Tuesday, February 17, 2009

100 Days of Nothing Like Solitude

Today was the 100th day of school, down at Not Bad President Elementary, so of course there was a party.

At least Lauren’s class had one. By the time one is in third grade one is expected to put aside such childish things, apparently, which is a shame. What harm is there in celebrating arbitrary accomplishments? Thirty days without time lost to accident? Fiesta! Made it through the footnotes without falling asleep? That calls for a reward! It’s ten o’clock, do you know where your children are? You do? Well, my good man - this Bud’s for you.

It’s not like there aren’t any parties in third grade, though. I should know. I’m the room parent for Tabitha’s class, a position I hold largely on the strength of being unemployed last fall and willing to sign my name to a piece of paper. In return I got a contact list of all the students with their Listed Responsible Adults, and every so often a letter comes home from school announcing a new party coming up that I need to round up goodies for.

Valentine’s Day, for example.

I’m always amazed at how the magic words “I’m the room parent for the third-grade class!” allow me instant credibility with complete strangers. Does the Secretary of State know about this? I’ve got a suggestion for her, next time she calls North Korea.

So I call and outline what the class needs, and on the appointed day - voila! - there appear Goodies of varied shapes and hues. Tabitha reports that they look good, though unless they come pre-wrapped with ingredients listed she still knows to avoid them since food manufacturers put nuts into everything up to and including raw pork. She has her own snack stash, though, so she doesn’t miss out on any fun.

The kindergarten parties are less work intensive for me, as somebody else is that room’s parent. They usually involve work on Kim’s part though - kindergarten parties are craft- and project-intensive activities, and I am not the Craft Parent in this household. This is for everyone's greater good. For today’s party Lauren had to bring in 100 small items for a project. We originally thought that they all had to fit into one square inch, but closer reading of the rules has led us to believe that each small item gets a whole square inch to itself, which would be considered luxurious in mid-town Manhattan. So Lauren brought in not only the ice cream jimmies that she gathered under our original interpretation of the rules, but also the pennies that she wanted to bring in the first place. So that’s two projects, and we can only hope that there will be no additional rent charged.

We’re not sure what the next party is going to entail. St. Patrick’s Day is coming up and one assumes that it will not involve green beer, at least not at the elementary school level, though what it will involve is still an open question. Of course, next Tuesday will be the 105th day of school, and that only comes once per academic year so you might as well celebrate that too.

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