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Dear All

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By Jess deCourcy Hinds, winning fiction for the Pen Parentis 2014-2015 Fellowship

Dear Green Groves Parents,

Please don’t forget to include your children’s names/ages in your signature EVERY time you post. No one is allowed to participate unless you have real, actual, breathing human children in Green Groves or PS 333.

–Jennifer (mom of Plato, 5, who can’t get enough of physics and Socrates, 3 and learning to use chopsticks!)


Dear Jennifer and All,

Some of the founding members of this listserv no longer live in GG because we got priced out—which happens in New York City, even in Queens. So don’t assume that everyone here lives in a certain zip code. I made the hard choice to stay home with my kids because it’s best for them, but it meant moving to Elbow Park. Just a reminder…some “GG Parents” are more far-flung than others.



(Rebecca, 4 and learning capoeira and Alec, 6 months and loving empanadas).


I live in New Zealand but stayed on this listserv to keep in touch with my old neighborhood. You never know who’s out there….Ha!

–Abigail (Ralph, 5 and Emmett, 2)


Hi Everyone,

My name is Clara, and I recently moved to the neighborhood with my husband, Joshua, and we’re expecting! Can anyone offer advice about:

  • Nausea on the subway
  • What are the best hospitals or midwifery centers
  • Doctor vs. midwife
  • How do you find a daycare or babysitter
  • Daycare vs. babysitters
  • What on earth you do with yourself and your baby all day without going nuts for a 3-month maternity leave
  • How hard is it to go back to work
  • What if you can’t really afford to quit working, or go part-time, but you can’t afford childcare either
  • How hard is it to achieve your personal/professional goals after having a kid
  • Basically, how do you transition to being a parent?????????????


Clara (Expectant)



I get at least 40 emails from you every day and I read them all every morning. Now I know everything there is to know about prenatal yoga, breastfeeding, nursery school, and recipes for homemade organic baby food. My brain is more crammed than it was in law school. But I am now 43, and had my third miscarriage yesterday. My husband I decided not to try again. So I’d like to unsubscribe from this list, so my email box is not haunted forever.

Thanks for your understanding,

Pamela (      )


I’m a little late in responding, but I wanted to mention an earlier post in which the writer mentioned that he “made the hard choice” to stay home with his kids because it is “best.” Be careful before you make statements about what is best for kids. Most of us don’t have any “hard choices” to make. We work because we have to, even if we live in Elbow Park.

–Yoon (Candace, 5)


Dear Pamela,

I’m not sure if you’ll get this message because you may have already unsubscribed, but just wanted to let you know that my heart goes out to you.


Bushra (Roya, 9 months)


Dear All,

It has always been IMPOSSIBLE to cook for my 10 month-old daughter, who hates her high chair and tries to break out like a jailbird after 5 minutes. But I recently discovered a solution: Mix leftover takeout rice (brown rice) with organic scrambled eggs, organic grated Parmesan and organic frozen peas. Dinner’s done in 3 minutes, flat. It’s a miracle! Do you guys have any success stories to share, so this isn’t just a whiny complaint forum of perfect strangers?

–Gladys (Esmeralda, 10 mo and gobbling up her rice as we speak!)


But we NEED to complain! Who else will listen but 1,200 perfect strangers?

–Maxine (Jonah, 7 mo)


Dear People,

Here’s my success story. After months of battles, I finally figured out how to clip Shakespeare’s toenails. I put him in the high chair and fill his tray with Goldfish crackers. While he’s eating, I give him a pedicure. Isn’t that brilliant?

–Dana (Shakespeare, 7 months and wiggly)


Can anyone please please please help me—


Hey there,

I didn’t see an email address attached to that last cry for help. We parents have to help each other! No judgment! Call or page me at the hospital.

–Tania (Zimbabwe, 8, Zanzibar, 5 and Senegal, 3 and expecting!)


