Friday, April 13, 2012

It All Comes Out in the Wash

I have noticed that in the Spring, it seems that children in school are subjected to many little competitions. This is fine and good. I have never been a parent to support the idea of everyone on the team getting a trophy. I realize in life that there will be winners and losers, but I gotta tell you, it really sucks to be the parent of a child who often lucks out. Especially if that child is a sore loser. Lately, I will walk into the school yard and see the look on one of my kid's face and for a brief moment, I'm sure that someone forced them to drown a kitten for extra credit. Of course, it's only because they lost at some sort of contest. The teacher then dismisses them to me, and I get to deal with the fallout. My kids pout and cry like champs. If there was an Olympic competition for that, my children could get the Gold.
I had a double whammy yesterday. It was the vocabulary parade.
Each student makes a hat that depicts a word. Each grade is divided into nouns, verbs, adverbs etc.. My daughter won for her class in Kindergarten and this she clings to every year. For third grade, she wore her lovely hat that said "Dancing" (verb) and trooped into the school buoyed by hope. My son had made a wonderful hat with a velociraptor on top (noun). Oh, it's worth mentioning that the day before, he was the one crying at the end of the day because he didn't get a chance to read his poem to the class.
Six hours later I walked into the schoolyard and my daughter ran up and punched me in the kidney. I feared the worst. She didn't get anything and to make matters worse, her best friend got a certificate. My son's teacher, a very wise woman who, put an end to prizes and winners after the shark drawing contest debacle in which she and I agreed that she would join me on that distant Oprah show as the teacher who squashed V's artistic potential and spirit. V was Ok this day, thankfully.
G was crushed because she didn't win a Newport Creamery gift card. She goes there at least twice a month on my dime. I should be the one crushed. G said that the new principal must not have liked her hat. After quickly looking around to make sure there were no other children or adults in earshot, I replied, "Fuck the principal, he wouldn't know a good thing if it hit him in the face." This didn't make her feel better. I showed her a headline on my Onion newspaper that I found hilarious which said, "Owl's are assholes." But that didn't help either.
Report cards also came out. G got a few 2's and 1 unsatisfactory, but all in all it was a very very good report card. She was upset because her brother is one of those irritating people that is above average in all academics and he never has to work at it. His report card was phenomenal, but I did not mention this in front of G. She told me that all of her friends get really good grades (to which I wanted to reply, "Fuck your friends!" but I didn't) A conversation about real happiness lying in never comparing yourself to other people fell on deaf ears. I resigned myself to a night of constant reassurance.
But it worked itself out. We went to a book party for V and G's comic book club. It's a lovely program that is run by this very nice guy who teaches children how to write and draw comics. For free. And you don't have to stay if you don't want to. The guy, whose name is Walker is a saint in my book. If you know of him, you should do something nice, like buy him lunch or throw money at him.
When the actual comic books were handed out, (Walker and co did a fantastic job of compiling all of the kids comics into 2 little paperback books) G's characters were on the front cover of one of the books and V's was on the other. I breathed a sigh of relief. My kids were overjoyed. They spent the rest of the night smiling. They said they would rather have those comics than a Creamery gift card or a certificate.
Today I went to G's publishing party at school. This is where all of the children in class share the stories that they wrote. G was distraught because she came back from assembly to find her crocodile Squinky pencil topper was missing. By the time I left the party, she was sobbing and begged me to take her home. I wiped off her tears and told her to get herself together. Then I left, the look on her face was what I can imagine would be the same look on her face if I had just told her that I was leaving to go home and drown some kittens.
C'mon Universe, help me out. You got 2 hours..

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