A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Tag: principal pal award

The thing about siblings…

This is the first year all three of my kids have extra-curricular activities and life seems to have gotten a bit more unmanageable all of a sudden.

Bucket Head taking Taekwondo

Tell you what though, as much as I sometimes envy my friends with only one child, there really is something special about the life-lessons and social skills kids with siblings have to endure get to experience.

Recently we had a very interesting situation dropped in our laps. Continue reading

It’s about frickin’ time.

Finally, after 4 years and 5 months of waiting, lamenting, begging, hand wringing, and bribing… my first-born child, Nature Boy, has won a Principal Pal Award.

Perhaps you’ve heard me mention this highly coveted Elementary School prize a time or two?

Well a few days ago, he bounded off the school bus, ran to me as fast as his little 11 year old legs could carry him, and shouted “Guess what?… I GOT THE PRINCIPAL PAL AWARD!!!!!”

I practically peed my pants I was so excited. I jumped up and down and hugged him and gave him noogies and told him it was about frickin’ time he finally had a teacher who recognized what a Prince he is, only I didn’t use those exact words, I hope. I was practically apoplectic, so who knows what the hell came flying out of my mouth.

Then I blurted, “Well, where is it?! GIMME MY CAR MAGNET!” Because even though I’m truly thrilled for him to finally be publicly recognized for his outstanding character, I really just have to have a Principal Pal magnet on my car or I will simply die of shame.

And that is when he pulled out of his pocket a wrinkly little snack-sized plastic baggie that contained a school pencil, a little slip of paper with instructions on where/when to report to have his picture taken with the Principal, and a bag tag.

A mother effing bag tag.

Sooooooo not fair.

I swear I am the only mother in this county who is not driving around with one or more of those damn magnets on my mini-van. It is like an invisible bumper sticker that says “My kids and I totally suck.”

But apparently they aren’t giving out magnets anymore. Lord only knows why. But a bag tag instead? Really? Are you kidding? That’s all I get? Because I just can’t see someone at the airport luggage carousel noticing the 2″ x 2″ plastic bag tag on my suitcase and saying, “Congratulations! You must be a truly remarkable mother to have such a wonderful child!” No. This just isn’t going to cut it.

No car magnet? Fine. I’ll just improvise:

"Finally, one of my kids is a PRINCIPAL PAL! They don't give out magnets anymore, so this will have to do."

What do you think? Will this suffice? Unlike a Principal Pal car magnet that lasts forever, this will be gone after a good rain. So I’m also wearing a necklace I made with the bag tag. Luckily, it goes with everything.

"Who is Mommy's yittle Principal Pal?"

"Mom. Seriously. I think they get the point."

Don’t worry, Nature Boy is LOVING all this attention. Later that night when I tucked him in I said, “Goodnight sweetheart. I love you and I’m so proud of you for being yourself. And I’m really happy that you have such a great teacher this year who sees you the way your Daddy and I see you.”

He just smiled and said “Thanks Mom. I love you too.”

Then I asked, “Can I call you P.P.?”

“No,” he replied, totally void of enthusiasm or humor.

“How about Principal P?”


“P. Pal?”


“Okay. Goodnight sweetie.”

“Goodnight Mom.”

The next day he sent me an email about something and sure as I’m sitting here, he signed it “Love, P.P.” I’m pretty sure I did a very animated full body fist pump when I read that. YES!

So Nature Boy has a new nickname. Feel free to use it.

And in the meantime, if you see me driving around the ‘burbs of Atlanta in my tricked out mini-van, or see me at the grocery store wearing my fabulous PP necklace, please do give me a knowing smile or nod or high five about my clearly awesome parenting, I mean, child. Because really, this is all about him. Not me.

with excessive pride and vindication,


© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.

Lego Therapy

This is what I have:

Lego Vomit

But this is what I want:

Ahhh.  Just looking at that neat storage brings my blood pressure down a notch.

And so on Monday while we were at home for MLK day, the kids and I began the process of organizing a decade’s worth of Legos by color. It all began because I was watching Nature Boy dig through our coffin-sized clear plastic bin to find one tiny special piece that he absolutely had to have for what he was building. It was actually the deafening sound of that digging… that relentless, high pitched digging. Can you picture it? The sound that several million little plastic pieces make when being rubbed against each other in a sound amplifying plastic box? Not pleasant.

The process of sorting Legos by color, I must admit, is actually a bit therapeutic. Swishing your hands back and forth through all those little sharp-cornered plastic bits feels pretty good on the ol’ meat hooks. I’m surprised, frankly, that Mini-Me hasn’t taken off her shoes yet to walk through the pile since she has such a penchant for unconventional sensory input devices. I once witnessed that kid whip off her shoes at The Bead Bayou and plunge her sweaty little tootsies into a  bowl of Swarovski crystals as I ran in slow motion toward her shouting “Nooooooooooooooooo!” My apologies to the Beading Community at large… for my lack of parental control in addition to the very likely possibility that your beads smell like Fontina cheese.

