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EXPLAINING DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME TO A KID

KID: What’s Daylight Savings?
PARENT: It’s when we set our clocks back an hour.
KID: What does that mean?
PARENT: It means what used to be 10:00 is now 9:00, so there’s actually an extra hour in the day.
KID: Which day?
PARENT: Sunday.
KID: That’s a relief – I was afraid it was gonna be Monday when I’m in school.

MEMO TO SCHOOL PARENTS

TO: PARENTS

FROM: YOUR SCHOOL DISTRICT

RE: 2009/2010

Greetings.

As we kick off the new school year, we thought it necessary to take a few moments to discuss some of the challenges we’re facing this year. As many of you know, the economy is still struggling and we have been hit particularly hard by state budget cuts.

Again — wasn’t Obama supposed to have fixed everything by now?

As a result, we have undertaken a series of steps to deal with this unfortunate situation, and ask for your understanding in this difficult time.

The first and most obvious change is a slight reduction in the total number of days school will be in session this year. In addition to usual holidays, we will also be observing Halloween, All Saints’ Day (in a non-denominational way), Dia De Los Muertos, Guy Fawkes Day, the Winter Solstice, The Great American Smoke Out, Pearl Harbor Day, World Religion Day (again, in a non-denominational way), The Day The Music Died Day, Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day, Good Samaritan Day, The Ides of March, St. Patrick’s Day, April Fools’ and Arbor Day.

We had planned to observe Cinco De Mayo as well, but since the last day of class will now be April 15th, school will already be closed.

Our vacation schedule is undergoing some adjustments as well: Thanksgiving Break will now go through the end of the November, Winter Break will last until the day after Martin Luther Kind Day, and Spring Break will be March.

We will also be closing the school February 16-20 to give all parents a chance to take part in — depending on your situation — either a “Take Your Child to Work Week” or a series of field trips to The Unemployment Office, Health & Human Services, and various shelters and soup-kitchens.

We apologize for any inconvenience this might cause, but would like to point out that because these additional closure days will be unpaid, all teachers and administrators will be available for babysitting at the standard rate of $9/hr if your child is well-behaved, $25/hr. if he or she is not.

(If you’re not sure which category your kid falls into, ask the principal or one of the teachers to check the secret “trouble-maker” list in the office, or ask your child directly — though if talking to your child is not something you normally do, just go ahead and assume you’ll be paying the higher rate.)

In addition to schedule changes, we have also been forced to make adjustments to what we call “non-core classes,” or what most students refer to as “fun.”

Where we used to offer music class and after-school guitar, violin, flute and coronet lessons, we will now just have an iPod filled with classical music in the library that students can check out.

Art class will continue, thanks to the generous corporate support of Exxon, but will consist solely of students painting pictures of happy animals frolicking among oil derricks and pipelines in a global-warming-free world. And not with pastels or water-colors, either, but only oils.

The biggest change will be to shop class, which will be mandatory for all students, and will focus exclusively on offering them practical, hands-on experience, beginning with re-tarring the gymnasium roof, which was supposed to be paid for with federal stimulus funds, except the governor rejected them.

In light of all this, we are also revising our official “Back to School” supplies list to include the following:

  • Work gloves
  • Hard hat
  • Safety goggles
  • Notarized liability waiver

We have also changed the required quantities of the selected items.

Instead of:

  • 1 roll of tape

Students will now be required to bring:

  • 10 rolls of tape so the old torn-up text books that were pulled from the incinerator just before they were scheduled to be burned can be taped up and used for one more year

Instead of:

  • 2 oz. bottle of Whiteout

Students will now be required to bring:

  • 120 oz. bottle of Whiteout to correct any outdated information in the above-mentioned text books such as references to the 48 states, the U.S.S.R., American economic dominance or The Great Depression — not because this type of information is incorrect, but because we don’t want students reading about it and freaking out that it still might happen again

Given increasing concern about Swine Flu, we also recommend each student bring:

  • Medical-grade hand sanitizer
  • Rubber gloves
  • A hospital mask or filtered respirator

And where in past years we have discouraged students from brining an apple for their teacher out of food-safety concerns, we now not only encourage it, but suggest canned goods, cereal, grains and shelf-stable dairy products as well, as their pay has recently been involuntarily de-raised by 20%.

We appreciate your understanding and ask that any parents who are able should join us next Tuesday for a bake sale, where we’ll be offering a wide variety of donated cookies, cakes and pies all starting at $172.50 each.

