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Little Stairmasters

October 19th, 2011  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized

The Ideal Schoolhouse

Of all the things I like about my daughter’s kindergarten, part of a independent public K-8 school housed in a hulking old Manhattan school building, here’s something unexpected: I like the stairs.

There are elevators in the five-floor building, but the AM rush is a shitshow, to put it mildly, of way too many parents and students there for the three (I think there are three) different schools that inhabit the same building. That Dalia’s school also has a high proportion of physically challenged kids in wheelchairs, walkers, etc., is one of the things I like about the school (diversity isn’t always just a question of pigment). But it means that the elevators are better used serving those kids than my own child, whose primary handicap is deep, genetic laziness.

At least, I thought it was. But this morning as every morning before, Dalia has taken to the stairs with something bordering on aggression. Even though she’s not always excited to be going to school (no one plays with her, she says, or calls on her when she raises her hand in class), she doesn’t quit on those stairs. She lugs her bag up, breathes a little heavy, doesn’t mind the older kids flying headlong down the same narrow stairwell, and just gets it done. Her class is on the 3rd floor, so that’s a good forty or more steps each morning.

And as our friends at DadWagon subsidiary the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention helpfully point out in their Get Active infobomb, if you are afraid that a “lack of skill” is keeping you from exercising, you can either 1) “learn a new skill” or 2) take the fucking stairs (I paraphrase).

The stairs success is a small thing, but a good lesson in finding value where you can. The building is old. It’s got the same crappy linoleum that my public high school did. When we were in school and had the chance to do some sport event across the SF Bay at one of those flash suburban schools with rubberized track and carpeted hallways, we felt poor and aggrieved. In the same way, Dalia’s facility pales, no doubt, compared to suburban schools. But I like the virtue of this: she will have far tighter abs and glutes than any child that goes to a fancier school. She and her classmates will be second only to the real hardbodies. You know, the kids who attend kindergarten way up on the fifth floor.

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