The Back to School Night Drinking Game

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.

Homicidal maniacs would then be confined with rainbow loom bracelets until the authorities arrived
Homicidal maniacs would then be confined with rainbow loom bracelets until the authorities arrived

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.

Uhhh huh huh huh huh... you said "math" ... heheheh
Uhhh huh huh huh huh… you said “in” … heheheh

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.



The Official “Back To School Night” Drinking Game!


  1. When someone mentions how important you, the Parent, are, take a drink.
  2. When there is a technical difficulty during the presentation, take a drink.
  3. When an educator makes a joke about how they’re not good with computers or “that email”, chug.
  4. One drink each for a slide containing any of the following words: empower, vision, nurturing, community, values
  5. When the PTA’s fundraiser involves candles, chug.
  6. Whenever applause awkwardly half starts, dies a little, and then starts again, drink.
  7. 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.

6 reasons I love lying

There is a news article making the rounds about a dad in a tiny rural town in Virginia that promised his daughter she could be a princess and then stakes his personal integrity on this one promise, because Daddy isn’t a liar. Of all the countless promises we make, this one would be the one he took seriously. #Iamtotallyjudgingyourightnow



Sorry honey, I’d love to help out with the carpool but I have to go claim this uncontested patch of desert, because Daddy promised. Be back in a month, ciao!” 

On the other hand…

I lied, there is no other hand.

SEE! It’s easy, just lie to the kid and call it a day. I thought of six good reasons this dad missed a perfect opportunity to lie to his daughter.

1) Lying is harmonious

Face it people, lying is the foundation of civilization. Can you imagine the chaos if we all went around saying what we actually thought of each other all the time? We would never have advanced out of the “Hit-Gruug-with-club-and-steal-his-mate” phase. We lie all the time, even more so if we like the person and we want to not hurt their feelings.

2) Lying is fun

Southerners have raised this kind of trolling to an artform… you really have never been good and properly lied to unless a Proper Southern Lady has told you your outfit looked “daring” or your tie was “fun”. Then there is my friend who convinced her kids that school was re-opened over a holiday break. Like a great crossword clue, a well-crafted lie is an intellectual challenge from the lie-er to the lie-ee: catch me if you can!

3) Lying makes you nicer and more likable

In order for you to lie to someone to protect their feelings, you have to understand what their feelings might be. That’s empathy, people, and according to US News it’s the number one trait that is going to keep your kids from moving back in with you after they graduate college. Remember that friend you used to have that liked to say “I prefer to be brutally honest all the time”? Chances are he preferred the “brutal” part, which is why he is no longer your friend.

4) Lying makes you smarter

Remember when you were a kid and you were trying to decide just how much to tell your parents? No supercomputer can perform the calculations a six year old can in the instant between their parents asking “What happened?” and “I didn’t do it!” A host of variables go into the calculation, like “how bad does it look” and “what is the likely punishment?” and “how close is the nearest exit?”

5) Lying makes the truth more powerful

In the adult world, we pretty much expect everyone is not being completely honest with us. Just because my barista says “I hope you enjoy it” does not mean she really has any emotional investment in my cappuccino appreciation. She’s lying, I know she’s lying, nothing else needs to be said. We expect to be lied to so much that when someone actually speaks the truth it’s more out of place than a music video on MTV.

Confession time: I lie to my kids constantly. Sometimes they call me on it. So far they have deduced:

  • Babies do not come from Home Depot
  • That smell did not come from the dog, but in fact from Daddy
  • We are not going somewhere fun, unless by fun you mean the garden section at Home Depot

In fact we frequently play a game called “Is Daddy Being Sarcastic?” in which I try to pass off the most bald-faced lie imaginable and see if they catch me.

At least, I’m playing the game.

Operation: Holy heck when does school start

Our family is now smack dab in the middle of summer vacation. The tempers are as short as the days are long. It reminds me a little bit of cabin fever in the winter, only with more humidity and less hope that the county will rescue us from our kids by sending them back to school early.

Mrs. Nostrikethat bears the worst of it– for reasons I still cannot fathom the kids will stop whatever it is they are doing to go discover her location, or frantically ask me where she went. According to the children Mommy’s location is a closely guarded secret in the same way that the location of their shoes is a secret: both are incomprehensible Mysteries of the Universe that can only be revealed by wandering around the house yelling “Mommy! Mommy!’

Lately the attention seems so intense my wife and I have resorted to engineering improbable escapes like the Penguins of Madagascar.

You didn't see... anything.
You haven’t seen … anything …

My favorite strategy for dealing with the Summer Doldrums is to take something fairly ordinary, like running to the grocery store, and turn it into an Adventure, like EXTREME GROCERY STORING!, which is basically a regular grocery store trip except we make monster truck noises while we’re doing it.

My other favorite thing to do is to schedule routine medical visits, because nothing says Summer Vacation like getting your Tetanus boosters before school starts.

image via
Ready this blog or the baby gets it. Actually, he gets it anyway, because around here we understand science.

A few months ago our 6 year old started telling us that things look fuzzy.When we arrived at the ophthalmologist office I grabbed a clipboard and got to work with the new patient forms.

I did not realize I had struck comedy gold.

What follows is the actual conversation with my 6 year old while filling out the forms.

So… have you experienced any of the following: blurred vision?

“What does that mean?”

It means your vision is blurry.

“Oh. Yes.”

Really? When?

“Like when I look at things through a funny mirror, or if I scrunch my eyes up, or if…”

…For the purposes of these questions, assume this is just you, nothing else. Okay?


Are you pregnant?


Do you have a baby inside you?

Barely contained six year old giggling. 

What about diarrhea?

Uncontrollable giggling


More laughing

Excessive gas?

Laughing so hard he falls off the chair, farts, and laughs some more.

I’ll go with “Yes” for that one.