A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Tag: moms who drink

Surviving School Open House

Here in Georgia, our kids go back to school ridiculously early.

Never thought I’d say that. But now that it is the last official day of summer for my kids, it feels like it’s all over too soon. We’ve just hit our stride! Was it really 78 days ago that I wrote this? Dang.

So this week I’ve had to attend not one, but two School Open Houses. And being that I’m such a giver, I wanted to share some survival tips with you for when your kids go back to school this fall. You can thank me later.

Let’s start on a positive note, shall we?

Do bathe your child and put them in clean clothes. You never get a second chance to make a first impression and nothing tells a teacher that you don’t give a shit like the “My MeeMaw Loves Me” t-shirt with holes in the pits and the chocolate (or is that blood?) stain on the front.

Do the same for yourself. 

Do wear something cute, but tasteful. This is not the time to introduce your child’s teacher to your cleavage or your coin slot.

Do find a babysitter for your other children if possible. It will be so much easier to focus on the task at hand if you are not yelling over the teacher’s shoulder: “BUCKET HEAD! Put. That. Down. So help me God if I have to come over there you will not get one more Skittle today.”

Do have your child make a handmade card for the teacher stating how excited she/he is about being in that teacher’s class. Insert a gift card or some cash. Teachers are totally underpaid for putting up with our spawn all day and studies show that teachers who receive bribes gifts are much more likely to be just a little more patient and kind to your obnoxious little Johnny McFunpants.

Do bring your favorite pen. You are going to be doing a LOT of form filling-out-ering. That’s always more pleasant if you can do it with your own best pen. (Or is that just weird weird me?)

Do remember to bring your checkbook so when you are raped and pillaged by the PTA you don’t have to further humiliate yourself with the same old “Oh shoot, I must have forgotten my checkbook!” line you use every year.

Do bring a copy of your emergency contacts if you don’t already have them programmed into your phone. No matter how many times you give that info, year after year after year, schools seem to take pleasure in asking you to rewrite it, over and over and over.

And now for the No-Nos:

Do NOT experiment with illegally obtained prescription speed the day of the Open House. Do NOT ask me how I know this. I just do. (That was a really bad year.)

Do NOT dress your boy child in anything smocked or embroidered. This is not an Easter Parade. If your boy child shows up at Open House in a sailor suit, anything seersucker, or anything considered a “jumper,” the teacher will (correctly) assume you are an asshole and your mama’s boy will be gang raped on the playground.

Do NOT over-dress yourself either. Even if your divorce was just finalized and your ex is a turd-burglar, Open House is not the time to troll for fresh meat. Focus, people. We’re here for the kids.

Do NOT be the first one to arrive. Open House is like a cocktail party without the cocktails (ahem, that means you, Brenda. Leave the flask at home next time.) Ever notice how the first people to show up at the party are usually the wet blankets of the night? Just sayin.’

Do NOT be the last one to arrive or you will be stuck with the “Herman Miller chair” on the teacher’s wish list or the worst class volunteer job like Hospitality Mom or Box Tops Redemption Mom.

Do NOT say anything negative about any previous teachers. Der.

Do NOT say anything negative about your child. Double der.

Do NOT say anything negative about the crappy Open House process, the crowded parking lot, the extreme heat, the blood-thirsty PTA, or the never-ending school supply list.

You know what, just keep your MF-ing trap shut, period. Just smile, give a firm hand shake, fill out the forms, and get the hell out of there as fast as you can.

Suck it up. Someday you’ll be under a hideous afghan, waiting by the phone for your Great Grandchildren to call, and wishing you had enjoyed being a parent more while you were in the trenches. At least that’s what those annoying old folks at the home keep telling me. Whatever. Where’s my flask?

-Iris

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.


Let’s do finger knitting!

Last week my eight year old daughter and I were flying home to Atlanta from a lovely long weekend visiting my extended family in Pittsburgh. Shortly after boarding the plane we discovered that her DSi was out of battery power.

Uh oh.

Here it comes.

I braced myself…

Three. Two. One.

“MOM! Why didn’t you remind me to charge my DSi last night?” she verbally lunged faster than a cornered snapping turtle at an impromptu roadside petting zoo.

Me? Oh-no-she-DI-INT!

“Um, excuse me, Miss Thang, but you are eight years old; it is YOUR job to be responsible for your own electronics, not mine.”

