6 Parents You Meet on the First Day of School

It happened. With all the ceremony of the onset of menses or a new season of The Good Wife streaming on Amazon Prime, so it was decreed that I must strap my firstborn into a too-big backpack and trundle him off to kindergarten, or as Mr. Dru likes to call it, “The beginning of institutionalization.”

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Dru and son on the first day of kindergarten, 2015.

Unlike our overeager district, I realize most of the U.S. doesn’t begin the new academic year in what could reasonably be referred to as early-August. That’s good news for my fellow newbies, because in addition to logging a few more hours in the end-of-summer more-urine-than-water public swimming pool, there’s still time to prepare yourself for an important ritual: seeking out the A-List parents at school.

You need these people. They will host the best play dates and parties, sneak flasks into vocal music concerts and refer you to the brilliant illegal parking place that’s just a hop, skip and a jump from the school’s back door. We at Punch Drunk Village believe in giving back, and so for your quick reference, I’ve categorized the types of parents you’re likely to encounter on the first day of school. Remember: choose your friends carefully, and your frenemies extra carefully.   Continue reading

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Manufacturing Courage: Or, That Time a Bull Shark Almost Devoured My Kid

Unless you’re living under Donald Trump’s combover, you probably saw this week’s big story about a South African surfer who barely survived a shark attack. Twitter blew up, experts experted all over the morning news shows, and I experienced a little something called déjà vu, because four months ago, my five-year-old son was THISCLOSE to being an amuse-bouche for a bull shark.

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How could a guy named Mick Fanning NOT become a professional surfer?

As I sat sipping wine on the deck of a rented Florida beach house (thanks, mom) my son frolicked in the late afternoon surf with his cousins. I kept a casual eye on passing dolphins and talked politics with my aunts and uncles.

(Note: earlier that day, while lounging in the sun, I’d speculated about how I’d act if I saw a shark approaching one of my relatives. In my daydream, I was super heroic… sprinting in the sea, launching my sizable self–fists flying–straight at the shark, and then cradling the victim in my arms as I strode onto the beach, level-headed and calm as I shouted for assistance.) Continue reading

The Taxonomy of Naps: A Lab Report by Dru

Glow wormIntroduction
Accepting as a given that a majority of parents of young children are frequently sleep-deprived and therefore trudging through daily life in a haze that sounds like Curious George babble and smells like strawberry applesauce, this researcher set forth to assess and categorize optimal napping circumstances for said parents, so as to enable occasional (and unfortunately brief) respite from the chaos.

Materials
Bed or other soft-ish surface
Solitude – optional
Knock-off memory foam mattress topper – optional
Pajamas – optional
White noise machine or one of those soothing classical music-playing seahorse toys – optional
Bag of Target brand caramel cashew trail mix to snack on pre-nap – optional but recommended   Continue reading

For my Niece on her 13th Birthday

My darling K,

This note will start out kind of depressing, but I promise that, as in every good piece of writing, there will be a turning.

My memories of my early life are murky, but I think I was about six years old when kids started teasing me by calling me fat. That would have been first grade. Remarkably, I wasn’t particularly fat; big-boned, my mom called me, and that was accurate. I liked to eat and was more bookish than athletic. I had a round little tummy and probably had to wear clothes from some embarrassing fashion line called “Sturdy Gurlz” or similar. But kids can be mean, and this particular group of mean girls figured out that the word FAT held a lot of power over me.  Continue reading