Thursday, December 18, 2008

Shorties Were Sipping

The second-grade Christmas party was today, and a good time was had by all. Definitely the place to see and be seen at 8:30 this morning. I was there at 8:15 WEARING MAKEUP, armed with a proper tablecloth and supplies for our crazy "Dress Your Santa" game (all the hot details on that below, as well as a special party installment of OMG You Did Not Just Say That.)

This event only had three components: Food, craft, and game. Since it was so early and the kids still had to eat lunch at 11:30, we did a breakfast party. One mom brought bagels and three kinds of cream cheese. And she didn't just bring in the tubs. Please! She decanted them into little serving bowls that fit on a metal rack, and had little Santa spreaders in each. I heartily approved of that. We also had fruit and mini muffins and two juices. And peanut butter. That was all, but you would have thought it was ambrosia. The kids were happy. Like this.

The kids decorated huge gingerbread men that another mom had brought. This doubled as their craft, and we bagged 'em up for them to take home. Before the party, the class had done a creative writing exercise about gingerbread people. Laura's says:

Frost [the gingergirl] sat on the riverbank, and the river made all her memories flow into her mind. Behind everything she was thinking, a voice was telling her to steal anything she could get her tasty cookie hands on.

It's so festive! And disturbing! Holidays! Then for the game, the kids were divided up into four teams of 4 or 5 kids, and each team was given a shopping bag. Inside the bag I had put:

  • 10 sheets of red tissue paper

  • a couple yards of wide black ribbon, the cheap outdoor "satin" kind

  • a big piece of black felt, like an 18" square

  • a big piece of cotton batting. I bought a piece intended for a baby quilt and cut it into fourths.

  • a handful of black and white pipe cleaners (or "chenille sticks" as they're now called)

  • a white pom-pom

  • roll of clear tape

  • scissors

Each team had a mom to dress. When I called "Go!" the kids dumped out their supplies to see what they had, and got to work crafting their Santa costume. I thought they might be a little too young to make a go of this, but they had fun. They loved the timed aspect of it and the open-endedness, I think. The teacher said she liked having a game that made them work in groups, and that did something creative. Best of all, it was short and intense--five minutes of frenzy, and then we lined up the Santas to judge. As you can see, it was more about the process on this one.

We all decided which Santa was the Most Creative, Funniest, Cutest, of Silliest. As you can tell, this was not an exact science, and you guessed it, everyone is a winner. Jan my co-room mom handed out goody bags, which each had a pencil, a candy, and then a random toy, like a tiny deck of cards or a yo-yo. You know, party favors. Here's where the OMG moment was. The kids were checking out their goody bags, and I was picking up piles of tissue paper, when a mom got right in front of me and said, "Maybe next time, the kids could all have the same toy. Some of them are unhappy with what they got." Only her inflection was like, "Maybe next time. . ."

A range of thoughts flickered beneath my calm countenance, like koi beneath the surface of a pond on an overcast day. One of those koi/thoughts was, "Maybe next time, you could kiss my ass." But oh dear me no I did not say that, because I don't talk that way. I only blog that way. What I said was, "They are?" And she said, "Yeah, my son thinks this is too girly." She held up one of those ring pops. I said, "Because the bag is purple?" And she said, "No, because it's a ring." I smiled and gave her a shrug, and she turned away.

But several problems with this come to mind. Let me say that it is normal and perhaps expected that a 2nd grade boy would think a ring pop is girly. Perhaps that is their way. But I don't think it is expected that a mom will take up this cause. I can't really begin to unfold all of the problems with this exchange. I ask for your help, Reader. It's like a delicate origami onion. Also, and the broader issue, is that she mistakenly thought this children's party we organized was a forum where she could offer feedback and complaints. That was not the case. The job of a mom attending this party--especially a mom who hadn't volunteered to help organize, not that it's that big a deal--is to show up and be delighted with everything. That is how people do. To her kid, she could have said, "Hon, find out if anyone wants to trade, but that's a kid thing, not a mom thing." Or she could have said, "Say thank you and hush your mouth." Either is acceptable. What is it with me and the lecturing lately? Must be that time of year. Holidays!


Jane said...

Dude, I commend you for keeping the koi underwater. I would have been more than a little annoyed to truck a cartload of party supplies over to the school at 8:30 AM only to get a pointed "Maybe next time" instead of a thank you.

Amy said...

I so agree!! People get funny when they feel like their kids are slighted...but deal, lady.

