Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Learning Environment

My wife and I care deeply about our children's education, and since I mainly work from home, I am able to devote a great deal of time to their needs.

This time usually begins about 10 minutes before we depart for school in the morning.

I open their backpacks and start re-filling their lunch kits with healthy, nutritious items from the Pop Tart food group, when I notice several Important School Documents that require my Immediate Attention for several parental hours.

‘Several Hours’ means time we should have devoted to our offspring last night instead of laying on the couch watching some idiotic dancing program on TV. I am consoled by the fact that while we zoned out, the children were outside getting lots of fresh air and exercise as they playfully skewered each other with sharp sticks.

This lack of attention to my children will ultimately result in them becoming Illiterate Cretins. “You Should Have Read These Important Books and Documents Last Night You Selfish Moron,” say the documents.

Seeing these Important Documents in the morning sends me into paroxysms of hyper activity, as if time spent getting lunches prepared and kids dressed and off the computer and “stop beating up your sister!” and “turn the TV off and get dressed I'm not telling you again!” and “put that knife down!” and “where is your brothers ear?” aren't frantic enough.

“Why didn’t you tell me I needed to sign this form and get rocks from your collection and cut up a milk carton for a science experiment and sew a costume for drama today and order those books and pay five bucks for a field trip?” I ask.

“Dad, you’re getting flecks of foam on my sandwich…,” one of them says. “And we did tell you last night when you were watching TV. You were staring at someone wearing a very skimpy outfit and you kept muttering “Malfunction…malfunction…” It’s a good thing Mom was asleep…”

Nailed on a technicality.

Often, the Important School Documents request that you volunteer several dozen hours per week in some helpful capacity, such as Playground Vomit Scooper, or newsletter editorial writer, or Person Organizing Volunteers for The Next Big Fundraising Idea.

My mind wanders…

“Good evening! I'm here raising money for my child's education and this week we have a nice selection of lingerie, Cuban cigars, and some watches for a very nice price. Tupperware makes a great gift. Or, how about a nice pet? It would be a shame if something were to happen to your nice house here mister so which flavour of cookie dough would you like me to sign you up for…?”

There are signatures needed for a field trip to the local penitentiary, or maybe it’s the zoo. I haven’t had my coffee yet so it’s hard to tell. Maybe it’s both. I glance at the “You can’t sue us for any reason including de-limbing by alligators…” part, then I just sign. I may be enrolling them in a prison work experience program - I have no idea.

Oh look, there are 16 overdue books, several of which I’m sure I returned but maybe to the public library. Or perhaps I sold them to the used book store. Whatever – keep signing. They’ll turn up.

It is now 30 seconds to the first bell and we are flying down the road, backpacks bulging with that days form supply, me leaning out the window yelling at people “Get out of the way – we’re on our way to school!! Which magazine would you like again? Just hand me your money at the next stoplight…”

It’s only been a few weeks since school started. I hope I make it. Want some cookie dough?

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