That’s me on the defense…can you tell? I was acting all tough, but deep down inside I was silently kicking myself for not charging that thing for her. You see, I want to be a good parent. I  want my children to learn from natural consequences and grow up to be responsible, self-sufficient adults. However, on an airplane, surrounded by 200 cranky strangers with nothing but diminutive packets of peanuts to break up the time, regular rules don’t apply. The fact that her DSi was uncharged was about to create some pretty fucking negative consequences for everyone else on the whole plane. I cannot be a party to that.

Believe me, you do NOT want to be sitting anywhere near THIS… especially on an airplane:

We’re talking kick-the-seat-in-front-of-her, see how many times the tray table can go up and down, repeatedly raise and lower the window shade so fast that it creates a strobe light effect and sends people into seizure mode. Not okay. So since I forgot to remind her to charge her electronic babysitter, I needed to think fast and find a way to keep the little bitch busy.

Fortunately, one of my aunts had just given Mini-Me a really cool “French Knitting Spool Kit” with a couple skeins of really pretty variegated yarn. Unfortunately, as we learned the night before at dinner when Mini-Me spiraled into an “I can’t DO this!” meltdown, she’s probably not quite developmentally ready for Spool Knitting. Ooops. Well, it was the thought that counted.

But never fear, with my cat-like parenting reflexes, I engineered a quick alternative: FINGER KNITTING!

Super easy. Super fun. Hours of zen-like busy work with really cool results. I’ve seen kids as young as five years old do this with no help! All you need is yarn and two hands and you can make headbands, belts, necklaces, decorative garlands, a leash for your little brother, etc. The possibilities are endless!

Here’s how you get started:

Turn your non-dominant hand to face you. I’m using my baseball-glove-sized right hand below, because I’m a lefty. Now take the end from your skein of yarn and loosely weave it in and out of the four fingers of that non-dominant hand, figure eight-style, like so:

It doesn’t matter which side of your hand you start the weaving from. I usually tie the loose end to the skein end when I make it back to the finger where I started from (in this case, my pinky):

Next, wrap the skein end all the way around your hand, slightly above the in-and-out woven part you just did, then around the back of your hand, and returning to the side with the knot, like this:

Then, using the thumb and index finger of your other hand, pick up each of the finger loops one by one and lift it OVER the wrapped hand piece of yarn, one finger at a time. In finger knitting, your fingers can bend toward your palm to make it easy to pass the yarn over each finger. Sounds complicated, but it’s not. Look at these pics. First I’m doing my pointer finger loop…

Next, my swearing finger:

In this next pic, I’ve already lifted the yarn over the first three fingers, one at a time (working toward my pinky), now I’m about to lift the wrapped loop on my pinky over the other piece of yarn that was wrapped around my whole hand:

After you’ve done this to each of your four fingers, it will look like this:

You’ve just completed a row! Wrap the working end (skein end) of the yarn around your whole hand and back again. And one by one, lift the bottom finger loops over the top hand loop. Do this over and over until the back of your hand looks like this (we’re switching to Mini-Me’s sweet little hands now):

Keep working. A few more rows and it will look like this:

Once it gets about that long, you can gently start to tug on the knotted part and a chain will form down the back of your hand. If you keep knitting, eventually you’ll have a long chain like this:

Look how peacefully occupied and content she is! Totally not kicking the seat in front of her, by the way.

Naturally your child will need to go to the bathroom at some point. You have two choices, tell her to hold it and hope for the best, or remove the finger knitting from her hand so she can go to the bathroom without turning her knitting into a bio-hazard. I chose the latter. Here’s a picture of me temporarily using a pen to hold her stitches in place while she drains the main vein on the airplane (hey, I’m a poet and I didn’t even know it!). I’m nothing if not über resourceful.

So there you have it: my desperate version of Impromptu Airplane Finger Knitting. Take my advice and keep a skein of yarn in your bag o’ tricks! You never know when it will come in handy.

If you would like more information on Finger Knitting, here is a good (short, sweet, & silent!) YouTube tutorial for your viewing pleasure. And here’s another. It’s so easy, just ask these adorable kids!! (But kids, don’t wrap the finished product around your necks! Der.) And look…there’s even one for my Spanish speaking friends. As you can see, there are a variety of personal finger knitting styles and techniques. All of them work, so pick one that makes the most sense to you and give it a try. Or let your kid annoy the shit out of everyone on the airplane just because you were too drunk to charge up their electronic game. Totally up to you.

yours in desperate craftiness,

-Iris

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.



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