10 Ways School Sucks For Adults Just As Much As Kids

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school sucks

As I’m driving my daughter to kindergarten, she proclaims, “Mom! I hate going to school!”

It takes every ounce of self-control I have to resist saying, “You know what? ME TOO. Let’s go to McDonald’s, get ourselves a smoothie, and go back to bed.”

Because seriously, this all-day, every-day school thing is a pretty raw deal for everyone involved…

1. Rise and shine. I have to get up early every single day. The only reason I graduated was so I could put an end to this early-morning business, and now I have to start all over again?

2. The language police. Every day, I find myself worrying if today is the day she drops the “f” bomb at recess.

3. Having to get dressed. I’m losing out on at least two all-day pajama days per week, which is seriously putting a cramp in my ability to not do laundry on a regular basis.

4. The fact that that they lose stuff. And I’m stuck digging through the school lost & found, also known as “The Lice Box.”

5. The art projects. I can’t be trusted to bathe my children every night, but the teacher thinks I’m going to make time to help glue cotton balls onto this worksheet or cut letters out of a magazine?

6. The endless crap. “Oh cool! You brought home yet another drawing that you’re never going to let me throw away and expect me to keep and cherish forever!”

7. The late pass. The Walk of Shame to the school office when we’re late to school is way less fun than the Walk of Shame I remember from college.

8. High school, part II. When was anyone going to tell me that the same snobs that ran student government in high school are the ones now running the PTA?

9. Money! I have dysfunctional family members who don’t ask me for money as often as my daughter’s school does for field trips, class projects, book fairs, popcorn day, etc.

10. Homework. I suspect that homework is just a way for my kid’s teacher to figure out how much effort I’m actually putting into this whole parenting thing.

Related post: 5 Back to School Resolutions I’m Making

Dear Parent who Likes Snow Days

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snowman

Dear Parent who Likes Snow Days,

I like you. I do. I just don’t understand you. You seem like a normal person and then a snow day is called and you are all smiles. I worry that you don’t understand how snow days work so I am going to explain them to you.

When school is cancelled, the kids stay home with you.

If your response to this information is still, “Yay!” I am going to assume one of the following:

1. You are being sarcastic.

2. You work outside the home.

3. You have a nanny.

4. You have better meds than I do.

5. The kids have tied you up and are answering for you.

There can be no other explanation. However, in order for us to understand each other, I will explain why my reaction is not “Yay!” but “F@#!”:

1. I do not want to be a short order cook.

2. I need to write and cannot write while people cry about broken bands in their Rainbow Looms.

3. I like to go to the bathroom by myself.

4. I feel guilty if I let my kids watch movies or play video games all day but – oh my god – all the talking.

5. I have to share my snacks.

So, I hope you can understand where I’m coming from and, if you can’t sympathize because you are busy making hot cocoa for your blanket fort, please…please…can I drop my kids off at your house? Just for the day. Unless school is cancelled again on Monday.

Sincerely,

Vikki

What to Expect From Your Kindergartner

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Little Girl in Classroom

Dear parents of new kindergartners: As a long time teacher to children like yours, I thought I’d give you an idea of what your children will be doing when in school, in case you are wondering just what to expect…

1. Your son or daughter will go into the bathroom and leave the door open while doing their business. They might even occasionally break into song.

2. Your child will pick their nose in front of the class for about 6 months, until they are SICK of the teacher telling them in front of everyone to “Get a Tissue!!” Then they’ll graduate to doing it with a hand in front of their nose. THOSE kids are talented, brilliant, and have learned good manners.

3. Your child will forget to go to the bathroom while out at recess, and accidentally pee in their pants.

4. Your child will walk out of the bathroom with their pants around their ankles.  Oops.

5. Your child will call the teacher mom, dad and grandma at some point during the year. The first two will evoke a chuckle, and the latter will result in a shriek and a run to the Hand and Face lotion in an attempt to smooth the wrinkles. She will also probably either take a long leisurely bath or go straight to the liquor store. Or both.

6. Your child will tell an incredibly embarrassing story about you, your husband and your family.  More than one. The teacher will chuckle, make a mental note to remember that for the family picnic, and move on to the next child. Teachers also know not to use real names when repeating funny stories. They know that their OWN kids are in someone else’s room doing the SAME THING.

7. Your child will tattle on their best friend, make mean faces to them, and then play house or Lego’s with them all within the span of 5 minutes.

8. Your child will take a tumble on the playground, get pushed by someone, skin his or her knee and then bounce up and get back in the game.

9. Your son will forget to push his penis down and pee all over the bathroom floor, wall, toilet and his own pants. (He might also throw the wet underpants at the teacher.)

10. Your child will find a way into the teacher’s heart, and she will cheer and laugh and wipe a tear from her eye when your baby reads her first word, writes her first sentence or makes their first friend.  It’s what makes it all worthwhile.

Extra-Curricular Crackdown

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Watch out folks, Mama’s stepping out of the mini-van. That’s right, you’ll no longer find me schlepping all over town at ridiculous hours of the day. How did I pull off this ambitious feat without selling my three kids? I staged an extra-curricular crackdown! If you’re overwhelmed by your kids’ schedule, I urge you to join me.