My innately work-averse Nature Boy is very excited about the potential outcome of this project. He loves the idea of being able to find what he wants without having to work so hard in the future. He’s not so keen, however, on helping me sort. And the other two are about as useful as poopy flavored lollipops (quick – name that movie!). So… this might take a while. If you’re looking for me, I’ll be in the basement.

Nature Boy also pointed out to me that separating black and white Legos on Martin Luther King Jr. day is just plain wrong. Damn, that kid is such a mench. And no, he still hasn’t ever won a Principal Pal Award, thanks for reminding me. Bet Dr. King never won one either. All that aside, the overall spirit of the Lego Sorting Project was to serve my children and support their creativity. Oh, and to put the kibosh on that hellish digging sound. But mostly, to serve others. And get a free hand massage.

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris

The Sins of the Mother

Oh Lordy. The results are in for the first Principal Pal awards of the school year. And I just have one question: who do I have to bang to get a Principal Pal magnet on my car?


I’ll do it. Just point me in the direction of the person or committee or farm animal who decides this thing and it shall be done. And I’m pretty sure my husband will support me on this, if for no other reason than to get me to stop whining about it.

Honestly people. I swear, I may be driving the only mini van in my neighborhood without one or more of these hideous magnets plastered to the side of it celebrating my children’s excellence. Oh, the shame! Clearly, my kids and I totally suck.

For real, yo. Neither of my school age kids have ever, EVER gotten one of these awards and it is totally burning my biscuits.

My neighbor Tammy’s little boy wins one of these God damned awards EVERY FREAKING YEAR like clockwork. And you know what she says every month when I call her in tears to say that once more, I am destined to wander this lonely planet without a Principal Pal magnet on my car? She says, “Oh honey… you want one of mine?” I swear. And she is my best friend. Imagine what people who don’t like me say. Besides, if I just wanted the magnet, I would have stolen one (or four) of Tammy’s by now. That’s not the point.

The point is… I want what every parent wants. I want my kids to be excellent at something and for them (and me) to be recognized in a very public way for it. Is that so wrong? Oh, a full night of sleep and the ability to poop in private every once in a while wouldn’t hurt either, but let’s focus here.

Look, I totally get why my first grade wild child “Klepto” hasn’t ever received this award. She is a force of nature and not easily tolerated by those with weaker constitutions. In fact, for the second year in a row, Klepto has been assigned to a teacher who has recently been named “Teacher of the Year” at our school. This is no coincidence, people. But poor Klepto, she has no idea. She thinks she is just the most randomly lucky kid ever. Kinda cute, actually. Shhh…. nobody tell her, OK?

But Nature Boy? My 4th grade, first born? The kid is a saint. Seriously. Ask anyone. He is truly the kindest, gentlest, most empathetic person I’ve ever known, regardless of age. I have no earthly idea how this child could possibly attend this school since first grade and have never won this award even once. I’ll do the math for you. Three full years, with approximately 10 months of school in a year, plus one month so far this year… that is 31 times he has NOT been chosen. THIRTY ONE TIMES. The poor kid! But really, HIS POOR MAMA!!!

Look at it this way, if every class he’s been in so far had about 20 kids, and there are 10 awards given per class each year, that means he has had a 50% chance to win it sometime each year. Three years running now.

But no. Never.


Here’s a snippet of the email his teacher sent out today:

Congratulations to Amanda B. for her selection this year’s first Principal Pal! With such a great group, narrowing the choice down to one classmate is not easy! However, due to Ms. Amanda’s Allysonconsistent hard work, good citizenship, and generous nature, her peers were very happy to recognize her accomplishments. We’re proud of you, Amanda!

Damn. It. To. Hell.

I’m not proud of you Amanda. I’m jealous and bitter. I mean, what does Amanda have that my Nature Boy doesn’t?

Does Amanda’s mom volunteer more than I do? Probably.

Does Amanda’s family donate more money to the PTA? Most definitely.

Last week when the PTA newsletter contained an obscene typo indicating that children and parents should “Service one another,” (it was supposed to say “Serve one another”… BIG difference!) did Amanda’s mom slam the PTA and notify everyone in the free world about it with her Tweets and Facebook updates like I did? No. Probably not.

Oh dear. It’s my fault, isn’t it. I’m the reason my children suffer.

Have mercy on them, PTA. Judge not the child for the sins of the mother.

So, instead of continuing to torture myself, it looks like the best course of action for me is to just accept the things I cannot change. Gee, that sounds familiar… where have I heard that before?

And speaking of higher powers… you know who else never got chosen for Principal Pal?


So at least there’s that. Although, in his case, it probably wasn’t because of his crazy mother.

In closing, please pray for my children; they clearly need all the help they can get. And if you happen to have an “in” with the principal of their school, do me a favor and put in a good word for Nature Boy before I get arrested for petty burglary or lewd conduct… again.

Thank you kindly!

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