Friday, September 25, 2009

Parenting in the city: Registering for classes

I had my first foray into registering for classes in the city this weekend. After much deliberation with DH, we agreed to sign TG up for swim classes. Unlike other registrations where I emailed or went online, this registration required my presence.
Now, I'm not sure if this is the same in other parts of the country, but in NYC, registrering your kid for anything is a near all day affair, testing your patience and your planning skills.
Unfortunately, against my better judgment, I didn't plan as well as I should have. Essentially, if registration starts at 12 noon, you should be there at least by 10:30am.
I liken it to the days when I would camp out to get tickets or be the first to see a midnight screening of a movie. You need to be that diehard to be a parent in the city.
I called the director the week before to ask her how the registration process went and she told me that coming that early was unnecessary. I should have known better. 2.5 tense hours later, we got into a class but just barely. The parents lined up in this hot, humid, gym locker smelling corridor tensly waited to see if a staff member would come out to the printed list of classes and cross out their desired class in super red marker.
It's like high school again. That one tiny piece of paper posted on the bulletin board lets you know if you got into drama club's rendition of Merchant of Venice or if you'd be spending your semester in concilatory glee club.
Add to the tension, my lack of preparedness in the food category. I ate breakfast at 8am. I went to church and then beelined to the registration. Now, I know Jesus is filling but the stress, the tension, the berating I gave myself for not being prepared and the breastfeeding caused my stomach to do 360's 1.5 hours into my wait.
So here are my tips for any parents who stumble upon this and for myself for the next go around:
1. Don't listen to the director. Arrive early.
2. Bring a book.
3. Bring a pen.
4. Bring all necessary paperwork, documents, doctor's notes, checks, etc. Check and double check before you leave your house.
5. Bring snacks.
6. Bring a drink.
7. Bring your headphones. Most of the time, parents bring their kids. Kids are cool. Kids waiting on line after 2 hours are not cool.
8. Talk to your fellow parents on line. You'll pass the time together and you'll get tips on other events or classes.
9. Catch up on phone calls, especially calls you prefer to be short and sweet. Trust me, you won't be rude. Other parents are doing the same.
10. Catch up on emails. You'll be able to send an email off without being interrupted.