Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Don't quit your day job

I am convinced that schools assume that parents either a) Are independently wealthy and thus don't have to work or b) Work some kind of flex time so they can take days (or hours) off at will with almost no notice. We got a note home yesterday that we are invited to an assembly to hear four grades worth of kids sing and play drums and stuff. According to DD they have been practicing this pretty much since school started in the fall. 150 kids, all singing or playing or dancing or whatever at the same time. Should be a riot (almost literally LOL). Only problem is, said assembly is two days from now and in the morning. My hours are somewhat flexible so I can go. But no way can DH take the time off with such short notice. Fridays in the summer are almost impossible to get without a few months notice, let alone two days. His only hope is finding somebody to trade shifts with him that day, but I doubt he will try hard. He doesn't want to work until midnight on a Friday night - and who can blame him. Yet it will be just as hard on him to miss the assembly. Some people hate these things. Getting packed into a hot school gym full of noisy adults and fidgety, hyper siblings. Sitting through a four hour concert to catch the four minutes your darling is on stage (alternating between picking their nose and picking their butt usually, or fighting with the kids next to them). Most people go and hope it is over fast. And some, as soon as their kid is done, get up and leave even if there are still three hours to go. I find it rude, but then again it clears chairs for those standing at the back. Doesn't it seem cruel to have to come an hour early to get a good seat for something you don't even want to go to? Then to have cookies and punch afterwards, well, that could send a person over the edge. I, on the otherhand, love these things. First of all, I don't get out much. A bit of conversation with an adult other than my spouse (you know, so the conversation can touch on things other than what is for dinner, what we need the next time I grocery shop, or asking about the state of the laundry), some time out of the house and away from the computer, and the chance to see my darling daughters shining face up there on stage as she proudly performs. Well, most of the time proudly performs. Why kids feel the need to pick their noses while on display is beyond me. Is there some strange chemical emitted from school stages that causes nose pluggage and nasal itching? Actually, itching in general because there is an awful lot of fidgeting with undergarments going on up there. I suppose it might be the same chemical that makes people sitting in an audience do that weird cough. You only ever hear it in movie theaters and school gyms or auditoriums waiting for the show to start. Odd that. So now, because DH can't go, I will be charged with the duties of filming this wonderous event. Now, I don't mind using the video camera per se. But trying to get a video of kids at a school assembly is a bit tricky. You see, if there are 150 kids up there then there are twice that number of parents trying to get a picture(and don't even get me started on grandparents, aunts and uncles, and second cousins once removed). With still cameras at least you have a fighting chance. When they announce your kids group, you fight your way to the front (crouched over thinking you are being inconspicuous but really, we are sitting on tiny little primary school chairs. You could crawl and your butt is still higher up than I am), wait for a moment when your little darling's finger is out of their nose and they are facing front, and CLICK. Blind everybody with the flash. Then do the crouch-walk back to your spot, saying "excuse me, pardon me, excuse me, pardon me" like something from an old Looney Toons cartoon. With a video camera, the responsibilty is much larger. Sometimes you are expected to tape the whole show. Which means getting there two hours early to claim the best spot, only to be told 3 seconds before the show starts that you are standing in an aisleway where the kids are expected to enter and exit and have to move. Then turn to discover people are packed elbow to chin and it is standing room only. If you decide to only tape the portion of the show containing your own child it gets even MORE complicated. You have to fight your way to the front along with parents carrying still cameras, knowing full well that they will jump in front of your view to CLICK photos during the entire taping. All that work to get more minutes of parent's backsides as they say "excuse me, pardon me" than of your actual child. That is assuming of course, that you know when your kids part is going to start. Printed programs be damned, nine times out of ten by the time I wake up, get up there, and get filming her class is done and walking off the stage. Being able to recognize your own child in a sea of first graders by only the back of her head is a keen parenting skill you should start honing the minute they are born. You will use it. A lot. Sometimes, after a class has done their section they are allowed to find and sit with their parents. Who are they kidding? We are squished onto primary chairs. There is no more room on my lap, what with the camera, purse, and my chin. Where is said child going to sit when she gets here? She has better luck squeezing UNDER the chair than anywhere around it. I like it better when they keep the kids until the end. Generally this involves bringing them back to their classroom for a snack and maybe a movie. It gives me time (and room) to watch the rest of the show to garner clues as to what we might see in later years. For sadly enough, these shows are often quite predictable. The same teachers have their kids do the same routines year after year, albeit with a different cast. The dancing flowers of this year will become the singing summer hula choir of the next. And so on and so forth, until a teacher transfers or retires and they bring in new blood. As the assembly goes on, the room gets less and less crowded as people leave when their own kids are done. The ones left over at the end are either die hards like me, parents whose kids are in the LAST section, or parents with more than one child and one of those kids is in the last section or was drafted as an usher or stagehand or something and has to stay until the end. Those parents are easy to spot, from their flushed faces, wild hair, and bags under their eyes. It's hard work fighting your way to the front in a crouch-walk ONCE, let alone a multiple of times. You can see that they are starting to consider having one child skip a grade and holding the other two back a few years so they can all be in the same class next year - all to avoid the need to stay for the entire show again. Plus you have to factor in what they had to do at work, to get the day off on such short notice. Poor poor parents. They are going to need something more fortifying than cookies and punch after all that. And if they were truly insane and brought along another child not-yet-school-aged, well, I am not sure what to say about that. Few have survived such a scenario with faculties intact, punch or no punch. I know it is blurry, so don't take this as a demonstration of my photo skills - I had to take it from far away so cropping was necessary. And when you crop, you lose definition. Anyway. The shiney thing on the left is a quarter. The yellow blobby thing on the right is a snail. Dora the (what number are we on? Not sure. I'll have to count the empty shells on the bottom of the tank - bwa ha ha!). Now, is it just me, or is it kind of creepy to have a snail that is THAT big? And whoever told you that snails were slow is dead wrong. This thing zooms around the tank like a ping-pong ball. I think the only reason Cedric-The-Murderous-Fish hasn't tried to eat this one yet, is it got too big too fast and now is too scary to eat.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've always thought that the schools have missed a real fundraiser by not taping these events & selling them to the parents. If you think it's bad now -- wait til your child is in BAND!!!! whooo hooo in the upper levels, it can get bloody trying to get the best video spot...