Any mom who gets that “featured student” backpack sent home, with a stuffed animal and journal instructions, knows why this “honor” is better left to somebody else’s kid.
Last week, my son was the featured student in his class. Oh, don’t get all congratulatory; I’m pretty sure his teacher picks the names out of a hat. On top of this, my son wasn’t even happy to be featured student, and frankly, I understand why.
One of the perks of being “featured student,” is that both student and mother get extra “homework” each night, so that the class can learn more about said student. Let’s not forget the obligatory schlepping around and journaling of a stuffed animal. Sure, watching my kids carry around Clifford in nursery school was cute… well, minus the barrage of snot and germs each of the other kids left on him before it was our turn, but carrying a stuffed dog around in the 3rd grade could ruin a kid’s rep.
Day 1: Took a picture of my son pretending to play basketball with a stuffed dog, which he was actually using as the ball. Who could blame him, a 5th grader was watching. That evening I was required to write an essay about why I love my son, and what’s special about him. (yet another writing assignment that I’m being underpaid for).
Let’s face it, writing about your kid for the whole class to hear is cheesy and prohibits you from saying what you’d really like to say.
Hello, parameters people.
Clearly I didn’t want to embarrass my son in front of his friends. Hence, a sentence such as, “I love it each night when you beg me to come lie with you, and we giggle as I give you a kiss attack,” though true, isn’t advisable. Also unacceptable: “You’re the best at insert sport, smartest at insert subject, and easily the cutest kid in your class, even better looking than insert name. Yep – extremes, though you’re certain are true, are totally frowned upon.
Day 2: Took a picture of my son pretending to feed cereal to his stuffed dog, and ended up wiping spilled milk from both parties’ faces (secretly prayed that dog didn’t reek of rancid dairy by recess). We also had to find pictures for him to bring in which showed the major occurrences in his life from birth to date. I printed a bunch from an SD card and wrote Disney with varying years on them. (No one will be the wiser)
Day 3: Took pic of stuffed dog, among all my son’s other stuffed animals. It was meant to be ironic, like in E.T., except it wasn’t because the stuffed dog is in fact also stuffed.
Also, pulled stuff together for “collection” day. When my son asked what the heck he collects, I said, “Bring in the last 5 books I bought you, and tell them you collect dust.” Ba da bum. In reality, I handed him a bunch of pennies and said, “Tell the class each is from a different year.” What, like someone’s gonna check?
Day 4: Took a portrait with stuffed dog as if he was part of the family. (That picture turned out good. Note to self: photo-shop real family cat in later.)
Also, brought in a special lunch for the featured student. After allotting an hour to get the stuff together, including cupcakes for the class, (a precedent some mom started 10 featured students ago,) I was ready to enjoy a meal with my kiddo. I arrived to find that it happened to be “Lunch and a Movie Day.” Yep, the kids were watching the “Cat in the Hat” on a huge screen at the front of the lunch room. What the hell am I paying for at this school? Oh right, I don’t pay… figures.
We didn’t get movies at school; we got some hostess pies, a roll that was seran wrapped with a pat of butter on top and a “full fat” chocolate milk, and a bunch of other deliciously fattening junk, that’s what we got.
“You guys are so lucky,” I said to my son and his friends. A few of his friends responded. My kid, who recently told me not being able to do more than one thing at a time was his downfall, was captivated by Mike Myer’s portrayal of Cat and barely nodded in my direction. Correction, that wasn’t a nod, he was tilting his head to see around my head, as I was blocking his view… silly me.
I then conversed with a few of his friends about how my day was going and what they had learned thus far, but a woman screeched onto a mic and interrupted, “If you can hear me clap 2 times.” We all clapped like cattle, ok, cows don’t clap, but you know what I meant…
The woman continued, “Now, let’s use our movie manners! We are not here to socialize so let’s not talk to our friends and let’s just eat and enjoy our movie.”
Really, they’re not at lunch to socialize? They get like a 15 min recess and now they can’t talk during their 20 min lunch? – Which, didn’t even get them to the introduction of Thing 1… or Thing 2, for that matter. (Leave it to a school to ruin movie lunch.)
Day 5: We returned stuffed dog and I breathed a sigh of relief. “I get a year’s reprieve from this awesome task.” Maybe in 4th grade the boys can bring home something a little more masculine, like a sword… or a condom. Well, that was just silly, a condom would look ridiculous sitting next to grandma in a family portrait. Of course we could always photoshop in a pet snake or this guy:
What is the worst thing the school has your child do?
One last question for a segment I’m doing on CBS: How do men mess up on Mother’s day?