Friday, October 1, 2010

Adventures in Real Parenting: To Boldly Go Where This Parent Has Never Gone Before

In a fit of uncharacteristic do-gooderism, I responded positively to an emailed plea for volunteers for tonight's band lock-in at the middle school. (Did you just hear that eerie music or was it just me?)

When I told MathMan what I'd done, he thought I was joking.  Then he reminded me that I must have forgotten that approximately one third of tonight's attendees will be seventh graders.  Anyone who's raised kids through the middle years just gasped. Seventh grade, at least at our house, is the year that we wish our kids went to boarding school.

So yeah, tonight.  All night.  From 9:00 until 7 a.m. ish tomorrow, it will be a glassy-eyed crew of parents riding herd over a bunch of raging hormones dressed in the obligatory event tee shirt and pajama pants.

In preparation, I've been watching iCarly and boning up on the difference between Ke$ha and Katy Perry, Justin Beiber and the Jonas Brothers.  I'll be doing some stretching, deep knee bends and squats just in case I'm called upon to race across the gymnasium to rescue some eighth grade percussionist from a swarming hoard of sixth grade worshippers glittering with flavored lip gloss and offering up their last stick of React gum.

I stopped in the toiletry aisle at the grocery store this afternoon with the express purpose of sniffing every available bottle of Axe.  I figure it's kind of like an olfactory inoculation.  My brain still feels a little twangy in spots, numb in others, but at least I managed to drive home with my mandatory 12-pack of soda intact.  Grape Crush.  It was on sale.

I've checked the duty roster.  I'm going to be manning the inflatables.  I wondered why the band boosters thought blow up dolls were a good idea.

"Mom, that's the blow up playground stuff.  The slide.  You know?"  Sophie rolled her eyes, puffed up her cheeks and sized me up.  I knew she was wondering just how often and how severely I might embarrass her tonight.

"Oh."  I  still thought blow up dolls sounded like more fun.  It must have been all that Axe sniffing.

She circled around me.  She's so antsy I want to get her with one of those darts loaded with sedatives. "By the way," she purred, "You're going to let me and Leah go down the slide head first, right?"

My Mom Thing kicked in.  That little red flag like on a mailbox popped up.  Except it didn't mean I had mail.  It meant that there was the potential for danger.  "Absolutely not," I snapped.


"No way, sister."

She wanted to know why, of course.  Kids always want to know why when you say no, but isn't it funny how they never ask why when you say yes?

"If I let you and Leah skirt the rules, then I'll have a whole army of band geeks* wanting to break their necks. It'll be chaos.  It'll be anarchy!"  The Breakfast Club reference flew right over her shaking head, but she held her tongue.

"Well, don't forget to take a nap.  You better stop screwing around on your computer and sleep so you're not cranky tonight."  That was her speaking to me, not the other way around.

"Hey, I've got my speed.  That should keep me going all night," I harrumphed as I reached for the Lock-In Fact Sheet.  I hate it when she calls blogging "screwing around."  I shook the photocopied sheet full of text.  What to bring, what to not bring.  "So I see here that we can't bring our guns or knives or our dangerous substances or chemicals."

"Obviously, Mother."  The sound of rolling eyes echoed off the walls.

"Well, they won't be searching the parents, right?" I glanced again at the paper.  "Because I'm bringing my Star Trek U.S.S. Enterprise bottle opener just in case.  It's my major award, you know."

She stared at me without speaking.

It's true.  I won the bottle opener for my caption in a contest at Anna Lefler's blog Life Just Keeps Getting Weirder.  To be honest with you, I haven't not had it somewhere on my person since it arrived by special delivery yesterday.  Which proved tricky last night given the way I sleep nearly au naturelle these days.  

Finally, Sophie spoke.  "What do you plan to do with the bottle opener, Mother?"

"The way I see it, it's a versatile tool.  It's a weapon, if needed.  And who knows, maybe some adult will smuggle in some beverages that require an opener."  In my mind, a blurry image formed.  It was me on one of those metal folding chairs, tossing back a couple of Shock Tops while overtired and punch-drunk children tumbled headfirst down the inflatable slide.....

Listen up, my insomniac friends.  Feel free to text me tonight to make sure I'm awake and sober and not trapped in some tuba locker, okay?  Those of you who are friends with me on Facebook can find my mobile number on my profile.

