Largely anticipated might seem a bit presumptuous of me, but after spending an hour writing this very post on Sunday only to have it all vanish when I hit publish, I know I’m largely anticipating finally getting it published. Also, I know my friend Jessie is too, she emailed me with some free technical advice and a plea that I make up with my blog and post this story. Here’s to you Jessie, and to the principal of my children’s elementary school who apparently hates me. Let me explain.
I was an exemplary student throughout my academic career. Quiet, studious, obedient, serious, okay really I can’t even type those things without laughing let alone make you believe them. I did manage to pull off good grades (National Honors Society 1996 baby) which probably would’ve been even better had I a) applied myself b) worried less about how to get OUT of school and what my next social adventure would be and more about things like chemistry…blech and c) studied school related things instead of the list of eligible bachelors in my class (and other classes too let’s be honest here). I was quite a student especially my junior and senior years of high school where I was living it up small school style, in the same exact school that my dear children attend today. Oh yeah, it’s K-12, that’s how we roll in the boondocks. I was not a defiant, disrespectful, destructive student but rather a…hmmm what’s the word?....spunky…yeah that’s it SPUNKY, independent…and slightly mischievous student. Oh boy, if you had any idea how much of an understatement that is, but I had so much fun in high school and really isn’t that what matters? Remind me I said that when my kids are in high school,on second thought DON’T. The teachers and faculty at that school and I had a love/hate relationship. The majority of my teachers enjoyed my fun loving, sarcastic spirit. Although, that can partially be attributed to the large amounts of pot smoked in the 60’s by one of them…love ya Mr. Horn. Unfortunately, not all the school faculty found me as charming, in particular the school secretary and the principal. The principal has long since retired but the secretary, oh she’s still there and she loves me now just as much as she always has. So much indeed that she will not even acknowledge me even when I speak directly to her. It’s pretty special, especially when GI Joe is with me and her face lights up like the Fourth of July at him all the while pretending I’m not even there. Pretty sure she thinks he could’ve married better, oh well join the club. J
One might think that growing up, maturing, and having kids of my own would’ve changed me. And it has….not, as evidenced by my little outing to eat lunch with my kids at school recently.
Before spring break I happened to have a Thursday off and thought it would be fun to go eat lunch with the kids at school. I like to do that at least once throughout the school year, you know for the Worst Mom of the Year rebuttal. I arrived at 10:40, went through the proper check in (which admittedly I don’t always do, it’s hard to get out of that rule the school mentality), said hi to the h.s. secretary as I passed her in the hall only for her to look the other way and pretend she didn’t hear me when we were the only 2 in the hallway, and was ready to meet Blade and Ryder for their 10:45 lunch time. I repeat 10:45 LUNCHTIME. No wonder they can eat a week’s worth of groceries when they get home from school every day, that’s early. When a parent comes to eat lunch with their child, they sit at a “special table” and can invite one friend to eat with them. Each boy picked a friend and our adventure at the “special table” began. I had a rapt audience of 4 wide eyed boys (story of my life….I wish) that I entertained and enlightened with stories of my youth and such. All was great with the world and I was working my way to Cool Mom of the Year status.
I happened to notice that the principal had set up a wannabe Baskin Robbins ice cream shop at the end of our table. Turns out it was to reward kids whose parents signed the slip saying they had read the school newsletter. I would like it documented that I read the newsletter, signed it and put it in my children’s backpacks so they would have a fair shot at the ice cream, even though I’m morally opposed to BRIBING with ice cream to get parents to take an active role in their kids’ education (oh sorry tangent back to the story), only to have them tell me the next day that they didn’t turn it in because they didn’t want ice cream from the principal. That should give you a little glimpse of our principal. Warm, caring, fun? Not so much. But don’t take my word for it, I’m slightly biased as GI Joe and I have been less than impressed with her on several occasions throughout our children’s academic careers. No, instead trust the kids WHO TURNED DOWN FREE ICE CREAM because they’d rather go without than have to deal with her. I’m just sayin’.
There she was scooping up ice cream sans smiles at one end of the table and there we were at the other end, me and my entourage of 1st and 2nd grade boys. We were laughing and having a good time when she abruptly looked at us and snapped to the boys in that tone, “BOYS THAT IS ENOUGH! KEEP IT DOWN THIS IS THE LUNCH ROOM!” Believe it or not I was speechless, but not for long. I sang a line or two of “Jesus, Take the Wheel” in my head and then calmly, albeit slightly annoyed replied, “Oh sorry, we were just having fun, didn’t realize we were being too loud.” And then it was like it was 1995 and I was back in the lunchroom again about to get yet another Saturday School , because she looked down her pointy nose at me and said, “WE JUST CAN’T HAVE THAT. IMAGINE IF ALL 150 KIDS IN THE LUNCH ROOM WERE CARRYING ON LIKE THAT.” Oh JESUS take the wheel. Heaven forbid we have kids laughing and enjoying their lunch. With 4 sets of young eyes on me, I took the high road and let it go. Did you hear me? I LET IT GO. But I did giggle, turn to them and say, “Thanks boys for getting me in trouble, now it really does feel like when I went to school here.” Long story short, but not really, I was their hero.