Signed,

Your School District

P.S. We are also looking for unpaid volunteers, specifically five parents who just happen to have teaching certificates and can commit to spending five days a week from 9:00 am to 3:15 pm with between 20 and 30 students for the rest of the year.

A SHORT, INCOMPLETE LIST OF DUMB PLACES TO STAND WHILE WAITING FOR YOUR CHILD TO GET OUT OF SCHOOL

  • Immediately in front of the main doors.
  • Immediately in front of the side doors everybody uses because some idiot is standing immediately in front of the main doors.
  • In the middle of the hallway.
  • In the middle of the hallway with a double-wide baby stroller, dog, or large box of school supplies (even though they are appreciated).
  • In the middle of the hallway with three or four other parents who don’t seem to realize they are blocking the main hallway.
  • At the bottom of the stairs.
  • At the top of the stairs.
  • Anywhere on the stairs, even to the side because everybody still has to go around you.
  • In a semi-circle of other parents directly in front of your child’s classroom door.
  • Just behind the semi-circle of other parents standing directly in front of your child’s classroom door, but in front of some other parent’s child’s classroom door.
  • On the playground next to a bunch of kids playing kickball (especially if your head is down because you’re angrily typing a list of dumb places to stand, because then you don’t see the ball that’s arcing toward your head until it’s too late).

LITTLE IRRITATIONS: THE PAPER CUTS OF EVERYDAY LIFE

  • Door dings.
  • Trash bins that are supposed to be animal-proof but aren’t.
  • Dropped calls.
  • FEDEX drivers who double-park.
  • Stores that post the wrong hours online.
  • Meter maids.
  • Parents who bring their kids to daycare when they’re sick.
  • Traffic.
  • Drivers who make phone calls instead of turning.
  • Construction delays.
  • Drivers who don’t wait their turn at 4-way stops.
  • Tele-marketers who claim they don’t have to heed the “Do Not Call” registry because you’re a customer of their subsidiaries’ off-shore cousin’s shell company.
  • SUVs parked in compact spaces.
  • Chatty baristas who don’t seem to care/realize there are now 37 people in line.
  • The drive-thru (especially McDonald’s).
  • Golf.
  • People who don’t pick up after their pets.
  • News promos that use the words “deadly,” “outbreak,” and “protect yourself” when all they’re actually talking about is the flu.
  • Parents who call before 8:30 am.
  • Activities that are canceled or postponed by e-mail a few hours before they’re supposed to start.
  • Radio stations that have 25 minutes of commercials every hour.
  • Things at the supermarket that are still on the shelves days, weeks or months after their expiration date.
  • Cable-company DVRs.
  • Apple Airport Extreme Wi-Fi.
  • Universal remotes.
  • Spellcheck.
  • When your kids hide your keys.
  • Saran Wrap.

If Eskimos have a thousand words for snow, shouldn’t we have a thousand words for life’s little irritations?

For most of us, a day doesn’t go by that God, the universe, fate, karma, quantum physics or all-of-the-above don’t needle our emotional well-being, usually when we’re running late, just had an argument with our spouse or suddenly realized we forgot to get a babysitter for tomorrow night so we could go to dinner and a movie and finally get a break from all this crap.

It doesn’t help that these cosmic paper cuts never seem to be isolated one- offs, either, but instead come in sets, like celebrity deaths and unsolicited parenting suggestions from opinionated strangers – it’s not just the long line at Starbucks, it’s having them mess up your order twice and then spilling your extra-hot, half-caf hazelnut mocha down the front of your shirt as you pull out of the parking lot.

The impact of these little irritations – and they are little, even if we can’t figure out how not to sweat them – increases exponentially as the day progresses, to the point where we find ourselves cursing some 82-year-old women with a walker because she’s not crossing the street fast enough, or threatening to ground our kids for the rest of their natural lives if they EVER give the dog another peanut butter and jelly sandwich again, or contemplating divorce because our spouse forgot (again) to fill up the car when it got close to empty, leaving us in the position of having to coast down the hill to the Shell.

Psychologists say the only reason any of this stuff annoys us the way it does is because it reminds us that we’re not really in control (no matter how thoroughly we’ve managed to convince ourselves otherwise) and that ultimately mastering the moment isn’t nearly as important as just being in it, regardless of whether that moment is good, bad, satisfying, awful, rewarding, stressful, happy, sad, amusing, aggravating, etc.

But as nice as that sounds (in a zen-like, higher-consciousness kind of way), who has the time to learn how to do that? Or the energy? Or the patience?

