What A Cookie Can Do

2000 boxes of cookiesThat was the theme for this year’s Girl Scout Cookie Sale, and I can tell you what it can do…send the cookie mom to the crazy house.

The year started out in the midst of being Cookie Mom for my six-year-old’s Daisy troop. When 2000 boxes of cookies arrived at my home and filled a room, my kids thought we’d won the lottery.

This is what heaven looks like to Cookie Monster.

Stupid lady saying yes I'll do itI got all excited at the word “cookie” and screamed “I’ll do it!” without first reading the job description. The fine print that should have been included:

Two months of your life will be sacrificed…you will never get them back. Your house will fall apart while simultaneously being transformed into a warehouse. You will do more math than you have seen since High School and the red tape of paperwork rivals that of the Pentagon. You will also gain 10 to 15 pounds thanks to the convenience of purchasing Samoas from the comfort of your living room at 2am so good luck with that.

2012 suckers guide to selling cookiesSeems simple. Just sell cookies. They practically sell themselves, but there is an entire notebook full of paperwork and rules to follow. Inventory to track. Incentives and patches to order.

After a month of presales was complete, a month of booth duty followed. This consists of loading up cases of cookies, a table, cash box, and two 6 year olds who have the cuteness factor working for them.

I remember being a girl scout and wanting that 100 cookie sale patch so badly I could taste the thread I would be using to sew it on. It never happened. My daughter gets the 250 box patch! She’s cuter, a better salesman, and much more determined. Needless to say I did not go into sales.

The trash men are probably trying to get a glimpse of the crazy person who is eating cookies by the case. This was a light day with only 3 boxes.

Then there was all the excitement of constantly counting money with distractions.
counting cookie money

If that wasn’t enough to do, this is the time:
bad hair

  • My oven died
  • My daughter decided that cutting Barbie’s hair wasn’t as fun as taking a chuck out of her own…to the scalp. This photo is the painful regrowth process we are enduring.
  • Taxes
  • Millions of practices for 4 MPA (Music Practice Assessment) performances for 2 kids (band AND orchestra)
  • Little one lost her precious blankie.
  • A million other distractions keeping me from blogging – including addictions to Scramble and Draw Something.

So now that I’m officially done with cookies, I hope to be here more often again. This post is to remind me next year to just say “no”. I did my time.

Preppy People, Meet The Hot Topic People

If the names L.L.Bean, Lacoste, Chris Craft, or Benetton bring back some bad memories, you aren’t alone. I spent the better part of my middle school days lost in the midst of the “preppy era” where pink and green were the “IN” colors of the day. I spent hours staring into the Benetton store window admiring all the bright colors and dreaming of owning one of those sweaters.

preppy example

Yes I'm embarrased to admit I scanned this from my very own copy of the Official Preppy Handbook. Not only did I own it, but I colored it in according to the directions which means I actually read it. Why did we think this was a good look?

I have a theory on how the preppy thing started.

A rich fashion-designer-type is sitting around his posh home sipping a brandy when his poodle throws up some crushed florescent crayons on an imported corduroy rug and inspires the Spring collection. We have Rover to thank for looking ridiculous for years.

Signs of Preppiness…

Bear with me on the real awkward photos of me that follow. I’m sure it was just bad lighting and Photoshop didn’t exist yet. Be gentle.

Corduroy Pants

If your florescent green wide corduroy pants caused the cones in your classmate’s retina to scream and shut down in color overload, your popularity was practically guaranteed to increase tenfold.

Animal logos

The Izod alligator was the badge of coolness. Higher than the alligator on the fashion evolutionary scale was the horse, and the smell of the guys’ Polo cologne filled the hallways thanks to Ralph Lauren.

Calvin Klein, Jordache & Gloria Vanderbilt jeans

(This is not me…it’s Brooke Shields in case you were confused.)
Who doesn’t remember the famous line?

If you didn’t have to lie flat, struggle, tug and then finish with hopping around to squeeze in them, your jeans weren’t tight enough. OK now I feel guilty for complaining about my daughter’s skater jeans and see I’m getting payback.

Recently my mother arrived at my house with a surprise. My old pair of Jordache jeans that I had painstakingly sewed up the inseam to make them tighter. *Deep sigh* A treasure that my not-impressed-with-the-vintage-jeans daughter tossed off to the side. How dare she! They sit patiently on my dresser in the hopes that one day I can fit more than my arm in there and re-live the magic.

