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.