Monthly Archives: October 2008

Room Mom Woes and Wars

Let’s go back in time a bit, shall we?  Let’s go back to this time LAST YEAR, when I was the room mother for Snags’ kindergarten class, busy planning the Fall Party.  It’s the “FALL PARTY” because we cannot, in this era of political correctness, call it was it is, which is a Halloween Party.  No matter that parents send in decorations of bats and witches and mummies.  Those things, as everyone knows, are signs of AUTUMN, just as surely as the leaves changing color and the air turning crisp.  In fact, if you play your cards right (no, it’s not politically correct to admit to gambling), you just might find bats and witches and mummies hiding under that colorful pile of leaves you just finished raking.

But I digress.  The FALL PARTY.  I was the room mother.  My duties as room mother were to coordinate with the teacher and enlist parents to help donate supplies, food, crafts, and their time at the party.  I had a particular interest in this because Snags has food allergies, and without some role in the party planning, especially the food, the classroom could quickly turn from a party atmosphere to a danger zone.

And I gather, from talking to other room moms, that I was lucky.  Snags’ kindergarten teacher had a thing for SIMPLE.  One snack.  One game.  One craft. Perhaps two crafts if time allowed.  The party ran for approximately 2 hours, and all 18 children had to get a turn at the snack, the game, the craft.  Or two.

And things went well.  I survived the fall party, the holiday party (it’s really a Christmas Party, but please don’t tell anyone), the Spring Party, and the End of Year Party.  Things were simple, things were fun.

When first grade rolled around, I volunteered once again to be room mom.  I was told at first, by Snags’ first grade teacher, that another mother had “expressed interest” in being room mom.  When I explained that I’d like to be involved somehow, because of Snags’ allergies, I was told I would be THE ROOM MOM.  But that somehow morphed into being CO-ROOM MOM.  And I was okay with that.  Until…  My co-room mom called me, in SEPTEMBER, about planning the fall party.  The fall party is the day before Halloween.  So we had plenty of time, no?  And co-room mom went on about how she and ANOTHER CO-ROOM MOM (How did we get three room moms?), had been planning the craft activities and wanted to talk to me about the food situation.  And it was SEPTEMBER and OMG!  I can’t even decide what the hell to cook for dinner TONIGHT, let alone plan the snack for a party that is over 30 days away.

Eventually I agreed to meet, in person, with my co-room mom and HER co-room mom (whom I shall now call Thing One and Thing Two).  Thing Two seemed somewhat new at room mom duties and genuinely concerned about having the party be safe for my son, as well as the two other children in the class who also have food allergies.  Did I mention that food allergies are on the rise?  Note that three children out of 22 in ONE CLASS have them?  Thing One, however… Thing One.  Thing One was IN CHARGE.  She has taken it upon herself to be THE ROOM MOM.  Somehow, somewhere, and I don’t know how and don’t know where, CO-ROOM MOMS got dropped, and Thing One TOOK OVER ALL PARTY PLANNING AND PREPARATIONS THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

The Fall Party THIS YEAR?  Starts at 2:30, Ends at 3:20.  Those times are PER THE TEACHER.  So we have, if I remember first grade math, 50 minutes.  To accomplish the following activities planned by Thing One, THE ROOM MOM, with 22 children:

• Frost and decorate pumpkin shaped sugar cookies.
• Eat frosted and decorated pumpkin shaped sugar cookies.
• Eat grapes.
• Eat potato chips.
• Eat Fritos.
• Drink juice.
• Play Bingo.
• Play Bingo.
• Play Bingo.
• Hand out Bingo prizes.
• Hand out Bingo prizes.
• Hand out Bingo prizes.
• Read a Halloween Story.
• Decorate Halloween Bags.  And no, I don’t know why we are allowed to read a Halloween story or call them Halloween Bags, but Thing One and Thing Two thought the children could use the bags to collect their Trick-or-Treat candy the next day.
• Count and weigh pumpkin seeds and compare the weights for dry roasted pumpkin seeds verses wet pumpkin seeds.

Now, if ALL THAT wasn’t enough to keep 22 kids busy for 50 minutes, Thing One met THING THREE who had an idea:  Stuff popcorn into gloves and paint finger nails on the gloves to make “monster hands.”

But wait, it gets better.  Thing Three wants to bring in an air popper to the class room and let each kid pop their OWN popcorn. In the class room.  At the party.  And then the kids will take that freshly popped and burning hot popcorn and stuff a plastic glove with it.  Then they will dip the ends of the fingers of the gloves (which, if I may point out, will probably be MELTING from the hot popcorn) into paint to make finger nails.  VOILA!  MONSTER HANDS. (and no, I’m not sure if the monster hands are meant to be the melting gloves stuffed with hot popcorn or the children’s hands that now require a thick slathering of burn cream).

And OMG people!  FIFTY MINUTES.  TWENTY-TWO children.  I hope these kids are fast.  Because I just pulled out a calculator and 50 divided by 22 is 2:27 minutes.  Less than 2 ½ minutes PER child, to accomplish all of the above.  Granted, they aren’t doing things one at a time.  They won’t be standing in a long line waiting for the classmate in front of them to just move along already, you’re eating into MY 2:27 minutes of party time, but still.  Fifty minutes.  Twenty-two children.

And so I’m thinking, hey, what the hell?  Why don’t we go ahead and have the children plant the corn, grow it, harvest it, shuck it, dry it, break it off the cob into kernels, THEN pop it and stuff the hot popcorn into the plastic gloves.  We’ll have time for that, right?  We’ve got a full 50 minutes, after all.