The add-a-bead necklace

fake add a bead necklace

I dare you to question their authenticity.

Remember that necklace? Each bead was 18K gold, so even the tiny little beads were like $18. I remember walking to the jewelry store in the strip mall beside my neighborhood and laying a pile of change on the counter hoping I had enough to cover the tax so I could add one more tiny bead. By the time I got home, it already had a dent in it. That’s how you knew they were real.

While the rich kids paraded around with 3 strands filled to the clasp with the large mm beads, there I was with my 3-5 measly 3mm and 5mm beads that were so small you needed a microscope to see them.

That’s when you mistakenly fall into the fake add-a-bead necklace trap. Look! I have 23 large beads. Yes they are turning green but just look at ’em!

preppy outfit

Who needs good hair when you have what is really important...the real add-a-beads (the shorter smaller necklace) and the fake ones and my only preppy shirt. I would have worn this every day if I could have. Thank goodness for slow laundry turnover.

My parents were sensible and didn’t frivolously spend money on fads. In order to cease my begging for name brand clothes, I got about $20 a week allowance that I had to use for my activities and all my clothes, and I learned to stretch my dollars by digging through the racks at TJ Maxx in hopes of finding something name brand even if half a pocket was missing.

The real thing out of reach price-wise, preppy status was looking unattainable. Then it happened. The day I found one green Polo shirt hidden deep within the racks. I practically screamed in delight and ignored the tiny hole under the sleeve! It became my prized possession. Making the most of it, I wore it twice a week – Mondays and Thursdays – as well as in every photograph for the next two years. Just because it was long sleeve didn’t stop me from wearing in in 78 degree humidity. Something about wearing that horse made you feel like you were sitting high in the saddle, and it was always a great day.

Bermuda Bags

bermuda bag

These are still popular and even cuter today. Photo credit to Allaboutyoudesign.com where you can buy them. Now I want one!

My favorite fashion accessory and a must-have was the bermuda bag. The covers were exchangeable so you could match whatever you were wearing. This lead to another popular trend that caused an issue for me…


Everything could be propelled to an even cooler status if they were embroidered with your initials. This was a problem. I don’t have a middle name. Really. My mother explained the reason behind this was because she went by her middle name, but was constantly called her first name. To avoid such confusion, she didn’t give people any choice but to call me Melinda. Thank goodness I wasn’t the product of celebrities and stuck with Zuzu.

This was an issue when having a sweater embroidered since 2 initials throws the monogram off balance. After learning that lesson with a sweater, I opted to ditch the initials on my purse cover.

The Baseball Shirt

the baseball tee

The baseball t-shirt. Always look fashionable while tangled in a phone cord.

Penny Loafers, Duck Shoes, Leather Moccasins and Sperry Topsiders

It’s hard to tell in the picture, but I’m wearing penny loafers. You never know when a penny is going to come in handy, and you conveniently have 2! That’s practically 1/4 of a gumball.

penny loafers preppy look

Under my only cable cardigan? Oh there's that green shirt again. Again it's all about distracting from the bad hair.

The IZOD shirt. The hair got better eventually. I just felt I had to prove it.

The only thing worse than growing up in this label-conscious society was not being ridiculously wealthly during it. It didn’t really bother me that I didn’t have $1000s to spend on my school wardrobe like so many of my friends who had a closet full of the “in” clothes with the tags still on. That just made my few items I did have worth that much more to me. I appreciated what I had and looking back my parents taught me a valuable lesson about fads. Don’t get sucked into them. It’s a waste of money. This is why I love consignment stores and the thrill of the hunt.

Today’s Preppy

Out shopping for clothes for my son’s birthday, my soon-to-be-fourteen-year-old daughter mentioned “Hot Topic” people. I listened and learned how teens that wear Hollister and Aeropostale clothes are the preppy equivalent of today.

“Preppy” people apparently have no business stepping foot into Hot Topic which is reserved for the hard core music fans of the music of Lady Gaga, Falling in Reverse, Asking Alexandria, Black Veil Brides, and other bands that I couldn’t spell. She considers it “cheating” on Hot Topic to walk into Hollister. The only exception to this rule is you might have to go there to a preppy store to purchase brightly colored pants which are all the rage. Hmm…that sounds scarily familiar. They come in green and pink, too. *Flashback*

I’m told it is all about being bright and colorful or going completely opposite by wearing all black.