After that little fiasco, I was ready to blow that pop stand. Ryder had to go back to class and Dakota’s lunch wasn’t for another 45 minutes, so I went to recess with Blade, where I played quarterback for the 2nd grade boys. If you’re not familiar with playground happenings, getting to be QB is kind of a big deal. And being a mom with zero athletic abilities and yet your son still endorsing you as quarterback…a really big deal. I made him proud, I think, until I got the boot when the 3rd graders came out to play. Apparently, 3rd graders trump Blade’s mom…whatever. I stood on the sidelines and fielded questions from very inquisitive 2nd and 3rd grade girls and then gave thanks that I have 2 boys and only 1 girl.
When Blade’s recess ended, it was time for Dakota’s recess. No playing QB for her, she’s a swings and playing dragons kind of girl. I hung out at the swings with her where I was interrogated by 4th grade girls. I thought 2nd and 3rd graders were rough, but wow those 4th grade girls were a tough crowd. One girl looked me over and then said, “So you’re Dakota’s mom?” “Yes, I am.” And serious as a heart attack she said, “That Dakota, she’s a weird one.” She didn’t say it maliciously, just very matter of factly. I was in no position to argue with her as my daughter was running like a T-Rex around me.
As recess ended, a boy from Dakota’s class came up to me and very shyly and quietly asked me, “Is it true what Dakota says, that at your house the Bakugan (the latest Japanese toy craze that are these little ball like things that morph into a dragon or another character and they battle each other) come alive and she’s found them in the trees and stuff?”
“Well, what do you think?” I replied, not wanting to throw my own daughter under the bus for being the crazy girl who thinks imaginary things are real even though she IS the crazy one who thinks imaginary things are real.
“I think there’s no way and that she just has an overactive imagination,” said the boy.
Basically, I learned that our daughter is THAT kid, the weird one with the overactive imagination. She makes us proud.
But wait, there’s more. Turns out that there is about a 12 minute process for the 4th graders to go from recess to lunch which involves a lot of washing hands, standing in line, and a whole lot of nothing. Didn’t seem very efficient to me, but what do I know right? So we’re standing in line and the hall monitor/recess lady and the principal (yes, HER again) were telling the kids to all sit down on the floor in the hallway and wait quietly for their turn. And if I may interject here and I may since it’s my blog, I would just like to say that I would think that someone who works with children for a living AND chose this profession should perhaps like children, and if I may be so bold as to say, enjoy them? I totally don’t get that vibe from Mrs. Principal. I realize it’s a tough job and you can’t always be sunshine and rainbows but I would think that a little warm fuzzy with a splash of humor thrown in then couldn’t hurt anything. And now back to your regularly scheduled programming. I didn’t think it was necessary that I, as an 5’9” grown adult sit down on the floor. I could do the quiet thing..mostly, but I drew the line at sitting on the floor. This presented a problem for Mrs. Principal. She yelled out from the other end of the line, “We need EVERYONE to sit down as to have SOMEONE standing up distracts those who are doing what they are told.”
I looked around, sure I would find a 4th grader misbehaving and standing up when they should be sitting but alas I was standing up alone. OH UH UH she was sure ‘nuff talking about me, but not directly to me because I’m sure my goat wrestling tough farm girl reputation had preceded me and she was scared. For some reason she can never speak directly to me so instead she made a spectacle about it. No worries I wasn’t the least bit embarrassed and neither was Dakota. For fear of landing right back in the dreaded Saturday school where I spent so many Saturday mornings of my senior year, I politely ignored her instead of issuing a snappy retort. I’m seeing a trend here and I have to say “bite your tongue” Prairie Princess is kinda boring. I remained standing and figured if it were that big of an issue Mrs. Principal could come speak directly to me, but seriously aren’t there bigger concerns than whether or not a PARENT is adhering to the 4th grade lunch rules? Thankfully, we were saved by the bell and released from line prison without further incident.
In 2 hours, I managed to have 4 boys hang on my every word, a group of girls give me the 3rd degree interrogation, be yelled at TWICE by the principal, and blatantly ignored by the secretary. Good to know some things never change.
Yours From Saturday School ,
Prairie Princess aka Grown Up Juvenile Delinquent