Thursday, October 19, 2006

Don't push me, other parents, 'cuz I am close to the edge

Incidentally, my just turned four year-old does a delightful version of "Don't..push.. Lola.. 'cuz.. she's ...close ... to ... the ... edge", with crazy jazz hands, and it's even better when she gets it slightly wrong and sings, "Don't push Lola 'cuz she's close to the side."

Okay, I am having a rough week, admittedly (the worst part is that two of my baby foster kittens died. I tried so hard with these little guys, so tiny. The necropsies revealed that it wasn't my fault; they had incurable illnesses. There is something gravely wrong with a universe where a tiny baby kitten would die before he ever experienced life).

But meanwhile, other parents are left and right pissing me off. Unbelievably, I have maintained my cool with my children, husband, and other drivers, no matter how imbecilic they may be (the drivers, not the children and husband). But meanwhile, I am on the verge of not a nervous breakdown but a fit of rage. A tiny taste to only slightly suggest what is working my last nerve:

The preschool's lack of inclusiveness toward vegetarians issue: I hope you can understand that in order to be open to all types of eaters, we are not making the step to become a vegetarian school. I also feel it is important for you to understand that we feel that ultimately, the board will not be held responsible for enforcing anything beyond what we stated in our policy (veg alternatives must be encouraged through a sign-up sheet and labeling must be made available). I can't even begin to explain the (probably to a large degree irrational) irritation this causes in me. First, I never proposed that the preschool become vegetarian, so it pisses me off no end that I am being asked to try so hard to understand why they won't do WHAT I NEVER ASKED THEM TO DO. This is compounded with the never-failing-to-irk remainder that we need "to be open to all types of eaters." My God, how on earth does serving vegetarian food to anyone mean not being "open" to them? Is there a place on earth which refuses entry to non-vegetarians and shuns them (and if so, where is this paradise located and do they serve booze?). Finally, the bureaucratic doublespeak in the last sentence genuinely baffles me. It's important for me to understand their feelings that they don't want to do anything? Or what? So in just two sentences, that little communique achieved a hat trick of annoyance.

Here's another exhibit from my day, although the sender in this instance was not idiotic (identifying information removed to protect the annoying and the non-annoying alike):

Another Mother has expressed concern about carpooling. Apparently her daughter rode with the Sober Husband a couple of weeks ago and sat in the front seat. A.M. is convinced that this is against the law and wasn't happy. I tried to tell her that it is perfectly legal to seat a child in the front seat of a car that doesn't have an airbag. In fact, I called the CHP to confirm, and they agreed that if all available seating in the rear of the car is taken, the front is fine in a no-airbag vehicle. The argument was lost on A.M. who still insists that it is illegal and that a child must be in a booster until they are 4'9" (she also refused to believe that this is a sort of safety initiative supported and advertised by some sort of safety coalition and not an actual law).

Of course, my husband did put the other mother's child in a booster seat as requested, so I am surmising that the complaint about illegal lack of booster seats stems from my own child. We actually do put our seven year-old child in a booster seat normally, but if we are travelling short distances at city speeds (30-35 mph or less) and there are younger children present, we put the younger children in the available booster seats. At highway speeds, we insist on having our child in a booster seat, even though that is above and beyond the legal requirements. (My husband's little sister died in a car crash, so he is especially attentive to safety and is in fact somewhat of an annoying old fussbudget in this regard, poking along waaay below the speed limit and driving a huge old car which is akin to a tank). It's not annoying to me at all that someone is conscious of safety; I am also, but it is annoying that someone would complain that we're breaking the law when we are not and when in actuality we are quite committed to safety while driving.

I would say that conservatively speaking, at least seven other parents have deeply, thoroughly annoyed or angered me today. On the other hand, no childless person, child, or animal has offended me yet (and I'll be going to bed very soon, so the window of opportunity is slamming shut). Childless people of the world, rejoice! You are free from the society of annoying parents (except perhaps your own).

Of course, it would be dishonest for me not to mention, in closing, that my extreme crankiness is building up and that indeed my own society is far from pleasant. How many other parents have I pissed off today? I think four, but two of them pissed me off first, and so my pissiness was provoked.

8 comments:

Freewheel said...

"I also feel it is important for you to understand that we feel..."

Any sentence that has such an unfortunate beginning is inevitably going to have an unpleasant ending.

silliyak said...

I don't suppose offering you a shot of Beefeater's gin would be helpful in anyway. But it's important for you to understand that I feel that's it's ok to give you a ration of s--t.

Green said...

Many things to say:

1. Sober Husband - I am so sorry about your sister.

2. Drunken Housewife - I'm sorry the co-op is being so lame about your veggie-ness. Are these parents smoking crack? I'd send that stupid parent a copy of the law that states kids can sit in the front as long as there's no airbag. Let her argue it. Even though she who raises the issue should have to prove herself first.

3. Lola - May I please have a performance - complete with jazz hands and costuming of your choice - of "Don't Push Me..."?

2amsomewhere said...

Some motivational reading for you...

Self Soothing

It's addressed towards men who don't cope well with anxiety, but the stuff about self soothing is universally true.

It's stuff I am working on in my own therapeutic journey.

--
2amsomewhere

janababy said...

Interesting, interesting. How much eating is involved at preschool? At Miles' preschool, it's pretty much limited to goldfish crackers and juice! No carving stations to be found! HA!

I have a real aversion to driving other kids around in my car. I am amazed at how frequently other mothers carpool bunches of kids around like it's a modified clown car! No thanks. It's so much responsibility, and I wouldn't feel comfortable allowing my children to drive with anyone I wouldn't give a kidney to. But, that's just me, and clearly I am overprotective and possibly paranoid!

How was the SpongeBob pinata anyway???

Green said...

P.S. I'm so sorry about the kitties! I hope that the day when you can think of them and smile, rather than think of them and hurt, comes soon

texzmissy said...

Tough week. So sad about the kittens...It hurts.

And on the preschool issue...We are not vegetarians, and we wouldn't like a "Ribs" themed dinner. And yes, the vegetable dishes always do go faster--judging by the way my ILs eat up my two veggie casseroles for Thanksgiving. If you knew you had a significant number of Jewish or Muslim parents, you wouldn't have Pulled Pork Sandwiches Night. Especially if the point is fundraising.

We do have a lot of barbecue fundraisers around here, but mainly because the local BBQ joints provide the food and all the organization/school has to do is show up and help serve.

"I also feel that it's important for you to understand..." I would be laughing at the lame-ness of that line, but it was being given to you in the expectation that you would feel better and agree with them, and it so clearly sucks in all ways.

Preschool/kindergarten sucks overall in that you begin to realize that when it comes to parenting, you are not only not on the same page as some people, you are not even in the same book. Worse, some of them are illiterate.

As for carpool complainers, just wait til you have one terminally late parent...you will wish you had the front seat safe driver who is on time...

And I really, really like Lola's song...

Susan said...

Goodness! People have such extremes! Just because you ask for some consideration for vegetarians does not mean that you expect the ENTIRE SCHOOL to go vegetarian! I get the feeling that she doesn't like to feel challenged....