As we approached Hot Topic, she began salivating at the thought of what’s new in there.

“Sorry we can’t go in there,” I said.

“What?! Why not? I want to see if they have new Lady Gaga shirts.”

“Your rules. Excuse me but, YOU’RE wearing Hollister.”

She looks down and screams “Ahh!”

I didn’t really get a good feel for what is Hot Topicish and what is preppy as it all seems to be mixed together to me. Perhaps if they had the updated version of the Preppy Handbook, things would be clearer.

Were you in school during the preppy era?
Did you have this book?

the preppy handbook

Technically Superior Children of Today

cavemanLet’s face it. We are raising a generation of high-tech savvy children than make us look like cavemen banging rocks together. I consider myself pretty geeky when it comes to electronics, but the kids pick it up as naturally as holding a fork.

My son wasn’t even two when he first began using a computer. Easily navigating his educational game with the mouse while I cooked dinner, his only limitation seemed to be his size. He fell off the computer chair and busted his lip. Now almost 17, he can host his own server for online games and other technical marvels I can only admire in wonder.

mixing boardMy thirteen year old musician’s room houses a massive collection of electronic wires running from various instruments through an amp or mixing board and into the computer where she creates her own songs. Clipping, adding effects, and mixing sounds are simple to her.

Then there is my little six year old who has advanced skills when it comes to the workings of my iPhone. She enjoys recording audio clips on it in the car (I didn’t know it did that), and more than once I have come to her for advice.

My house is bursting with knowledge of all things electronic.

This is why it’s so hard for me to understand why it is the simple things that leave them staring blankly…

open bread bag with twistie tie

How does this thing work? Where is the plug?

The twisty tie on the bread bag is apparently complicated. I feel so smart that I know how to use it.

What’s Your Theme Song?

theme music for lifeThis morning while my daughter sat in the car waiting for me to take her to school, I dramatically strutted to the car with “Stayin’ Alive” blasting from my iPhone. I believe everyone should have theme music surrounding them like a live clip from a movie. As soon as I got in the car, I realized my keys were inside and proceeded to complain how my whole entrance was now ruined.

You have to love a child that tells you to wait in the doorway while she cues up your song…and…ok…wait for it…ok now go. Returning to the car to my music again the scene was saved.

We giggled thinking how shoppers in the grocery store isle would react to us strutting down the aisle for a bag of sugar. “You’d have to try it,” she challenged. It is tempting, but it would have to be in a city I don’t live in for both our reputations’ sake. I love this girl who is my partner in absolute craziness.

What is my song?

She and I try to pick ringtone songs that match the person. She of course is Lady Gaga, and so what did she pick for me?

Madonna? No.
Coldplay? No.
Sexy and I Know It by LMFAO? Yes! What?

Imagine her hanging out with a group a friends when “I’m Sexy and I Know It” plays from her phone. As she reaches to answer she mentions “Oh that’s my Mom calling.” I guess I should take this as a compliment?

This image amused her until the day I actual DID call and her friends were standing around. I heard a whispered, panicked voice say “OMG I forgot I had that ring tone! I was standing in the middle of the gym!”

Songs Make You Feel

It is funny how songs emit a personality, spirit, and mood like nothing else. One push of a button and your mood can sway in the opposite direction simply based on some notes.

Music fills my house

Here is the part where I do a little mom bragging so excuse me.
My son plays piano and violin, but my daughter plays piano, violin, drums, electric guitar, and now saxophone. She also annoyingly plays the kitchen counter if that counts. There are days where my house sounds more like a jazz club, and I love it! Jamming out to her playing Guns N’ Roses’ Sweet Child O’ Mine on the guitar, I’m her biggest fan.

After having the saxophone for only 2 months, here she is in last night’s duet with a friend. They both learned the song by ear…no music. I present “Stereo Hearts” by Gym Class Heroes. When she’s famous one day, you can say you saw her here first.

My good friend Karen mentioned that she is looking forward to our having front row seats to something in the future as my musician rocks a stage somewhere. I’ll being looking for that shirt that says “I’m With the Band” that I can tie up in a knot on the side all “groupie” style.

What is your theme song?

