I have the wonderful opportunity that is rarely afforded to parents to embarrass my kids in their class on a weekly basis. I don’t know how long it will last, but as long as my children volunteer to have me in their classes I will keep coming. This year my daughter has opted for Monday to be her designated day of humiliation. Dutifully I visit her class on Monday’s helping the teacher when she needs me and explaining math concepts that I didn’t learn until High School to the kids when they ask. Monday is also Music for her class. We are marched down the halls of the school and wait as quiet as it is possible for a group of twenty some odd nine year olds for the music teacher to grant us visitation rights to his Fortress of Musical Learning. He takes the roll and reminds me of someone who missed his true calling as a Hippie and is now forced to teach basic musical skills to droves of children day in and day out. He starts to review concepts that were taught the previous Monday and is disappointed when no one can remember 40 minuets worth of sheet reading skills after an entire week of Social Studies, Math, Science, Art, PE, and Library not to mention a weekend spent emptying their heads. So he moves on to have them sing the songs for the holiday presentation that the school puts on every November. I sit quietly in the back trying not to knock anything over because I have a feeling that he wouldn’t hesitate to bring me to the front of the class to have everyone explain why we shouldn’t be a distraction to the rest of the students. A glorious 40 minuets later we are released from Music Class to go back to our room and get ready for lunch. It’s always been my favorite part of the school day. You can sit and eat and talk with your mouth full and no one will tell you to mind your manners and get your elbows off the table. But then I met Crabby Abby. I don’t know her real name and even if I bothered to find out I would stick with Crabby Abby, because it fits. She prowls the lunch room looking for rule breakers and anyone talking in more than a whisper. When you are finished you need to put your head down and wait to be released to the playground. What a drag. She stopped liking kids about 5 years ago, but likes the job so the rest of us have to put up with her. Naturally as the responsible adult that I am, I do my best to make faces at her when her back is turned and whisper imitations of her to the children huddled around me at the table. Then when the anticipated moment of release arrives we put our heads down and wait to be set free. Finally we can run and play and make as much noise as we like only to be called in because of the thunder storm moving our way. “Those bolts of lightning are way over there!” I protest. It seems the teachers (who double as proctors) have the children’s safety in mind and they load us back into the cafeteria. No big deal. We can still tell jokes and talk about what we did over the weekend; Until Crabby Abby walks in. She lets out a whistle that sounds like life will never have a fun moment in it ever again and tells us all to “quiet down”. Quiet down? Are you serious? We just lost our recess through no fault of our own and now she wants us to speak with our indoor voices? You’ve got to be kidding me. But another whistle tells me that she is not kidding. So we spend the rest of the recess thinking up reasons that would explain her disposition; quietly, of course. I offer that maybe she was never a kid. Perhaps she was just dropped on this earth as a grown up and given a book of rules to make everyone follow. My daughter thinks that perhaps she is inhabited by a crabby race of aliens and it’s not really her fault. She might be struggling to get her body back from the snatchers so she can be the fun loving person she might once have been. One of her classmates suggests that perhaps she always ate alone at lunch when she was their age and is bitter about it. Not bad, but someone else thinks that she is from the government sent to spy on us and if she’s disliked by the students no one will want to get to close to her leaving her free to spy on the entire school unchecked. Yet another theory is from a girl I’ve never met. She thinks that the teachers have to draw straws when they start teaching at the school. Some of them have to be strict and some of them have to be cool, and some of them have to be mean. It’s to fill the quota set by the school so that there is balance in all things. We don’t get to think anymore ideas because the bell has sounded and we line up by class to be ushered back to our rooms. When we are back in the loving atmosphere created by my daughters teacher (clearly she drew a “nice” straw) we are instructed to take out our writing books and tell a story. It can be real, or completely fabricated. I like to mix the two. My daughter gets me some paper and a pencil so that I may join in the writing exercise, and I do not want to disappoint her. I let my mind wander a moment and settle on the perfect thing to write about. But you will have to wait until the next blog to read about it. We finish our day with a little math, and little reading and head home for the day. I can’t wait until Friday when I get to visit my son’s class!
I'm not a rocket scientist. I don't like cleaning the bathrooms. I've never created something that will change mankind forever. I have two children who are constantly devising ways to test my sanity. They say it's so I will know my limits, so I thank them for their thoughtfulness. I now have more friends scattered over the globe than I have dishes in my sink to wash, that's quite the accomplishment indeed. I have heard more than once that I am funny, which is good, because that's the only way I get through the day sometimes. I see things a little differently than others, and I think it's because when I made that face when I was younger it really did freeze that way and when your eyes are crossed and your head is tilted sideways it gives you a different view of the world.