A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Tag: teachers

A new way to use my crazy for good at school!

Ever since the year I was an overachieving (see: pill-popping) Kindergarten room mom, I tend to steer clear of volunteering at school. I’ve just found that my kids do better on their own without me being there to, you know, ask questions like “So is the Principal Pal thing rigged, or what? Who do I have to throw some Benjamins at to get one of those frickin’ magnets on my car?”

But you know me, I like to help. I’m just much better behind the scenes: pulling weeds in the school’s butterfly garden, or sending in canned goods, or selling my soul to the devil in exchange for the last existing yellow poly folder with pockets AND prongs in the western hemisphere.

One year I found that the best way I could help was by sharpening all of our teacher’s classroom pencils every weekend. (Those poor teachers have THE WORST pencil sharpeners in their classrooms!) My oldest son Vince would bring home a baggie full of about 100 dull pencils every Friday and I would zone out and reflect on my deep thoughts over the sound of my professional grade X-ACTO whirring away. Very therapeutic. I like my pencils like I like my men: tall, sharp, and with a big, firm, pink… eraser on the end. Ew, what did you think I was going to say?

This year will now forever be remembered as the year my child was finally rewarded for my hoarding tendencies. 

That’s right, people. The stars have aligned and Mini-Me’s math teacher sent out an email this week asking parents to save twist-on bottle caps for a future project.

Uh, like these?

It finally pays to be a hoarder by The Bearded Iris

BOOM.

My sweet child came home all aglow yesterday because apparently I was the only parent to reply to that teacher’s email.

See? We all have our own unique gifts and ways that we can serve others. Mine just so happen to involve repetitive tasks and the DSM-IV. Whatevs. You say PTA, I say PTSD. God bless us, every one.  

So that’s what’s new around here.

But elsewhere…

I overshare on the Internet

Last week I was invited to write this for HLNtv.com about moms who “overshare” on the Internet. And apparently it struck a nerve with some people. Granted, I’m not licking my own face repeatedly or slapping my nekkid butt cheeks all up on a gyrating Footlocker employee’s man meat, but still—this article garnered the second ugliest comment I’ve ever received in the five years I’ve been doing this blogging thing. (Which you cannot read because it was not published. As a general rule, the only assholes I pay any attention to whatsoever are my own and my children’s.)

I’m also very excited to be making my debut at Bonbon Break this week to share some of the behind the scenes pinnacles and pitfalls of the whole self-publishing experience. Please check it out!

I hope your Labor Day weekend is everything you need for it to be, times two, with a side of Come Back Sauce, and a free kitten.

Yours truly,
Leslie

 

Does your child’s teacher not like you?

If you’re me, the answer is most assuredly “yes.”

I’ve managed to clock a new world record in making my child’s teacher loathe me faster than ever before.

And I think I may have finally figured out why.*

 

 

*Y’all, for the love of God, that is not a real text. I used my iPhone and my husband’s iPhone to make that shit up. You can breathe now. 

 

The Bearded Week in Review

So, according to the news, “Hurricane Leslie was downgraded to a tropical storm as it was almost stationary in the Atlantic before moving north on a track past Bermuda.”

Yep.

That about sums it up, right there.

Not that I’m complaining. Tropical storms are still powerful forces of nature. I guess I’d rather be a tropical storm than, say, a cold front or a high pressure system. Those are so boring!

And at least I’m not a Haboob.  Continue reading

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.


Parental Torture, I mean, Teacher Appreciation Week

Well it’s Teacher Appreciation Week here in the good ol’ US of A.

Yes, you heard me. I said WEEK.

Oh hold yer fire, beeyatches.

For the record, I think every week should be Teacher Appreciation Week. There is not a single more important job in the world than teaching children, especially MY children who are not getting a ton of academic enrichment at home between the SpongeBob marathons and the fake turd “Pootorials.” But I’m talking about real appreciation in the form of sincere thanks, praise, and parental support. Not shit like this:

"I'd really like a World's Best Teacher mug!" said no teacher ever. Folks, there is a reason I found that little gem on the shelf at my local Goodwill. Teachers do not want that kind of appreciation. Please think twice before you buy anything with an apple or school house theme.