Hi Guys,

It’s Clara again. So I wanted to summarize and share some of the helpful tips I got from you. The most useful ones were in response to the question of how you survive maternity leave. Alice suggested taking your baby out for cappuccino. The bright lights in the cake display case mesmerized Jasper. Zach took his toddler to Home Depot on an almost daily basis. Violet especially loved tool belts, paintbrushes and lawn mowers. Another dad rode the subway out to Far Rockaway to rock his daughter to sleep. He enjoyed the ocean views, and chatting with surfers. He rode back and forth for 5 whole hours when she had colic. What commitment! I appreciate these suggestions, and sure hope I’ll be ready…

Clara (still expecting…)


Dear All,

A disturbing thing happened today at the GG West Playground. Ringo looked up at the sky and said, “Burr!” But it wasn’t a bird; it was a boy teetering on the very edge of the jungle gym, his toes clinging to the edges. His arms flapped. I scanned the playground for his parent, but saw no one, so I scrambled to try to catch him. His dad belatedly ran over too. Neither of us got there in time. The boy fell. Hard. He cried and held onto his arm—luckily just a bruise. But that wasn’t even the worst part of the story. The mom, who was Asian, ran across the playground with a toddler on her hip, and began hitting the dad, who was white. She yelled at him, half in English and half in her language (Filipino? I’m not a language expert). She pummeled her husband’s shoulder with her fist again and again…and again. The little boy, by this time, had dusted himself off and started dropping sticks into the sewer. The man limped over to the park bench. He sat slumped over, dropping his head into his hands. He sat there a long time. We all witnessed this, all of us moms in the park.

–Meredith (Lennon, 4 and Ringo, 2 years old and, using the indefinite article (“a ball,” “a dog”)


Re: the violent playground incident. The perpetrator might have been speaking Tagalog.

–Sarah (Dixie, 3)


How were the couple’s races at all relevant to the story? Wasn’t this domestic dispute a private matter?

–Catherine (Rose, 6 and Keesha, 3)


I just got laid off today. Today in the stroller on the way home, my daughter pulled off her sock and tossed it on the street (bet Martin and Clifton). If you find a sock, can you pls text me?

–Toi-Yuk (Jane, 6 mo)


What color sock did you lose, Toi-Yuk? I think I found it.

–Kendra (Ryan, 2 months).


If it had been a man hitting a woman at the playground, people would have called the police, but since it was vice versa, absolutely nothing happened. Just saying. I wasn’t there, but I can picture everything.

Lisa (Julietta, 2 and Margeux, 8 months)


Can anyone recommend anything to help with excessive gas?

–Deb (Tracy, 3 months)


Do you have gas or does the baby?

Tania (Zimbabwe, 8, Zanzibar, 5 and Senegal, 3 and expecting!)


Dear Parents,

As some of you know, Cora recently started carrying a stuffed armadillo everywhere she goes. Her dad recently left us and moved to Texas. The armadillo isn’t as useful as child support, but it helps us get through the day. Well, yesterday, the armadillo fell out of the stroller on the way to the farmer’s market. Please keep your eyes open and text me at the number below if you find it. Neither of us will sleep through the night without it.

–Solidad (Cora, 11 months)


Dear Parents,

Thank you for all of your advice! I bought every piece of furniture, equipment, toy and book you recommended. I decorated my nursery according to your suggestions. I packed my hospital bag using your checklist. I picked the midwife someone liked, and the birthing class someone else mentioned. I prepped my husband to recite the childbirth mantras you sent. You were all with me when I gave birth, in spirit. My daughter came home today. She has mild jaundice, and the doctor recommended she snooze by the window, in the sun. She’s basking in light, and I’m basking in her.

So anyway, I want to thank you all, for everything, always…whoever on earth all you people are!

–Clara (Rita, 3 days old)


Jess deCourcy Hinds holds an M.F.A. from Brooklyn College, and her publications include Newsweek, the New York Times and Ms. Learn more at 


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