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#1. No more classes at inconvenient times. Nap time is sacred. I don’t care if the  Queen Bee from Mommy and Me with the non-napping kid convinced the whole gang to register for a 1PM music class next quarter. Stay home and take advantage of the peace and quiet. This wisdom also applies to full-time working parents who’ve been suckered  into evening classes. Sing some catchy songs during dinner and clap your hands a few times. You’ll skip the 6PM fiasco at the actual class.

#2. No more driving out of your way. If there’s a perfectly good soccer league in your park district, but you’re driving thirty-minutes during what should be a relaxing weekend morning to be with “everybody else,” ask yourself whether that’s a good use of your precious time. Whatever you decide about the best location for your family, remember this crucial nugget: in an extra-curricular crackdown, there’s . . .

#3. No more picking activities based on your friends. Who is this so-called “everybody” anyway? Your friendships will survive your independence. And let’s be honest, parents spend a good portion of the bleacher time on their Blackberries or chasing after the younger sibling(s) who got dragged along. Carve out quality time to see your friends. Sure, some people will disappear now that you watch ballet or swimming class through a different window, but those people weren’t your real friends in the first place.

#4. No more picking activities based on your kids’ friends. We have to stop projecting our social anxiety onto our kids. If choosing the time of day and location that works for you means your child won’t know a soul in the class, then to that I say: So what!? Kids’ friendships ebb and flow. Those little buggers are consistently fickle. Don’t let your family’s schedule be dictated by your child’s flavor of the day.

#5. No more secretly hoping you gave birth to the next superstar. We sacrifice our time, money, energy, and depleting resources of sanity so we can feel proud of our ourselves–I mean, our kids. Even if we’ve accepted that our child isn’t going to be the next pre-scandal Tiger Woods, we justify the over-programming by insisting we want our kids to have hobbies. I want my kids to have hobbies, too. But I hope they’ll come by some of those interests naturally. For free. And within walking distance of our house.

#6. Remember: money doesn’t grow on trees and neither do hockey skates. It’s good for kids to understand there are other people in the house (and, um–the world) with wants and needs.  In fact, the astronomical cost of activities is reason enough to scale back right away. Why should it be that you don’t get out on Saturday nights or go on a vacation for fifteen years, but little Riley has sampled art, karate, gymnastics, and T-Ball in one semester? It’s not right. Take a stand.

So who’s with me? Let’s pull over our mini-vans, raise our hands in unity, and take back the day. And the night! And the weekend! Let the crackdown begin.

10 Reasons Not To Play Board Games With Your Kids

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game_stuff

My husband’s Saturday morning ritual of making pancakes with the kids has been replaced recently by him going to work instead. This makes my “sleep-in” day vanish entirely. I never really got to sleep-in anyway, but there was hope. What’s life without hope?

This past Friday night as my husband reminded the kids that he won’t be here in the morning, I overheard my son complain, “But Mommy never plays with us. She’s always just on the computer.” Cue the mom-guilt. I promised that I’d play games with them after I finish my first cup of coffee in the morning. Despite nursing that first cup of coffee and hoping they’d forget, they showed up at my desk with arms full of board games. So we played. And I quickly remembered why I don’t play games with my kids…

1. The Sore Loser. Whether it’s really losing the game, or just having to go fish immediately after a sibling got a set of four, my kids are monumental sore losers. They cry, complain of unfairness, and spread misery with alarming generosity.

2. The Obnoxious Winner. Ha ha! I won. Oh yeah! Oh yeah! I won! Oh yeah! You lose! Ha ha…. This winner’s dance of gloating lasts until someone cries.

3. The Cheater. The kids lie, peak, steal, grab, stack decks and try whatever else is possible to give them an advantage and make the game suck more than it does naturally.

4. The Gang Up. My kids don’t understand that if some non-self-person is going to win, it does not matter which non-self-person that might be. Instead, they have some sort of ranking of which non-self person is the least/most objectionable winner. They band together, conspiring so that the most objectionable non-self person does not win. I am always the most objectionable non-self person.

5. The Never Ending Game. Chutes and Ladders. ’Nuff said.

6. The Back to Start Game. Any game where a roll of the dice or selection of a card results in a person going backwards towards the starting point inflames sore losery, inspires cheating, lends itself to attempted conspiracy, and then never ends.

7. The Mind Numbing Stupidity. I mean, children’s games generally suck.

8. The Mess. Children’s games come with parts, pieces, cards, sticks, marbles, dice, timers, boards, and other small objects. These pieces are inevitably left all over the place and/or lost. A lost card from a game of Memory? Sucks. A lost piece from Sorry? Stepped on. Ouch!

9. Ending the Play. I remember reading once that children are like batteries in that you can “charge” them with some attentive play and then they’ll be more ready to play independently for some time, as they’re all filled up and satisfied with love and attention. This is either total bullshit, or my kids need to read that book too. There is no way to extract myself from playing with them that doesn’t end in anger/tears for all involved.

10. The Begging. If we do something fun with the kids once we are then stuck with them begging for it again for the rest of our lives. My kids beg for fairs, parades, skiing, swimming, roller skating, movies, sledding, ice cream, candy, gum, restaurants, late bedtimes, the beach, Christmas, birthday parties, friends’ houses, cookies, zoos, Grandma’s house, popcorn, plane rides, bus rides, train rides, etc, etc, etc all.the.time. If they’ve never done something, then they don’t know to beg for it.