No, at my kids’ school, Teacher Appreciation Week should just be renamed “Parental Torture Week.”

You see, the overachieving, cracked-out on their kids’ Ritalin Room Moms at my children’s school seem to take an obscene amount of pleasure in sending out email mandates with two days’ notice informing us of “the schedule” they’ve created for gift giving during the upcoming week. The idea is that all the children bring in a different themed little treat each day for their teacher to create lavish class bouquets and gift baskets from the group. You know, like making Stone Soup: if everyone contributes a little, you end up with a fabulous feast.

In theory, it’s a nice idea, isn’t it? And it probably protects our teachers from receiving 19 more “A+ Teacher” coffee mugs that they’ll have to make a special trip to the thrift store to purge.

But do the Room Moms coordinate this gift fest with other classrooms to make it easy for the maxi-breeders like me? Noooooo. No they do not. It’s every Room Mom for herself and thus every classroom seems to have it’s own list of gifts and unique schedule of when to send them.

So instead of cleaning up the piles of TP my children have created in every bathroom from their over-enthusiastic fake turd crafting this week…

…or the fake turds I keep finding and doing double takes over…

… I’m forced to create and regularly reference a spreadsheet to remind me what to buy/make/find and send to school each day with each kid. And by spreadsheet I mean coffee stained hand-written tablet paper:

Tomorrow’s a biggie, eh?

The point is: this is a lot to sustain for a whole week. On top of which, both of my bigger kids had Field Day this week (on two different days) which required before school sunscreen application, tennis shoes, special t-shirts, hats, and water bottles. Can’t forget that!

Oh, and did I mention the 800 count box of round toothpicks that I stupidly volunteered to send in for the fifth grade toothpick project on Tuesday? Shit… I thought signing up to spend $2 on a box of toothpicks was going to be a super easy way to participate. WRONG. It wasn’t. Four. Fucking. Stores. Turns out every mo-frankin’ fifth grade class in the school is simultaneously doing whatever they are doing with the 12,000 round toothpicks they each need, and I was the last mom to get to the store to buy them, of course.

But wait, there’s more…coincidentally, this is also the week that Bucket Head has decided he’s over pull ups and wants to sleep in his “big boy” Spiderman underpants every night. This means that Mommy is washing wet stanky sheets every morning and remaking the bed every afternoon. Weeeee! (Literally)

Clearly I’ve created most of my own excess work here, I do realize that. It’s how I roll. But back to the bigger issue at hand…

Teachers deserve to be appreciated. And teachers are often parents too! So imagine the poor teachers of multiple children who are trying to keep up with these Teacher Appreciation Week schedules! This is simply too much for any of us.

Look, I know teachers, and let me tell you what teachers really want (and this list is in no particular order):

  • a good bottle of wine
  • good quality coffee beans or tea
  • respect
  • gift cards from stores or restaurants they like
  • gratitude
  • hand written notes/cards
  • parents who care
  • recognition for a job well done

What else? Please add your suggestions in the comments below. Especially if you are a teacher. How we can best appreciate you and still maintain (or in my case, obtain) a smidgen of sanity?

You know what else? I don’t think teachers really want a whole week of this crazy making at the end of the year when there is so much else going on at the same time! I’m guessing they’d much rather have a little love on a regular basis to get them through those harder days. Send your teacher a hot biscuit wrapped in foil one random morning to say Hey, I know mornings can be rough sometimes and if you are like me, maybe you didn’t have time for a hot breakfast today, but you are important to me and my family and we care about you. (And please don’t yell at my child today… she gets enough of that at home.)

Now let’s end my little rant on a funny note, shall we? Please, please, please, you simply MUST see what Cake Wrecks has put together in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week. Not only are the pictures worth a thousand words, but the captions are fabulous. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

with gratitude to my children’s awesome teachers,

-Iris

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.