I'll also be tweeting the event, in case you want to be part of the action.  If you have a Twitter account, you can follow me here for all the witticisms that are bound to be produced tonight.

There's nothing left to do now.  I've got my mom jeans and my Band Boosters Are The Real Players embroidered sweatshirt.  I'm ready to rock this thing.

See you tomorrow.  I hope.

*No offense to those of you who were Band Geeks.  I was one, too, until I gave up my trumpet to twirl a flag.  And let us not forget I married a guy who plays the bassoon.


  1. Better you than me, sister. I sat in for the Chess Club teacher once, for ten minutes, and it was a living hell.

  2. Middle school? I suggest you stop by one of those stores selling drug paraphernalia and take a look at the variety and shapes of bongs.

    Maybe take a drug sniffing dog to this event.

    ... those twerps you're watching are so far ahead of you, pity doesn't cover it.

    Good luck!

  3. Bassoon... AKA the 'Burping Bedpost'

    Get him transitioned to a duduk, you get a doumbek and you'll be the toast of bellydance performances all over the southeast.

    Looking forward to your tweets!

    "Church lock-in veteran" got the purple eucharist to prove it.

  4. Oh dear god. Seventh grade? Are you kidding? the worst thing I ever did as a middle school teacher was have 7th grade lunch duty. Monsters, I tell you!

  5. well, recently, I spent one night in a cabin with a bunch of 7th graders, and only one fell out of the loft and landed on his spine....
    tonight I only have 2. And I plan on ignoring them.
    have fun!!!

  6. Wow! You deserve a medal for bravery! lol Have a great time...just remember we were all that age once! :)

  7. Oh boy! Good luck, may god have mercy on your soul - and I cannot wait to read the 'follow-up' to this blog post - you will certainly get a ton of material out of being locked-in with a bunch of 7th graders!

  8. Seriously, are you insane?

    I would only volunteer for that if we could meet in the girl's room and share a reefer first.

  9. I wish I'd seen this yesterday. I totally would have texted you!

  10. "The bassoon is one of my favorite instruments. It has a medieval aroma, like the days when everything used to sound like that. Some people crave baseball...I find this unfathomable, but I can easily understand why a person could get excited about playing the bassoon."

    Frank Zappa

    ..and I totally understand why you married a bassoonist.

    When I was a child parents and teachers were far too sensible to allow a 7th grade lock-in.

  11. I hope you'll write another post about what happened!

  12. Someone obviously didn't pay attention to the pleadings of Bonzo's better (real low bar, I know) half so many years ago. It's the only plausible explanation.

  13. I think I might have to quote you on the why kids don't say why when you tell them yes they can do something. I've never thought of if that way.


  14. Oh, the Frank Zappa quote that Susan posted is priceless. I'd never read it or heard it, so at first I thought that was Susan's quote. :-)

    Hilarious, Lisa. :-D

  15. I missed this one yesterday, but I'm totally down for the sequel when you get the notion.


  16. Well, Lisa, this should satisfy all your requirements for volunteering for the year, and by October too! Wow. I was going to volunteer for the Homecoming dance, but that was only going to be 2 1/2 hours of making sure the kids didn't spike the fruit punch...

  17. This was it: your once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to let all your daughter's friends see you in your jammies, bouncing down the inflatable slide. Please tell me you did not let this golden moment go to waste.

    Please tell me you took off your bra first.

  18. all i can say is i wish you well. can't wait to read what happens next~~

  19. I have a wonderful psychiatrist you need to see.

  20. those of us who didn't marry the bassoon are still kicking ourselves in the ass! Which is not easy to do. We won't expect to hear from you for a few days. I'm sure your daughter is going to lock you in your room after the evening!

  21. I hope you took a Fun Flask with you.

  22. BUWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh dear. I hope you survived! We haven't had any overnights with the whole middle school (THANK GOD)-though they do go to camp one day soon, I think... My two are the ages of your younger two, though gender swapped--I about died with the Axe innoculation--man, it is so true. My son LOVES the stuff (spends his OWN money to buy scented shower gel)

    I wish I'd seen this live--would have loved the play by play, though I'm with Lola--wouldn't have made it without a flask...

  23. "So I see here that we can't bring our guns or knives or our dangerous substances or chemicals."

    So, there will be no fun to be had, I assume...

  24. Oh, never mind. They didn't prohibit blackjacks, bullwhips and cattle prods.

  25. Verrrrry interested to hear how this went.


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