If learning to live in the moment can’t be accomplished in one 30-minute session two times a week, in the car on the drive home from work, or during one of those rare moments when every kid in the house is quietly pre-occupied, then it just becomes one more thing we don’t have time to squeeze in but try to do anyway – or would try to do if we didn’t have to wait for the knucklehead in the car ahead of us to get off the phone and go.

Note: It’s easy to complain about life’s little irritations, but it’s also important to point out that we could probably eliminate entire categories of irritation if we really, really wanted to – just moving to a remote cabin in Montana and living off the land, for example, would instantly rid us of driving-, shopping-, neighbor-, school- and work-related annoyances (though it would probably more than make up for that by adding starvation-, bear attack-, hypothermia-, and isolation-related irritations, so maybe that’s not such a good trade-off. Plus, let’s not forget that Unabomber Ted Kaczynski moved to a remote cabin in Montana so he could get away from it all and look what happened to him).

5 SIGNS YOUR PARENT-TEACHER CONFERENCE WON'T GO WELL

1.

PARENTS: Hi, we’re X’s parents. You must be… Hey, you don’t look so good!
TEACHER: I just need to sit down.
PARENTS: Are you alright? Should we call the school nurse or something?
TEACHER: No, I just get nauseous whenever I hear your child’s name.

2.

PARENTS: Hi, we’re X’s parents.
TEACHER: Who?
PARENTS: X?!?!?!
TEACHER: Are you sure he’s in my class?
PARENTS: He sits right here, right in front of you.
TEACHER: I guess he hasn’t made much of an impression on me, but why don’t you have a seat anyway.

3.

PARENTS: Hi, we’re X’s parents.
TEACHER: Glad you could make it. Now, if you’ll just follow me, the principal wants to talk with you as well.

4.

PARENTS: Hi, we’re X’s parents.
TEACHER: Nice to meet you.
PARENTS: And this is our lawyer, Gloria Allred.

5.

PARENTS: Hi, we’re X‘s parents.
TEACHER: Yes, he talks about you a lot.
PARENTS: That’s good.
TEACHER: …with the school psychologist.
PARENTS: Oh.

POLL: WOULD YOU KNOWINGLY SEND A SICK CHILD TO SCHOOL?

Would you knowingly send a sick child to school?

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IF I'M NOT IN SCHOOL ANYMORE, WHY DO I STILL HAVE HOMEWORK?

Most school districts have guidelines for homework, which are generally 10 minutes per night per grade. This information is usually included in the “Back to School” handout, or available on a web site.

What they don’t tell you is that they don’t mean students are expected to spend 10 minutes per night per grade doing homework, they mean parents are expected to spend 10 minutes per night per grade — usually just to get your kids to sit down and get started, too.

Add to that the time it takes to make them double-check their work, re-read the directions so they do it right this time, call a classmate when the finally admit they can’t re-read the directions because they “forgot” them at school, re-do everything one more time… and then suddenly it’s 10:30 and you’re wondering where your evening went.

And that’s on a good night.

On a bad night, you have to factor in the additional time it takes to wipe away the tears your grade school kid sheds because they’re afraid that when you scream you’re going to throw all the video games and game players in the house in the trash if they don’t focus “RIGHT NOW!” you actually mean it, or the time it takes to think up the increasingly harsh forms of punishment you threaten your jr. high or high school kid with to get them to quite screwing around and get their assignment done — note to Dick Cheney: getting a terrorist to write a detailed confession isn’t all that different than getting a kid to write a history paper, so imagine all the controversy you could have avoided if you’d just asked the nation’s parents to tell you what really works?

There’s also the time it takes you to work through the shame and embarrassment you feel when you realize you’ve forgotten so much Math, Science, History and Social Studies that even when you finally snap and scream “Here, just let me do it!” you can’t actually do it.

Cosine? Pi? The atomic number of ruthenium? The capital of Botswana? Uh…

There was a time when students got homework and if they didn’t do it they’d get yelled at the next day by their teacher, paddled, given detention, or forced to stay after class while everybody else went outside to play so they could write “I promise I will not forget to do my homework again” 100 times on the blackboard.

Now parents are responsible.

Which means when there’s a note that gets sent home because there’s a problem, it blames you, asking what the Hell kind of uninvolved, uninterested, unfit parent you are for failing on such a regular basis to get your kid to sit down every night to complete such a simple thing as each day’s assignment.

