Don’t Make My Kid Hate Me.

On notice: Parents that don’t follow the damn rules!!

I received no less than TWO letters in my kid’s take home folder explaining the guidelines for the (Halloween) Storybook Character Parade at school.

Rule #1: Come to school dressed as a BOOK CHARACTER. (Note: It doesn’t say favorite movie character that now has books, too. It says BOOK CHARACTER.)

Rule #2: The character must be based on a BOOK appropriate for elementary school aged kids. (Note: This does not include Game of Thrones- come on, that is just violent porn. They will find enough of that on the internet in a couple years.)

Rule #3: Do not choose a random Halloween costume and then find a book that might be able to fit it. (Note: The History of Knights Anthology, really? That’s what you read to your kid before bedtime? **ahem, liar** However, this kids costume would put some of the Renaissance Festival performers to shame.)

But, even with several letters home and a PTA Facebook post- I still saw about 42 Elsas. My daughter was pissed.

“MOM, KIDS ARE WEARING THEIR ELSA COSTUME!! YOU TOLD ME WE COULDN’T WEAR FROZEN!! ALL THE OTHER GIRLS ARE ELSA!!”

Look parents, I get it- your kid was already going to be Elsa for Halloween. Of course you didn’t want to have to make a whole new Green Eggs and Ham costume out of felt and some batting. I agree, your kid had no interest in wearing the damn thing anyway, so you said fuck it. Elsa it is.

I understand. I am all about the path of least resistance but now you made me look like a grade A asshole. I am the craptastic mom that won’t let her daughter wear the Elsa dress because I  FOLLOWED THE RULES!

Ballernia Not Elsa. Frozen was not a book first.

I know we are all busy; we don’t want to piece together a million different costumes to appease tiny, fickle little people with ever changing opinions. But the devastation on her face when she saw Elsa after Elsa walking the parade route was just mean. I was about 3 seconds away from going all Tiger Mom.

Please don’t make my daughter hate me because you were too lazy to throw a costume together. She is going to have enough reasons for intensive therapy later. Trust me, I don’t need your help…I am capable of that all on my own, thank you.

Next year can we all just agree to follow the rules, please? Pick a stupid book character- dress up your kid as a Fancy Nancy or Harry Potter or whatever character originated in a BOOK and send them off into the parade. Thanks.

Can’t Test for Awesome

Kindergarten: Cant Test for Awesome

Our daughter started kindergarten this year and yesterday she received her first public school assessment- not from an actual person mind you, but from a computer “game” that teaches letters, sounds and word recognition. This program concluded that she is performing at a pre-kindergarten level. Awesome. So it begins; our first foray into standardized testing, curriculum and goals. It’s hard not to get hung up on the phrase (so kindly highlighted by her teacher) “preforming moderately below grade level and in need of intervention”.

Mind you, if they were dutifully working on a math computer “game” she would be kicking some major ass- that is where her focus has been lately. On Monday she comes home with a thick packet of weekly homework, due back to school on Friday. There are 4-5 math related worksheets that she voraciously devours. Counting and numbers have been her recent obsession. Apparently learning numbers, word problems, math models, counting groups and those little stacking cubes get her motor revving. Good for her! Math was never my thing, nor my husband’s, so I will foster any sense of pride or affection for that subject. Her head just isn’t in the phonics game right now.

As for me, I will embrace the simple kindergarten mathematics while I still understand what the hell is going on. I have seen the new “core curriculum” and I will be damned if it doesn’t take 4 grown adults, an online session at the Kahn academy and a strongly worded letter to my congressman to figure out what the hell happened to simple multiplication! Why are we drawing 81 little hash marks and grouping them into bundles of 9? What a complete waste of time and graphite! There are no memorized times table?? Really? That shit was the bane of my existence in second grade, but once you know it, you use it all the time! Seriously. It’s like one of the only things we learned within the confines of a math class that we  use consistently in real world application. Ever.

This shit is important: If my playdoh recipe calls for 1.5 cups of flour and I want to double the batch so my children, who are incapable of sharing, don’t fight over it all day, we need to multiply 1.5 cups x 2 = 3cups of flour.

I didn’t have to get out my counting bears and chop some heads off to model 1.5. We learned to do some math in our heads. Sure, you can’t see my work- that is why it’s called mental math. It’s done in my mind…and I use that shit all the time! I can barely keep up with my car keys, let alone a baggie filled with math manipulatives for when I need to estimate the potential damage I am about to inflict upon my Target card. But hey, I saved 5% paying with my Red Card- I had better get out my colored stacking cubes to figure out my savings!

While we are in the very early stages of her public schooling career, I want her to be free to delve into subjects that interest her. At 5 years old, focusing on one skill until mastery is developmentally age appropriate. She is fine. I know this. One day she will tire of those worksheets and want to figure out how to read the Frozen Level One reader on her own. Hopefully soon. I am tired of reading “Big snowman, little snowman, RUN RUN RUN!”

Eventually she will want to sound out words and letters, but in the meantime- I need to remember that all kids are on their own individual time scale. Some of the kids are almost a full calendar year older than my sweet baby. She is the youngest in the class and where she may fall short in reading comprehension, she makes up in spades with maturity, kindness and respect. She is a thoughtful friend, an enthusiastic student and a loving daughter. These are the goals that really matter in life- a good attitude and a zest for experiential learning. She wakes up each day ready to have fun and that’s the kind of intelligence there are no “fill in the bubble” tests to quantify. The Emotional Maturity Test. Hell, many of us would fail it as adults, let alone as a little 5 year old girl navigating the halls of elementary school.

So, dear computer program evaluation, I will not let you discourage my sweet girl from her passion of learning. We will work harder to implement our popcorn words into our daily routine, but it will not define her learning abilities, especially after 6 weeks of school.

2nd Day of Kindergarten

I forgot to use my obligatory Pinterest sign the first day. Have no fear, we improvised.

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