If there’s one thing you develop an appreciation for as a parent of four children, it’s the ritual of the Back to School night.
By “develop an appreciation for” I mean “loathe with an intensity reserved for people who take up two parking spaces.”
In the Nostrikethat household, we have two versions of the Back to School Night: the Mommy version and the Daddy version.
In the Mommy Version, the Mommy:
- Sits in the cafeteria with all of the other parents
- Watches all of the PowerPoint slides
- Takes copious notes
- Goes to the classroom
- Admires the handiwork of the all the students, not just ours
- Makes note of the entire seating arrangement of the class for future conversation with the child
- Leaves a loving, supportive note on the child’s desk
- Stays for the grade level presentation
- Takes additional notes
- Mingles with other parents in the classroom afterwards
The Daddy Version looks a little different:
- Stand in the back of the room thinking rude thoughts about everyone who dressed up
- Roll eyes at PowerPoint slides
- Leave early to go to the classroom
- Scrawl “DADDY WUZ HERE” on a sticky note borrowed from the teacher’s desk and leave it on a student’s desk
- Hope you got the right desk
- Sneak out the side door avoiding eye contact with other parents
This year we split it down the middle and I ended up at the Back To School Night for 5th grade. Daddy skills activate!
Won’t Somebody Think Of The Children?
I was excited to learn that my school system was deploying an intricate sticker system to protect our children from homicidal maniacs.
This, combined with the “Buzz to Enter” system deployed last year, ensures my children are going to be as safe at school as they would be in a 5 floor walkup apartment.
I was also excited to learn that as part of a “Suck the Fun Out Of Life” initiative our school district will be serving broccoli and hummus at all Halloween and Valentine Day parties.
On one hand, I am happy that we are inching closer to reversing the notion that Ketchup is, in any sense, a vegetable. On the other hand, without pagan orgies both holidays have lost a little bit of their lustre and were being held together only by candy and the entire operating budget of Hallmark. I fear broccoli in the treat bag will be a fatal blow.
Recess shall remain a maximum of 30 minutes and occur immediately after lunch so the little fatties can hork up their Pepperoni Lunchables(tm).
As I stood in the back of the room the Principal (he’s my pal) discussed how math was going to “deeper” this year in the new curriculum. My neighbor was standing next to me. Because I am actually 13, I wondered out loud of it was going to be “harder” as well as “deeper”, and if they would be going “faster” too.
My neighbor turned bright red and karate-chopped me with her copy of 50 Shades of Gray.
The Lady from the PTA started talking, which I took as my cue to fake an important phone call and leave the Land of Tiny Lunch Tables.
I narrowed down my daughter’s classroom to one of four possible candidates. Fortunately, I guessed right because I found the desk that smelled like chlorine with a little bit of “Bath and Body Works Lavender Apple Makes My Nose Itch.”
Whipping out my trusty Sharpie, I proceeded to draw on her desk “I ❤ Evan” (who sits next to her) and pray fervently that Evan gets to school first.
On my way out the student teacher, who looks about 2 years older than my daughter, has finally worked up the nerve to talk to me.
“Hi! I’m Ms. Waytooyoung!”
“Oh, that’s nice.”
“Is your child in this class?”
“Excuse me, I have to take this call.”
I hit the side door just as the main herd lets out of Broccoli Central.
DADDY WUZ HERE.
The Official “Back To School Night” Drinking Game!
- When someone mentions how important you, the Parent, are, take a drink.
- When there is a technical difficulty during the presentation, take a drink.
- When an educator makes a joke about how they’re not good with computers or “that email”, chug.
- One drink each for a slide containing any of the following words: empower, vision, nurturing, community, values
- When the PTA’s fundraiser involves candles, chug.
- Whenever applause awkwardly half starts, dies a little, and then starts again, drink.
- If there is a typo on any slide, chug.
To play: print out this blog post and give it to your friends. Or hit “reload” 5 times, your choice.