Hey you know what I love doing? Spending a bunch of money on craft supplies and cupcakes, begging off from work, and sitting in an itty-bitty chair while pretending to enjoy every moment of manning the snowman craft station while one kid tries to eat all of the glitter and another coughs directly onto all of my mucus membranes.
Wait, I mis-typed. What I meant to say is that I hate all of those things. Those things are the worst. My mistake.
Now that the holidays are approaching, any parent with a school-aged child will need to gird their loins because something sinister hides alongside the festive joy: the classroom party.
First was the Thanksgiving feast, complete with gelatinous “cranberry” sauce and rubbery turkey breast. Soon, the holiday party, for which you will desperately comb your child’s wardrobe for something that is red or green. After that, happy New Year’s, sucker! The Valentine’s Day bash will carry us into February. If there is a God, and he is merciful, my kid’s new school won’t perpetuate the sham of a St. Patrick’s Day party. Here’s hoping.
I’m sure I sound like a joyless Grinch, and that’s not far off the mark. I hate the classroom party. I hate it with the same radioactive intensity of day-glo pink frosting on the Valentine’s cupcakes you will muscle past your gag reflex in a few scant months.
We had these parties when I was younger, but I don’t remember parents being invited. They stayed where they belonged; at home or at work where they couldn’t do any embarrassing social damage. Now, the surest way to be labeled an apathetic mom is to say that you can’t make it to one of these things.
How do I hate thee, holiday parties? Let me count the ways. First, you are a time and money suck. I don’t know why the room mom requires organic sprinkles infused with dew from atop the Himalayas, but I will trek an hour away to buy them anyway. I do try to be a good sport.
Second, what purpose am I supposed to serve at these things? I am not good with children. What do I do with my hands? Should I pet this child’s head over here at the cookie decorating station? His mother is looking at me with a strange expression. I do not think I should pet this child’s head.
Third, where is my child? Oh, here she is, hiding in the reading corner. What is she whispering? “Please leave, please leave, please leave” over and over again, that’s what. Of course she is, her weird mom just petted some kid’s head.
Fourth, what do I talk to the other parents about? Coffee? The weather? How about this study I just read about childhood masturbation? No, they don’t like that. Quick, make a fart joke to change the subject!
Fifth, I will forget the teacher gift. I left it on the kitchen counter, but now I’m on the spot, so I have to come up with something. Thank you for educating my child, awesome teacher! Here is some lint and an Altoid I found in my pocket. Please don’t mention it, or the other parents will feel bad.
Sixth, here comes the announcement about “optional early release.” Oh, phew, it’s optional! That’s good, I have work to do. Hey kids, why are every single one of you putting your coats on? Oh, I see. I didn’t catch the part where the teacher made air quotes around “optional.”
Finally, I will end up giving in and taking my kid home, which will get her amped up, so now I have to finish my work with the child equivalent of a hyena speedballing meth running in and out of the office all day.