No Comb Necessary

combs missingMany mornings begin with a child uttering this plea for assistance: “Mom, I need a comb.” If I only had back the hours I’ve wasted tracking them down.

The State of Mom recognizes this has escalated into a pressing economic issue. Buying in bulk only makes them disappear faster.

“Why so many combs?” questioned the drug store clerk this weekend as four combs and two brushes fell from my arms onto the counter.

“My children have issues with keeping up with them. I suspect they are eating them.”

“You should mention they aren’t disposable.”

“I assure you they aren’t being thrown away. They don’t even know how to use the trash can.”

From the dusty depths of their secret location, a stockpile of 30-50 combs anxiously await the day they are discovered. Despite my best efforts, I can’t figure out where they are going.

My daily rant: “One day we will move from here and find hundred of combs behind furniture.”

So today, the State of Mom enacted a new law which requires prospective comb owners to take an oath. Each child received the following:

On my honor I will try
To keep up with my comb.

I will not leave it in the kitchen, in the refrigerator, on the living room floor, or any other location other than the bathroom counter where it belongs.

Breaking the aforementioned agreement above will result in a replacement-cost fine. Estimated value $3.00.

An additional surcharge of $5 will also be collected and placed in a fund towards Mom’s future therapy which will be necessary if the lost comb issue continues.

If you are able to find the hidden stash of 30 or so lost combs, the $5 surcharge will happily be refunded; and you will receive the coveted title of Child of the Day for a 24 hour period.

If you are caught in possession of a comb that is not yours, you will be assigned mopping duty for the week.

After proving yourself by keeping up with a comb for a four-week period, you will be eligible for a status upgrade. Responsible Owner II entitles you the opportunity to possess a brush, too.

I agree to the terms and conditions of this contract.

Signature of Child

Upon receipt of this signed document, a comb with your name on it will be issued immediately.

Faced with a contract to sign, their urgency in having a new comb disappeared completely.

The sixteen year old son miraculously found his comb, and returned the sheet unsigned. He also corrected 3 grammatical errors. No comb issued.

The teenage daughter noted that technically it didn’t cover her keeping a comb in her room, so she couldn’t sign it. Form returned. No comb issued. Since she already had the brush she stole from me, she didn’t need one anyway.

I had to read the document to the six year old. She didn’t seem to understand most of it…that is until the part about “Child of the Day”.

“Child of the Day? What is THAT?” Suddenly interested, she perked up and awaited the news about this fantastic title she wasn’t aware of before now.

“It’s just a title. No perks. It’s never actually been awarded before so I don’t know.”

She quickly grabbed the pen and signed her name. I think she was confused and thought she was signing for a title because she ran off without her comb.

Titles do work. Taking a cue from big business techniques, I’m busily creating some must-have titles. If promoted in the right way, Laundry King, Recycle Princess, and Captain Dishwasher might just do the trick.

What object goes missing at your house?

UPDATE (10-31-11): My A/C guy found a comb in my driveway. He said “Weren’t you just saying you had a issue with combs?”

Stepping on the Daisies

daisy dollTonight was little one’s first Daisy meeting. I didn’t know there was anything in Girl Scouts before Brownies. Daisies are K-1st graders, and she’s been counting down the days for a week.

Making First Impressions

Being the first one there, I introduced myself to the troop leader and proceeded to become her least favorite parent.

Offhandedly mentioning that I wasn’t aware of this level of scouts, I recounted my days as a Girl Scout and Cadet (the middle school version). According to my experience, Cadets do not wear their uniform to school on meeting days but instead covertly stand behind a tree until Mom leaves the carpool drop off lane at which time they cram the vest into a back pack. This is called smart planning to avoid getting beaten up.

Her snarled, annoyed response to my story was “It’s only as cool as you make it.”

At this point I realized she was saying that for the benefit of her close-to-middle-school-aged daughter that was sitting on the couch behind me. Attempting a recovery, I quickly mentioned “I loved the cooking badges.”

Since she was never a girl scout herself, I forgive her for the lack of first hand experience with this horror. I’m sorry but there is no making that sash cool in middle school. That girl is going thank me one day for my wisdom.

Boy was I glad to see my friend walk in the door so I could leave that conversation behind.

