainwashing.”

  3. Bill says:

    Okay. Good point, A. 🙂

  4. Charmian says:

    Bill, you mean you shouldn’t prep your child for their pre-school interview at age 3 so they can go to the right prep school then on to the Ivy League?

    When I was a kid I spent two hours climbing that tree, then forever waiting for someone to get me down because I would climb too high and get scared. I did this more than once. You learn more from that (eventually, in my case) than from cupcakes – and don’t get me started on the whole PINK thing.

  5. Me says:

    I thought you were kidding about Pinkalicious!

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