Monday, May 20, 2013

Off Duty-Yard Duty, huh? Well for most folks it is. For most, it's an idyllic scene. It conjures up memories of party hats, cake eating, and general merriment. The dads in the background mirror the joyous vibe coursing through the entire event.
     Everyone is having a rip-roaring time... if you're most folks.
(what's she getting at? Why is she rambling on? Don't fret. Seriously, there is a point. I shall illustrate the point with a story...)

     Jen hated birthday parties. She hated baseball games. She hated karate practice. She basically hated any activity that involved children and their parents. You see for Jen, accompanying her children to these functions and activities caused enough added stress in her life, that the baristas at her local Starbuck's could tell from the moment she entered the cafe if she was in the "mood" for a double mochaccino latte caramel machiato with a triple shot of espresso, or a simple brew of the day-sweetened with just a splash of cream.  If on her arrival the entire establishment cleared her path they knew not to greet her jovially.  To do so, would cause her to give them such a look by which all their perkiness withered away as did several of their reproductive years.  On these occasions her beverage was passed to her with averted eyes and minimal conversation.  New baristas were forewarned not to attempt eye contact.
     You see Jen is a teacher.  With that occupation comes the inevitable phenomena of having an invisible lanyard strapped around her neck with an equally invisible whistle dangling from it. Wherever she went she tried her best to go incognito.  She coached her children to keep her occupation a secret.  If ever asked, they were to tell the parents of their friends that she worked for the IRS, the CIA, the FBI, anything but the ABCDEFG.  To do so would result in her cover being lifted as she tried to be "normal" just like all the other Housewives of "fill in the blank".
For her, the aformentioned occasions began like this...
     On her way to pick up Boy Number 1 she notices a tell-tale envelope in his hand.  He throws it in her lap and grins.  "Can I go?" he asks.  "We'll see." she responds.  She "accidently" tosses the invitation in her teacher bag.  She figures out of sight, out of mind.  They make their way to karate practice.  When they arrive, she sits with all the other moms and dads.  She greets them and engages in light conversation about the weather, their children, shopping (yuck). She knows she could get a lot of paperwork done during the hour, but always decides against bringing in the tools of her trade.  They still don't know what she does.  For a full year she has dodged the subject of her job.  She is a mystery to them and she likes it that way.  She has become a master of changing the subject but for some reason her guard was down that day and it happens.  One mom asks what she and her family are planning on doing on a certain weekend in two weeks.  "Oh really nothing." she responds unsuspectingly.  Then the mom asks if she got the invitation to Jonny Joe Angel's birthday bash at Billy Bubba's Burger, Base-paintball and Bouncerama.
     The Super-mom hands her an envelope identical to the one burning a hole in her teacher bag.  "Well here's another in case he lost it.  It's in two weeks. You can make it!"

Fast-forward to the festive day...
     Jen is determined to have a good time.  She will sit with the other parents and relax.  She will keep her back to the children in such a way that any shenanigans will be out of sight.  She will talk and laugh and enjoy the party.

She really tries until...
     Her younger child comes up to her and tells her that there are kids playing Wrestle mania in the bouncer.  She tells him to go tell the party hostess.  She watches as the hostess goes over and warns the offender.  She watches as the little darling says he won't do it again and as she turns her back, she catches him stick his tongue out at her.  Jen's hackles begin to rise.  She catches his eye and gives the boy "the look".  He knows what that means.  He's seen it before and he cowers.  She decides to ignore that area but not before she tells her boys to stay away from "that kid".  She is off duty and she is going to enjoy herself too!
     As she proceeds to converse with a particularly lovely mom, the mother's darling little girl, a Pixie in Pink comes to her complaining about the same offender.  Her mommy knows who the parent of the culprit is and goes over to tell her that her child needs to be watched.  The mother gives her a look and turns in the direction of the bouncer. She yells, "Son be careful with the kids!" She turns her back and continues her conversation.  Jen tries to ignore the area.  But it's no use.  No matter how hard she tries, she can't keep her focus away from the havoc.  It's impossible to ignore.  She continues to watch the same scene play out over and over, as the little monster continues to leave victims in his wake, he even manages to recruit a number of other children to join him.  One by one the victims go to their mothers and complain.  One by one the mothers of the offenders ignore what is happening. Then, Pixie in Pink comes back to her mommy.  This time she is choking on her tears.  Now, the leader of the pack is spitting on children from inside the bounce house!  By this time Jen has had it.  She gets up, storms over to the bouncer and yells, "You, you, you and you.  You've been told to stop this behavior and you refuse to listen. Get out now and go to your mothers. You are off limits to this bouncer until you have learned how to play correctly and be respectful of the other children!  Do you understand??"  They look at her in shock.  "Get out now and go to your mothers I said!"

     As the other parents stared at her, several in a huff, her companion exclaimed, "I knew you were a teacher by the way you looked at that boy! IRS my foot!"

The Lesson
I think this one is obvious.  You don't have to be a teacher to have seen this scene play out and you don't have to be a teacher to react like Jen did.  Really people, watch and discipline your kids and when someone calls your kids out...say thank you!
Whew! I got that off my chest!


1 comment:

  1. Oh so true...I no longer have little children of my own and I feel free to reprimand little ones in the grocery store, restaurant of anywhere they are misbehaving :)
    Cute post!