It’s all about the cookies

Amazed at not having been thrown out, I sat on one of the couches, and the meeting began. Raising my hand to ask the most important question, I was thrilled to hear that we would be selling Girl Scout cookies. Whoo hooooooo!! My son later asked if that meant we could purchase with a discount. Sadly that isn’t how it works.

I hate camping.

Not a fan. My idea of camping is a tent in the living room and me not in it. I like electricity and don’t find it relaxing to act out pioneer days.

My dislike of camping ironically stems from childhood experiences at Girl Scout camp. The brochure would have described it as:

Enjoy a rain-filled weekend in a mosquito-infested, muddy campsite featuring a three hour terrifying tour of the inside of the car during a record-breaking lightning storm.

Your taste buds will delight in a non-melted s’more cooked over a wet bonfire.

Experience chaffing from wearing wet clothes while hanging up clothes to dry on our state-of-the-art clothes line.

Wait till you see our latrine! Doesn’t it just sound fancy?

With all the fun included, it is hard to believe you also take home with a BONUS camping badge for the back of your vest where your long hair will cover it for the next two years.

Worth it?

Absolutely not.

So you can imagine my horror when I scanned the agenda’s list of upcoming events and saw the word “CAMPING”. I started eyeing the exit door options and plotting an escape plan until I learned that Daisies aren’t allowed to camp overnight. Great! They only go from 7am until 7pm. What? 12 hours? I’m a one hour and go kinda camper. I made a mental note to plan a “vacation” for that day. “Sorry we have plans that weekend. Darn because I was really looking forward to that.”

After forking over $44 in cash, I was handed a vest and a stack of patches. Back in the day, everything required sewing on patches by hand. Thank goodness for the invention of iron-on patches because I’m about as handy with a needle and thread as an elephant.

Little one couldn’t wait to get home to transform the plain vest to the patched version, so I warmed up the iron and spent the next ten minutes getting them out of the vacuum-sealed containers.

How hard could they be to iron on?

The first patch was a breeze.

The second ended up turned at a 45 degree angle. Crap!
daisies try 1
The more I looked at it, the more I knew that was not going to pass inspection and we were going to get kicked out. Luckily you can reheat the patch and unstick it.

With attempt number two, I only managed to reverse the problem.
daisies patch try 2

Third time is the charm…I think. At this point I can’t even tell if that is straight or not.

Next meeting she will earn the center of the daisy patch for reciting:

The Girl Scout Promise
On my honor, I will try:
To serve God and my country,
To help people at all times,
And to live by the Girl Scout Law.

With all eyes on her, I envision my little girl nervously rambling the chorus to Lady Gaga’s Judas by accident.

I hope we can hang in there until the cookies arrive in February/March.

No Book For You

school libraryAnyone can get a library card from the county library. In fact, I’m 95% sure the dog could check out a copy of “How To Slump On The Floor All Day: A Guide For Everyday Canine Living,” but he doesn’t need it.

Over the years, trips with the kids were predictable:

  • Pay for the lost book
  • Checkout 15 books
  • Repeat and rinse the next week

In stark contrast the elementary school library requires Kindergarteners to go through four training sessions on how to use the library and take care of a book.

Here is my abbreviated 30 second version:

  • Select a book.
  • Check out a book.
  • Take care of the book.
  • Return the book.

During required library training, the excited Kindergarteners are drilled on the procedures of check out as if attempting to obtain top secret security clearance.

“Once you have been issued your credentials you will be able to check out top secret documents that you must guard with your life. Offenders will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Busily shelving books during one of the training sessions, I giggled while listening to the lesson about not placing a drink or food next to a book. One observant boy raised his hand and noted his concern about the cup of coffee the Media Specialist had set atop the bookshelf full of 100s of books. Touche.

You get the feeling that if they don’t follow exact procedures, they will hear “No Book For YOU!”

I pictured them cautiously approaching the checkout desk, sweat dripping down their forehead as they await the verdict that all rules were sufficiently met.

This week the class walked out of the library as newly-licensed agents of reading. With terrified looks, they securely grasped books in their hands.

Some mentioned they were too afraid to touch the book and read it for fear of bending a page. Frightened minds were cluttered with visions of sitting on a couch innocently reading the book when a large Coke appears out of thin air and spills on the cover.

Yesterday little one skipped happily into the house and announced she had checked out her first library book.

“Let’s read it now,” I suggested.

