Get the Lead Out, Parents
Miss Skye has grown to love daycare, better known to her as the place with countless toys and part-time haven from my nonstop kisses. (Okay, sometimes I pause… to caress her baby hair. I’m such a freak.) Daycare has also given me a taste of what it is going to be like when Skye’s in school for, like, real five years from now — and by “it,” I mean the other parents. Everything I know about parental politics, I learned from Everybody Loves Raymond and Desperate Housewives, so I assumed I had a realistic grip on what to expect. WRONG! Allow me to back up and explain…
“Could you please decorate this to show Skylar’s heritage?” Teacher Rachel asked me a few weeks ago, handing me a paper with the outline of a doll. “We’re using them to decorate the room, so we’d appreciate getting it back as soon as possible.”
Her face implored — nay, begged — me to understand the urgency of this request.
“Of course!” I chirped.
“As soon as possible,” she repeated.
Okay! Geesh. I get it. Simmer down, daycare peeps.
I sat down at my desk that night to do my, er… Skye’s very important homework assignment. I looked down at the empty doll, currently resembling the chalk outline of a dead body, when it dawned on me. Crap. I picked up the phone and dialed.
“Mom! Where did we come from?”
“I thought we had this talk when you were ten.”
“Which COUNTRY are we from?”
A long pause, then:
“Well, you know your father’s side is Slavic…”
“As for my side, we’re nothing. Just a lot of Pennsylvania Dutch.”
“That would be German.”
“There you go then!”
“Pennsylvania Dutch… that explains why you say everything backward.”
“Good night, Candy.”
“Don’t you mean ‘Candy, night good’?”
So our little girl, who has German on both sides of her family, will obviously grow up to be a beer drinker! Woo-hoo! No surprise there. Probably not the most daycare-appropriate trait to highlight, however, so I ended up with this instead:
Silly, I know. I’ve only been to Munich, but my favorite part of visiting Germany (after the beer-drinking and laughing at an inebriated Mr. Candy talk to the flowers outside the Hofbräuhaus) was eating soft pretzels for breakfast. Yes! I am all about the important cultural experiences.
This was actually my second attempt. Unhappy with the first version — my printer was running out of ink, so the colors were funky — I decided to completely redo it. When I handed in our assignment (again), the teachers laughed.
“You did the assignment twice. And the others didn’t do it at all.”
“None of the other parents?”
No wonder the teachers had been so adamant about timeliness. This was three weeks ago, and my, er… I mean, Skye’s assignment has yet to be hung on the wall. I think we all know why. GET YOUR ASSES IN GEAR, PARENTS! My assumption was that Los Angeles parents would be overbearing and competitive, to the point they’d hire Steven Spielberg to direct a documentary about their kids’ ancestry for the assignment. Because, you know, I hear Spielberg is available for hire for daycare homework.
But no! It’s even worse. They don’t care. I mean, really. Only takes five minutes to slap an Eiffel Tower and beret on a piece of paper, and voilà! An insightful, rich representation of your child’s roots. (*Ahem*) Assignment: Done.
Every day I drive to daycare, hoping to see my little German girl on the wall, only to be disappointed time and time again. *Sigh* Maybe I can persuade the other parents to complete the assignment by impressing them with a speech in my native tongue. As my mother*, my mother’s mother and a long line of other fine Pennsylvania Dutchwomen in my family would say: Damn homework, finish the!
*Also known to say things such as “Stop rutsching ’round!” and “Go redd up your room!”