(Did you like this post? Then you’ll love my most popular school-related piece: “And that’s why speech pathologists are such bad mofos.”)

Jesus Loves Me

gool bus

tute titty

I regot

no-ball

nack

woperate

yater

nuggle

wack

If you understand any of those words, congratulations… you speak Bucket Head.

If not, allow me to translate:

gool bus = school bus

tute titty = cute kitty

I regot = I forgot

no-ball = snow ball

nack = snack

woperate = cooperate

yater = later

nuggle = snuggle

wack = black

For those of you not playing along at home, I’ll summarize: he can’t really pronounce beginning blends, the letter “L,” or the hard “C” sound. I think it’s pretty cute. The kid is not even four years old yet, so I really hadn’t given it a second thought.

Until yesterday.

As if I didn’t have enough on my mind; particularly after realizing, at church, while in the midst of my assigned shift of Eucharistic Adoration, that the semi-clean jeans blindly retrieved from my bedroom floor that morning included a stow-away pair of dirty panties nestled in one of the pant legs. Apparently even Jesus needs a good laugh now and then.

Needless to say, after church I was not my usual confident self when I arrived at preschool to pick up Bucket Head. After a quick pat down in the parking lot to make sure there were no other sundry items hitchin’ a ride, I made my way through the throngs of noisy nannies, grannies, and professional SAHMs, to Ms. Evelyn’s classroom door. Cue unpleasant surprise number two…

Preschool Teacher: “Did you happen to sign Bucket Head up for the speech screenings next week?”

Me: “Noooooo. (perplexed look and tilt of head) Do you think I should????”

Preschool Teacher: “Well, yes.” (facial express: DUH.)

Me: “Oh my God, are you serious?” (a little slow on the uptake, as usual)

Preschool Teacher: “It’s just that I noticed he struggles with several different sounds and it would really help him to be ready for kindergarten if he could work on that.”

Me: (dry mouth, gulp, followed by disbelieving head shake) “I remember the flyer coming home in his backpack a few weeks ago, but I tossed it in the recycling bin thinking it didn’t apply to him. I mean, he’s only three. Surely this is just a developmental thing. Right?” (another painful dry gulp)

Preschool Teacher: (nervous smile and eye twitch)

Me: (rapidly and a little too close) “I mean, how bad is it?… compared to the other kids in your class.”

Preschool Teacher: (stepping back a bit and placing hands in the self-defense-ready position) “Well, I can’t discuss other students, but it couldn’t hurt to get the screening.”

Me: (suddenly realizing that I’ve frightened her) “Oh. Okay. I guess I’ll stop by the office and see if they have an extra flyer.” (big sigh)

Bucket Head: “See you yater, ayyigator!” (to Teacher, big smile and wave)

And…. scene.

Perhaps a woman of greater poise could have managed this information better, but unpleasant surprises aren’t really my thing. And two in one day? And immediately following an hour of alone time with The Blessed Sacrament? What… did I not pray hard enough? Did I pray for the wrong things? Is God punishing me for my slovenly ways and clingy panties? Or is this all just a coincidence…

I just don’t know.

But I can tell you this: it never feels good to hear “there’s something wrong with your child.” After three kids and several high-maintenance pets, you’d think I’d be used to it by now, but no… it is always a shot to the heart. Granted, I realize there are many many worse things a parent can hear, and I’m grateful that whatever this is or isn’t, it’s probably fixable. My heart and prayers go out to all the parents out there who are facing much scarier battles.

So today, in addition to vowing that I will put my skivvies in the hamper from now on, I give thanks to God for not giving me more than I can ever handle. Clearly he/she knows me all too well.  To Ms. Evelyn and all the teachers of the world who deliver difficult news to freaky parents, I salute you. Thank you for all the love and care you give to our children every day. And Jesus, you are welcome for the slapstick yesterday. Try the veal (just not on Friday). I’ll be here all week.

In prayerful thanksgiving and praise,

-Iris

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris

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