Well, they are doing it again...the last day of school is tomorrow and it's a half-day. If you've been reading my blogs, you know I have a major issue with half-days; if you haven't you do now...only I won't go into detail like I did last time. This time there's more of an issue. One-third of the kids won't even show up, and another third will just show up and leave after saying their "good-byes"...report cards are being sent home, so it's not like you even have to GO there to collect your report card and leave...there's really no reason TO GO to school...as everything's been turned in, all the stuff out of the lockers have been cleared out and did I mention it's a HALF-day? I doubt they'll even be taking attendance. But my daughter is determined to go - and stick it out the whole time...or I guess that would technically be "half time".
Then I have the whole summer to sit back and relax. And that brings me to the crux of this blog's matter: Babies, toddlers, kids and summer vacations, kids and college, kids turning 18...and what I've actually heard come out of some people's mouths.
Now, I like kids. Kids like me. They always have. I remember being very young and little children were somehow drawn to me...if they would have been puppies, I would have had quite a few of them follow me home. I don't know what it is...but even in a car this Pied Piper attraction (well, without the horrid ending) was, and still is, apparent to me. In a drive-thru line at the bank...pulled up next to a car at the light with them next to me...it's like some strange magnetic attraction. Now, I'm not stupid, I know kids will make faces, wave, and act downright silly to passing cars...they're kids...duh. But this is different...plus they AREN'T doing it to the car on the opposite side...they are focusing on me.
"Oh...you just wait, as soon as you have your baby, you'll be DYING to go back to work to get away from IT!" Wow, aren't I glad you weren't MY mom. Yes, this phrase and a few similar versions was actually uttered to me when I returned to New Jersey after living in Las Vegas for a while...and visited my old office to tell them all I was pregnant. So, I'm saying to them, "You know I plan to stay at home as long as I can and raise my child". "Oh...you just wait...you'll change your mind once you have IT." IT? Don't you love how people always call that "baby to be" an "it"? That always strikes me as if it's some alien out of an old black and white sci-fi B-movie..."IT!" I noticed someone saying that to my very pregnant friend at the end of season soccer party we had a couple weeks ago...even tho she told them a couple times that she knew her baby was going to be a boy.
I didn't go back to work...I stayed home and raised my son. My son, who learned to read right before his 3rd birthday. And when I say read, I mean like you or I read...not sounding out the word "C-A-T" with any hesitation...and all without the aid of me strapping him to his highchair and shoving flash cards in his face for hours on end. So, when we were at doctor's offices and he would start reading whatever was around, people's jaws would drop. It was rather fun to see their reactions, I must say. But a couple peoples' reactions just perplexed me...one was a teacher...who I never did get a straight answer from...but both told me, in not so many words that I'd "be sorry he can read that advanced later on". Why?? I still haven't a clue.
Fast forward a little and I come to find out that my son's birthday is 2 days after the cut-off for entrance into Kindergarten...but he's reading 80 books a night...has every dinosaur and their facts memorized and can already add and subtract. So, to make a long story short, I take him to my parents' house in New Jersey, where the cut-off is in October and he gets in...knowing all too well (yes, the secret's out...I did it on purpose) that the school here has to accept transfer students. Aha! A loophole. Not a week in school I'm approached by the teacher who tells me my son has no business being in Kindergarten. Uh oh... No...they want to test him as he's just kinda wasting his time sitting there. They administer the test and he reads at 8th grade level with comprehension and 4th grade overall. They advised against skipping that many grades but suggested we stick him in 1st...which we did. Now, all the while, I'm volunteering at school mainly at the lunchroom, where again, all the kids love me. Every day they'd all come over and hug me...oh you can't do that anymore in schools...heaven forbid anyone shows a child the least bit of affection...and they tell me all about their day and show me their lunches and give me pictures they drew for me. They didn't do that for the other people helping out...but they did for me.
I actually LISTEN to kids...and I talk to them...they can pick up on that. I used to watch a set of twins when my son was two years old...the twins were a little younger. Both parents worked. Now, I'm not ever saying this is bad...not at all...but I would hear from them, many, many times "I don't spend a lot of time with my kids, but the time I do spend is quality time". Uh...okay. You get out of the house as soon as you wake the kids up - you can barely muster up a kiss "good-bye" to them, one parent was long gone before they got up...you return home around 5:30...the kids eat dinner and you bathe them and pop them into bed all by 7:00-7:30. Wow...bowl me over, that's a whole lot of quality time. "Eat, hurry up and eat...drink your drink...time for bed"...5 days out of the week. My kids never went to bed that early...and if I would have worked like that couple did, you can bet they would have stayed up a tad longer. Oh, after working for them for a few months, they let me go as they stated that I "watched their kids too much"...I didn't let them run up and down the busy street without all of us holding hands...I didn't let them climb up and down the steps to the 2nd story wooden deck with the "fall thru" railing, and if they ran out of the room...I went after them. Oh, yes...they had an issue with all of this...especially since they cried their faces off each time I would go home...and each time they woke up they wanted to come to me instead. Honestly. "Oh, all kids go thru a phase where they don't want to come to their parents"... "All kids go thru a phase where they see a stranger, scream bloody murder and cling to you like a leech", "Oh, all kids..." they'd tell me. Um...no they don't. Oh...I didn't even mention...after a week, the kids stopped saying "buh buh" and pointing to everything they wanted...and actually talked. Yes, they were talking within a week. The parents were amazed. Hey...did you ever think maybe you needed to TELL them that everything they were pointing to had a name?
"Wow, I can't wait until my son turns 18 so he can get the hell outta the house"...or "I can't wait until my daughter goes off to college so I don't have to deal with her anymore"...yes, I've head them both...quite a few times. That's nice. So, let me get this straight...they didn't ask to be born...you had kids that you despise so much you want to kick them out as soon as humanly possible? Hmmmm. Okay...I'll not even get into this one...but the way I've always seen it, if you're not a real "people person" maybe you shouldn't take that job working with more of them.
So, as my daughter wraps up another school year we can commence staying up later at night making fun of movies on television, watch our two shows on the Cooking Channel, "Unwrapped" and our favourite, "Good Eats" with Alton Brown (oh he's silly and fun...we like him)...stay up and watch Craig Ferguson and sing the opening song, watch The History Channel (oh she likes documentaries), and generally wake up whenever we feel like and just hang out. Oh, I suppose we'll hang out with my 18-year-old son, too...since I haven't yet kicked his butt out. I better not mention that fact tomorrow as I run into all those parents huffing about how they "just can't wait until school begins again in the fall".
A Bit About Me
- Mariann Simms
- Along with my daily duties as founder and head writer of HumorMeOnline.com, in 2003, I took the Grand Prize in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (also known as the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" competition). I've also been a contributor to "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and the web's "The Late Show with David Letterman". I also occupy my time writing three blogs, "Blogged Down at the Moment", "Brit Word of the Day" and "Production Numbers"...and my off-time is spent contemplating in an "on again/off again" fashion...my feable attempts at writing any one of a dozen books. I would love to write professionally one day...and by that I mean "actually get a paycheck".