That gingergirl story is about the funniest thing i've read in awhile. I nearly snorted my morning cup of tea out my nose. Laura is so awesome!

And I must say, Santa Mom #2 is looking kinda hot. Go, girl!

Sara said...

Right on!
Not only did you help throw one heck of a cool party, but I'd say your reaction to Rude Mom was perfect: a smile and silence.

And wow for Laura's writing. Wow. I'd love to read more.

You go, girls.

Keely said...

Huh, my koi would have spouted back with, "Tell your kid not to be so homophobic, man up and lick the damn ring".

Good thing I'm not a room mom.

Also, LOVE Laura's writing. I think Tim Burton is hiring for his writing team.

Jane said...

I loved Laura's story too. So delightfully naughty and gingerbready and fun!

Bren said...

Okay, yeah, like excellent post and all, but dang, Laura. Great writing!

Camp Papa said...

"...her tasty cookie hands...", dang that's good.

The mention of koi and origami in the same post requires that I submit a haiku:

Silver sky floats on
pond's surface. Koi stalk the depths,
fins clutching switchblades.

Becky said...

Um, dang, Dad. You just took this post to a whole 'nother level. You know, I didn't even realize I was mentioning koi and origami together. Maybe I wanted to go all samurai on her?

And whew, Laura, I have no idea where she gets this stuff. She keeps me entertained though.

And "Man up and lick the damn ring" is my new motto.

Erika said...

Congrats on being done with the party. Since when do kids complain about CANDY!

The river and the memory imagery coupled with theft in Laura's story is clearly inspired by Dickens.

Carrie said...

This kind of parenting makes me want to barf. Seriously, is not learning how to gracefully accept gifts we don't like one of the most important lessons in life? I shudder to think how many people like this I may have to deal with once my kids start elementary school. Maybe I'll homeschool after all.

Becky said...

Erika, I thought of you today as I deployed The Magic of The Tablecloth! Makes every party better. It's the real magic of Christmas.

Michele said...

Right response for the Rude mom though I would have so had to bite my tongue.

Adorable Santa moms

And Laura's poem. WOW! First couple of sentences I was like cool this kid is thinking. The next couple of sentences were Wow what is she thinking? LOL!

Anonymous said...

I am just impressed by second-graders eating bagels and cream cheese. You should get Super Room Mom starts just for that, Becky!

Casey said...

I love the wrapped moms. Much different than rapping moms but still cool. The party sounded like a ball!
That mom can shut the hell up, if she didn't volunteer to help, she has no right to complain. And boys like candy and ring pops are candy. Duh.

Hootie said...

I am afraid that I will have to tell you privately what I would have probably told that mom ;)

Elizabeth said...

I hope that when you said you had on make-up, that meant that you had on lipstick. Katie would be so proud.

mynyw said...

Love that that kind of Mom lives in your town too! I would have said, well, now that you mention it we do need another Mom to organize the next event, so I'll sign you up now! This usually shuts 'em up! Because they have NO intention of helping just showing up and getting in the way! Sorry oldest is in 8th grade and youngest is in preschool so I've met this mom...

A Lawyer Mom's Musings said...

That chick is seriously demented, seriously screwed.

And I don't like saying "I told you so" so I won't say it now. This kind of sh-t happened to me last year all the time when I was the sacrificial lamb, I mean "room mother."

Here's how I handle b-tches like this (it throws them off long enough for you to get away): with a twinkle in your eye and say, "No good deed goes unpunished, now does it?" and then smile enigmatically and walk away. Works like a charm for me.

Anonymous said...

Becky, I had no idea that you had a blog, let alone one with so many fun entries to read back through. Color me embarrassed.

Becky said...

Who are you, Scottandwtb?

Cassie said...

Oh. Hell. No.

You handled that crazy broad with class and grace. Congratulations on not punching her.

I love Laura's story! I see she has her mother's gift for writing. Was that the entire thing or just a teaser? There are so many questions left unanswered... I must read more!

The Stiletto Mom said...

Once again, you have perfectly articulated all the reasons I am no longer in PTA. Loved helping the kids and the school...but some of the moms? Not so much.

X said...

scottandwtb is Scott McB.

Totallyscrappy said...

Dress the Santa Mom is going to be at our Christmas party next year!!
I'd go with the whole, "say thank you and hush your mouth..." :)

Wendy said...

I recommend a paintball gun for any moms who don't conform properly. After a while they'll figure it out. :)

This might be why nobody has asked me to be a room mom.