“You mean take it out of my book bag? I can’t get food or drink on it,” she nervously reminded me.

“I know. It will be fine.”

“Don’t breath on it.”

It was if I had asked her to take the Mona Lisa out of her bag and remove it from its protective container so I could color on it.

Turns out she has the special knack of selecting the most boring book in the library that was obviously mistakenly published as children’s literature. Offering all the excitement of my college Economics textbook, it contained old English mixed with vocabulary targeting an audience of Philosophy Ph.D.s, and even I couldn’t pronounce or understand some of the words.

Paging Dr. Suess…

The book was carefully returned to the book bag for a safe journey back to school.

At this point I noticed my good cookbook on the floor being used as a Barbie skateboard ramp. I wonder if the Media Specialist makes house calls.

Celebrity Luncheon Complete With Chocolate Milk

Want to feel like a celebrity? Go have lunch with a Kindergarten class.

Walking into the lunchroom, you’ll hear the class lookout cheer “It’s a MOM!” followed by some chatter as they discuss whose Mom it is. Your child’s face will light up your heart as a proud grin and twinkle in the eyes claim you.

Feeling like Madonna walking the red carpet with all eyes on you, your reality returns as the smell of peanut butter and jelly permeate your senses.

GogurtEighteen wide-eyed tots will be as excited to see you as if you were their own mom, and hands will be raised for help with opening their food packages and milk containers. You’re a hero rescuing them from lunch packaging obstacles.

If you aren’t familiar with a Gogurt, it is a tube of yogurt with a “pull here” tab at the top that is impossible to open without squirting the stuff all over you, the child, and the floor.

It is usually fluorescent pink or blue, and 70% of the kids have one in their lunch box. There’s a good chance you’re walking out out of there with a pink design on your shirt, so I suggest coming to lunch in camouflage and armed with an entire package of napkins.

Knowing how chaotic the first day of school lunch is, I went to help.

All kids in our area are assigned a student ID# that is also what they punch into a keypad to purchase lunch. These are children that still don’t know their phone number yet are expected to memorize a 7 digit number ASAP. In the meantime, they are all pinned with a clothespin containing their number. Most were broken by day 3 from misuse.

Another mom and I had the task of escorting 4 children through the lunch line for the first time. You may be thinking, “Wow! 4 kids and 2 moms seems like overkill.” Turns out you may need 2 moms per child as we quickly found out.

It is hard to keep an eye on two kids when so much activity is happening at the same time in a noisy lunchroom.

The Lunch Line: A Kindergartener’s View:

  • The lunch clip is fun to clip onto your neighbors hand, hair, or shoe. Wow it clips on your lip and nose, too!
  • Picking chocolate, strawberry, or plain milk is a life-altering decision requiring several attempts. I have to get this right.
  • Placing all your silverware on your classmate’s tray is soooooo funny.
  • What happens if I get out of line and mix in with the class behind us? I’m going to test that out.
  • Why do those moms keep counting? There are only four of us.
  • This is the perfect opportunity to act out the WWF move I saw last night.
  • I can balance my milk on my head.
  • I can walk to the table with my tray with my shoelaces untied. No problem…oooppfff…CRASH!!

Finally making it to check out, we painstakingly wait for each child to attempt to punch in their 7 digit number. 1 – 2 – 33 ….start over….1 – 2 – 4….start over… Time at this point went backwards. After 10 failed attempts the number is done for them, and off the child goes to the table while attempting to balance all their lunch atop a flimsy paper tray. It’s too stressful to watch.

The table is only 3 rows of tables away which makes it hard to understand how we lost one out of four kids.

Panicked we searched everywhere for several minutes. Finally finding him happily chatting away at the wrong table not realizing he had never seen these people before, we redirect him to his class and attempt to slow our heartbeats with a few deep yoga breaths.

Things I learned:

  • Thirty minutes of Kindergarten lunch feels like 4 hours.
  • Kindergarten teachers are saints.

Give Me All the Juicy Details

kindergarten playgroundEach afternoon I anticipate little one’s rendition of the dramas of Kindergarten such as:

  • Jenny spilled her lunch tray.
  • Laura was hanging upside down on the monkey bars and showed her underwear.
  • Buster cried because Michael called him a “poopy head”.

I get this riveting conversation instead:

How was school?


What did you do today?

I don’t know.

Were you there?