Filed under Fall party, Halloween, life, parenting, party planning, room moms, Snags

Wii Are Not Fit

Fifteen years into this marriage and Wii has validated what I’ve come to suspect.  We are not fit.  But at I’m fitter than my husband by some 13 years. 

Our fifteenth wedding anniversary was today.  The traditional gift for fifteen years of marriage is crystal.  But let’s be real, who has time to pull out the good crystal these days?  And with the economy like it is, what would you drink from it anyway, some Deer Park water?  Wine from a box?

The modern day gift for the fifteenth anniversary is a watch.  I love watches.  But truth be told, I have quite a few and neither one of us really needs another one.  I browsed for some fancy watches on the internet thinking I could get one for cheap for my husband from Overstock’s website, but it seems my definition of cheap, and theirs, well… let’s just say the difference was something like the Greed on Wall Street and people being tossed from their homes on Main Street.  In other words, I didn’t have the money.

This summer we spent a week in Seattle for a family reunion.  Some of the cousins had a Wii and the three of us, my husband, son, and I, had a blast playing with it.  That says a lot coming from me, because I don’t like video games.  It’s not a moral or philosophical dislike, it’s just that well, I more or less suck at playing video games.  So for years I had sworn we’d never own a Play Station, or an Xbox, or God forbid, one of those handheld games that kids can’t seem to go anywhere without these days.

But here we are.  It’s 2008 and we have an XBox which my mother-in-law bought my husband for Christmas one year.  It’s mostly kept and played with in the basement where I don’t have to look at it. And then there’s the Game Cube, which, surprisingly enough was gift given to my son from my parents and brother AT MY SUGGESTION because I wouldn’t let Snags play the Xbox, and they had a GameCube at the place he spends time after school, but the older kids hogged it, and Snags was sad about that, and I thought this would an acceptable solution even though it went against my no video games mindset. And lastly, there are the two Nintendo DS systems.  Because as Santa pointed out a year or two ago, you can’t just have one, there are games that require two players, and those players each need their own DS. Yes, I bought that one hook, line, and sinker.

But all of those game systems left me with nothing.  Okay, I did get Dance Dance Revolution for the Xbox one year for Christmas, but it seems as if the dancing gene is akin to the video game playing gene, and it skipped me. 

Then came the trip to Seattle and the playing of Wii bowling.  I LOVE THAT GAME.  Because, FINALLY, something I am good at!

When we returned from Seattle I casually mentioned to my husband that maybe we should consider buying a Wii, and before I knew it, he went and bought one.  We didn’t tell Snags, and we hid it away.  It was to be a Christmas present for the three of us.

That, of course, was before Star Wars, The Force Unleashed came out.  My husband said he’d like that for his birthday.  But his birthday comes more than a month BEFORE Christmas.  And since crystal and watches were out of my price range, and I was plum out of other ideas, I figured The Force Unleashed could make a nice anniversary present.

Snags, when I told him about our 15th wedding anniversary, simply looked at me and said “That’s Impressive.”  When my husband unwrapped his anniversary gift, Snags said, “Ummm, but Mom?  We don’t have a Wii!”

So imagine his surprise and delight when we told him that yes, actually, we did have a Wii, and it was our anniversary present to each other and that he could play with it too.  He danced, he sang, he spent the money and gift cards he got from friends and relatives for his birthday on the Wii version of Star Wars, The Complete Saga.  Because as he said, “It’s better to play it on a big screen!”

The night my husband set up the Wii, the two of us discovered the part where Wii can assess your fitness by having you punch a punching bag, play some tennis, hit some baseballs, and do some bowling.  Our scores weren’t so good.  My husband, whose 41st birthday is coming up next month, was given a Wii age of 60.  And I… well after a pretty disastrous turn at baseball and tennis, where I feared I’d be scored as dead, was saved by my tremendous bowling skills, and scored a Wii age of 47.  It could be worse, I guess.

In truth, I shouldn’t be surprised at this.  I’ve heard that as people age, their reflexes aren’t as good.  If my husband’s Wii age is really 60, then that might explain how he managed to run over his foot with the lawnmower last summer.  It might also explain how he managed to mangle some fingers with his table saw last weekend.  The lawnmower incident truly can be explained as an accident, his reflexes you see, weren’t fast enough to stop the lawnmower from rolling over his toes.  But this latest incident was totally preventable. My husband, after all, was the one who removed the blade guard from the saw blade so he could cut a small piece of wood and then his fingers.  That decision more or less backs up Wii’s assessment.  His reflexes aren’t so hot and he’s maybe got a little bit of dementia going on there.

And so to my husband I’d like to say: “Happy Anniversary, you old fart.  I’ll see you at the bowling alley!”


Filed under anniversary, fitness, Snags, video games, Wii

What Seven Looks Like

Seven looks like a boy uncharacteristically still in bed at 6:45 in the morning.  Look closer and you’ll see he’s mostly feigning sleep, eagerly waiting for the clock to turn so he can FINALLY get up and open his birthday present.

Seven looks like a smile when a boy unwraps his gift to find the set of Star Wars LEGOs that he wanted. 

Seven looks like a boy blowing out the candles on his favorite kind of birthday cake. Cake that he insists on eating for breakfast.

Seven looks like a slice of birthday cake the size of a dinner plate. And Seven looks like a boy whose eyes are larger than his stomach.

But Seven… looks happy.  And Seven looks like it’s going to be good.



Filed under birthday, Snags