It’s 8 o’clock at night, and the moment of bliss most parents dream of is upon me – my kid’s bedtime. I breathe a sigh of relief and pat myself on the back for managing to keep both my kids alive for another day. I’m precisely five minutes away from snuggly pajamas and a glass of wine when my youngest child utters six little words that shatter all my illusions of a lazy night of couch surfing….
“It’s Hawaiian day at school tomorrow.”
My body immediately goes into crisis mode, and within a matter of seconds, I’ve mentally inventoried the entire contents of my house for anything that might qualify as even remotely Hawaiian. With a growing sense of dread, I realize that I’ve got nothing, unless the can of pineapples in the refrigerator counts. I waste a few more moments clinging to the hope that I can somehow fashion a shirt out of pineapple chunks and dental floss because the alternative is even more gruesome – beginning a scavenger hunt for leis and grass skirts at 8:00 at night.
Suddenly I’m launched into the parental version of The Amazing Race – can this exhausted, frazzled mom find something Hawaiian before the clock runs out? Or will she just give up and drink herself into oblivion? Stay tuned and find out!!
I opt out of getting drunk (for the moment), race over to the party supply store, and squeak through the doors ten minutes before they close. I shrink beneath the glares of the workers who silently berate me for standing in the way of their own dreams of pajamas and couch surfing. But my remorse only lasts for a second because at the moment, my life sucks even more than theirs.
When I find the luau section, I realize that my worst nightmare has come true – it’s totally picked clean. All the parents who paid attention to the flyer that was given out last week, telling us about Hawaiian Day, have already been here like a plague of overly organized locusts. All that remains is one pathetically mangled, plastic lei that would make Don Ho sob on his ukulele.
The pineapple chunk shirt, it is.
Before all the inhabitants of our beautiful 50th state get pissed off at me, you should know that it’s not just “Hawaiian Day” that I have a problem with – it’s all of these special theme days that schools set up thinking it’s going to promote a sense of school spirit. Because all they really do is make 90% of the parents frantic, and inflate the (already inflated) egos of the other 10% who see these days as their opportunity to prove to the world that they’re the BEST PARENTS EVER. You know who you are, and if you fall into the 10% category, please stop reading. I’m sure your time would be better served finishing up that batch of homemade Play-Doh for your kids, or continuing your search for organic crayons.
For the other 90%, please know that I feel your pain: the panic, resentment, inadequacy, and guilt over knowing that your special themed outfit will suck in comparison to the other 10%. But fear not. Here on my blog you are free to bitch about all the special themed days that make you want to set the PTA president’s underwear on fire.
Here are some of mine, in no particular order (because they all suck equally)….
Hawaiian Day– Not only because of the aforementioned Hawaiian Day story fiasco, but also because it seems unfair that only one of the fifty states should be celebrated every year. Where is Disgruntled People of New York Day?? Not festive enough for you? Well, excuse the hell out of us for not pooping sunshine and rainbows, Hawaii.
Crazy Hair Day – If we’re being honest, this day should really be called You’ll-Be-Scrubbing-That-Crap-Out-of-Your-Hair-For-Hours Day. It’s not “special” enough to just leave your kid’s bed head alone in the morning. Now, you’ve got to dye, mold, and sculpt your kid’s hair until they look like they stepped off the pages of a Dr. Seuss book.
Pajama Day – This day is deceptively difficult. On the surface it looks like a great opportunity to save parents time in the morning. You get to just hop out of bed and you’re already dressed for school, kids!! Wrong. My kids sleep in oversized t-shirts and sweatpants that are too crappy to wear to school. But thanks to the magic of Pajama Day, now I’ve got to go out and buy actual pajamas so my kid’s teacher doesn’t think we’re homeless.
Victorian/ Colonial Times Day – Stop it. Seriously. I’m not going to go out and spend gobs of money on time period clothing just so some school teacher can have a reason to live out her secret Little House on the Prairie or Queen Victoria fantasies. Kids should learn about history the way nature intended – from a textbook. Too boring? Tough shit.
The Hundredth Day of School – Most of the time this day is commemorated by making the kids dress up like they’re 100-years old. Because nothing says school spirit better than adult diapers, polyester-blends, and dentures! Am I right?
Okay, now it’s your turn. Vent, rant and rave to your heart’s content because it’s better to do it here than at Parent/Teacher conference night…..