December 15, 2009

A Merry Fishmas

Today was James' First Christmas Pageant at school. Mind you, he's two years old and they were promising that the one and two year olds would be singing. My child singing - that's definitely a work-from-home morning, followed by witnessing the signing event. I've been hearing snippets of "twinkle twinkle" and something that sounds like "wish Merry Fishmas" for a few weeks, so I was very excited to attend.

Our nanny went along with me, because she also has a daughter in the school. Stella tagged along in her Christmas dress and was happy, as usual.

We were told to dress the kids in appropriate Christmas attire. Not to be outdone by the crazed stay-at-home moms, I put James in his Merry Fishmas suit. They may have hand-knit baby reindeer on a jumper, but there was no way the stay-at-homes would beat a suit. No way.

The crowd was a bit edgy. You could feel a tad of the parent lunacy in the air. The folks jockeying for a close seat, the ones with the fancy cameras that they purchased just for this event. There were a few that were eyeing my seat. Then there was the real-live giant who sat in front of me. I was worried that I would have to manhandle him to even see my child (and without Jason there to tell me to shut up), so I decided to simply move to the middle of the aisle of the church and crouch down. The crouching, which you may think is silly, was quite necessary, lest James catch my scent or see me. The pageant festivities would have been over if I were spotted.

Needless to say, the whole thing appeared to go off without a hitch, and was quite entertaining. That is, except for this weird little boy in a red Christmas jumper who managed to use his chipper little jumper to romp into the frame of every picture and video I took. James really took to the singing of "Happy Birthday baby Jesus," and seemed to dig the jingle bells that were given to them as instruments.

Of course, there is a "but" - and there is always the Meredith moment. This one came in the social hall, where we were casually feasting on Christmas cake and punch. James' teacher came over to me while James was in the middle of a typical James-two-year-old style fit ("Cake! cake!").

"Oh, why is James fussing?" she asks me.

I look at her, "Well, he just does that sometimes."

"Hmm," she says, "he does not ever act like that in class."
I say, smiling, "That's very fortunate, isn't it!?"

[This is where the fun begins]

"James is such a sweet boy. We just love having him in class. He does say he misses you alot."

"Really? He says that he misses me?"

"Well, he actually always says, 'Mommy's working' or 'Mommy's sick.'"

I swallow. Hard.
"Mommy's sick?" I ask.

"Yes. And the day when we hung up the family tree pictures, he cried. It was very upsetting to him."

I swallow. Again. Harder.

"Oh. Well, so he says 'Mommy sick' and 'Mommy working' and he cries when he sees a picture of our family?"


"Well. Ok. Thanks for stopping by." I turn my back to her. And she walks off.

These damn teachers. Now, I'm a little sensitive since the "Muffins Without Mom" incident, and I also
knew it would not be very kind/prudent/appropriate to curse in the social hall of the church (or to curse at my son's teacher...or to curse in general, I suppose), but I really wanted to take that woman by her fluffy hair and give her a solid headslam wrestling move across the plastic covered table. I wanted to scream, "Can someone please tell me what the hell just happened here?"

Yes, Mommy does work. But, now apparently, James has his teachers thinking that Mommy is also "sick," perhaps a fragile-lay-in-the-bed-with-drapes-closed-all-day kind of mother? I don't believe it for a second. I believe those teachers have agendas. I believe genius teacher decides it's appropriate to tell me stupid crap like that coupled with: by the way, he cries when he sees a picture of your family tree.

Now this is the part of the blog where my mother is reading and probably crying, thinking "Poor James," but James is very matter of fact about everything. He's happy to see me when I am home, but when I work, he simply says "Mommy working," and goes back to coloring or reading. I know this because he does the same thing when Jason is also at work: "Daddy working." And our nanny for that matter. When our nanny leaves each day, he says, "Staci working." It's just what he says when someone is gone.

Now, the family tree picture. I can explain that one. The teachers sent the parents home with a homework assignment to create a family tree. I need an entire blog for my hatred for parental homework assignments and the teachers who assign the projects. Well, they gave me a piece of green construction paper and a piece of brown construction paper. While in the middle of cooking dinner, I made a makeshift tree, stuck some old wrinkled photos of Jason, myself, James and Stella on this ugly little tree and sent it off as the homework assignment. James was simply crying at the family tree because he knows Mommy's art skils are far superior to the effort put into that project: he's simply mad that Mommy performed below tree-making capabilities. Well, you're right to cry on that one buddy.

Ah, ha. I'm laughing. But seriously? We are at the Merry Christmas pageant, having a reasonably swell time, and somewhere in this little teacher's brain, she thinks that kind of pass-it-along story is reasonable/productive/worth repeating? Seriously? Seriously? Someone should roll up your teaching certificate into a long skinny roll and beat you with it.

Keep your mouth shut. Or, in the alternative, repeat after me: "James is nice boy. We love having him in class. He colors very well, and whoa, those alphabet skills."

And then, I cannot help but think about the zillions of years and teachers I have left to encounter. At least sixteen more years of teachers? How am I going to make it? Clearly, I must stop working and stop being "sick," because that's the first step. Once I stay at home and get un-depressed with all my bonbon eating, then maybe, just maybe, I can create a family tree project my son doesn't cry when he sees.

After the pageant performance but before the refreshments and the you're-a-terrible-mother incident occurred, the parents were "released" to go get their kids. I found James, and I tapped him. He looked up and I said, "Hey buddy."

With that, he smiled the biggest smile ever. He reached up to me, wrapped his arms around me and said, "Hi Mommy. Sweet. Fishmas song!"

Aw shucks. As if anything else really matters.

Merry Fishmas, everyone!


becky said...

What that teacher said to you was totally unacceptable. You know she's full of it (with 2 extra preceding letters). If I were you, I'd write a letter. Unbelievable.

BarbaraMaysBurns said...

Yeah, um, I would NEVER have been so passively snide about something like that with a child's parent! I cannot believe that happened.

Just wait, my kids will be crushed when they see MY poor art skills. I won't even get in to what MY paperbag puppets would look like... And I am (was?) a teacher!!

You're a great mama, and please please PLEASE don't let this one lady's snide remarks make you think otherwise. Your children are healthy, happy, smart little boogers. And they are very lucky to have you and Jason as their parents.

"If only you weren't sick all the time." Whatever.

Meredith said...

Thanks, you two.

Sometimes I swear, my life is actually rerun after rerun of "Stupid People Caught on Tape."