Phew. I was worried you were skipping school at 5 years old.

What was your favorite thing you did today?

I don’t know.

Did you play outside on the playground?

I don’t know.

You don’t remember if you went outside?

No. I don’t remember.

Was your friend there today?

I don’t know!

Now she is getting irritated at the questioning.

Oh yeah!!! I got a sticker on my chart today!!

Oh great! NOW we’re getting somewhere.

So what did you DO to get the sticker?

I don’t know.

Tiny Chairs and Bad Knees

class desk

Can you smell it?

No it’s not the smell of freshly sharpened pencils anxiously awaiting the start of a new school year in a brand new book bag. It’s old gym clothes that, despite soaking in Snuggle overnight, can’t let go of the funky smell from last year.

Little one starts Kindergarten next week!

She’s been waiting for the day she gets on a bus and heads to the “big school” like her siblings.

As we walked through the school earlier this week, I asked, “Aren’t you excited?!! You are going to be here next week starting Kindergarten!!” in a hysterical tone of ultimate parental euphoria.

While rolling her eyes, she mumbled back, “I WAS except you keep saying that.”

In other words, please stop.

Parent Orientation

I had to attend parent orientation this week.

Walking into the classroom filled with colorful alphabet charts and sight words, I was offered the tiny seat at her desk. It’s been 7 years since I last plopped into the junior-sized chair without a thought, and this time I was very aware that my knees are deteriorating at a rapid pace. I heard a distinctive creeeeaaaaak as I slowly sat but totally played it off like it was the chair. Unsure of whether to hunch or lean back with my feet out, I fidgeted and hoped the teacher didn’t notice. Frequently checking the clock and my phone, I looked like an ADD parent and hoped it wasn’t noted in my permanent record.

Judging by the number of moms dressed up in their matching handbags and shoes to make a great impression, I’m confident I’m the oldest mom in the class. That’s what happens when you have a child in your late 30s. Now I’m thinking the “at-risk” category really spans the entire first 18 years of their life. It starts with not being able to run as fast after a toddler and ends with the risk of not having the energy to handle a teen in your 50s.

The teacher asked, “Who is a first-time Kindergarten parent?”, and hands nervously went up everywhere. That wasn’t necessary. They’re the ones wearing a look of confusion, pride, and worry while frantically writing down everything she says. Meanwhile I’m covertly texting my daughter who is at her school next door which is the best I can do when I have to be in 2 places at once. Visions of her going on an unnecessary spending spree with my cash prompted a few checkins. Darn now my leg’s asleep. What time is it?

With the other two kids in middle and high school, I’ve been through 12 years of elementary school already. It’s old hat, so I was only half paying attention and daydreaming that she instead asked “How many people are approaching the delightful hot flash years?” and imagined being the only one slowly raising my hand while a spotlight focused on my head for all to stare in disbelief like a sideshow freak.

When she asked if there were any questions, I wanted to ask “Is the air on? It’s hot in here.”



The patience and enthusiasm for shoe box dioramas were lost many years ago, and I dread once again being thrust into the world of science fair show boards and clay depictions of the first Thanksgiving. Last minute costume creations, remembering the class snack, and signing off on the folder daily cause great stress. Seven years ago I had more energy for such things.

Filling out the “things I should know” form, I’m tempting to write the following notes:

  • I’m psychologically allergic to glitter.
  • Some days her socks may not match and that’s the dryer’s fault not hers.
  • Don’t leave a message on my house phone. It is lost somewhere in the living room and I’m still trying to follow the beep.
  • Tweeting is the fastest way to contact me.
  • She hangs out with her 13 year old sister so she may have some unKindergarten-like information to share
  • She may quote lines from Degrassi…see note above.
  • She can act out all the dances from Lady Gaga videos…again see above.
  • Drawings may include her sleeping on a couch, and that is correct. Since the high fever hallucination of ghosts in her room, she’s been living in the den. I’m too tired to correct that at this time. Plus I’ve seen Sixth Sense 10 times and believe her.
  • She’s mastered my iPhone so if you have any technical issues, she’s happy to help if she can play Plants vs. Zombies.
  • I’m also allergic to slime in a bag so please don’t send that home.

Before I left, I drew a tiny smiley face on the good deed chart taped to her desk. Next week when she sees it, she will know Mommy is proudly smiling at her.