Or worse, all of the above plus the reminder that there’s a 25 page Social Studies report due on Friday:

YOU: I just got a note from your teacher.
YOUR KID: I know. I brought it home.
YOU: It says you have a paper due on Friday.
YOUR KID: Yeah, for Social Studies.
YOU: Have you started it yet?
YOUR KID: No.
YOU: Why not?
YOUR KID: ‘cause it’s only Wednesday. Duh.

What’s a parent to do?

If you’re like many, you’ll eventually turn to your own parents for help, asking them how they endured homework’s Long March.

But the only thing they’ll do is laugh and say there’s nothing you can do, and that as awful as your kids seem, they’re not any worse than you were when you were their age:

YOU: Wow.
YOUR PARENTS: Yeah, sometimes helping you with homework got so bad we had to stop and walk around the block.
YOU: I’m sorry I put you through all that.
YOUR PARENTS: We forgive you.
YOU: Thanks.
YOUR PARENTS: And when your kids call you in 20 or 30 years to say the exact same thing, you’ll forgive them, too.
YOU: I guess.
YOUR PARENTS: Besides, every minute of stress and frustration they cause you now, they’ll suffer when they get older and have to help their kids.
YOU: That’s supposed to make me feel better?
YOUR PARENTS: No, but it finally makes us feel better.

Ouch.

(On the other hand, whether it’s Math, Science or Social Studies when you’re a kid, or Parenting, Perspective and Anger Management when you’re an adult, it’s nice to know that you can still turn to your parents for help you with your homework.)

TIME IS RELATIVE

KINDERGARTENER: I don’t think my teacher knows how to tell time.
MOM: What makes you say that?
KINDERGARTENER: In class today she told us that when you count from 1 to 60, that’s a minute.
MOM: No, she’s right.
KINDERGARTENER: Really?
MOM: You look surprised.
KINDERGARTENER: I just thought it was longer than that.
MOM: Why?
KINDERGARTENER: ’cause whenever I ask Dad to play with me he says “Sure, just give me a minute,” and then, like, half the night goes by.
MOM: Yes, well… sometimes your father gets busy.
KINDERGARTENER: So that means my teacher does know how to tell time.
MOM: Yes
KINDERGARTENER: But Dad doesn’t.

STORY PROBLEMS FOR MODERN CHILDREN

Since educators are always looking for ways to make lessons more relevant to students, how about using more realistic scenarios in story problems?

For example:

  1. Billy’s parent’s mortgage is $2200 per month. But since Billy’s Dad lost his job and Billy’s Mom had her hours cut, their monthly take-home pay is only $3200. After subtracting $1400 for food, $80 for cell phones, $440 for a car loan, $340 for cable, gas, electric, water and trash pick-up, and $700 in credit card interest payments, how much do they have left to pay their mortgage? And how long can they keep making this payment before the bank decides to just foreclose?
  2. If 10 people apply for 100 different jobs, what chance does any of them have of getting hired? And how many times do the other 90 have to be rejected before they just give up and stop looking?
  3. Alison’s Mom’s therapist wants her to start taking two anti-depressants. If anti-depressant X reduces anxiety and takes 3 weeks to start working and anti-depressant Y reduces depression and takes 1 week to start working, how long before Alison stops finding her mom sitting on the sofa in the dark at 2 am crying uncontrollably?
  4. Two men discover large masses growing out of the back of their spines. If one is 25 and the other is 85, which one will get the go-ahead from his insurance company for experimental treatment? Hint: keep in mind that most 25-year-olds don’t have health insurance, and while the 85-year-old gets Medicare, he lives in a swing state that’s been bombarded with so much health care propaganda he’s worried he’ll be euthanized by a Death Panel the second he steps foot in the hospital.
  5. Two men run for president. One wins handily by promising to change things. How long does the winner have to come through on that promise before his party gets crushed in the mid-terms and he follows in the footsteps of Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush and only lasts one term?

As if homework wasn’t depressing enough…

SCHOOL HEALTH POLICIES EXPLAINED

Now that the cold and (swine) flu season is upon us, it’s important to take a few moments to review the rules for when a child will be sent home:

  • If your child is running a fever, your child will be sent home.
  • If your child is vomiting, your child will be sent home.
  • If your child is sneezing anything yellow or green, your child will be sent home.
  • If your child “isn’t acting like himself,” your child will be sent home.
  • If your child “looks like” he’s getting sick, your child will be sent home (even if he’s not sneezing, coughing or vomiting).
  • If your child is just kind of being a pain in the ass and the teacher can’t really deal with it anymore and there have been confirmed cases of H1N1 at the school, your child will be sent home.
  • If another child is sick but that child’s parents can’t be reached, your child will be sent home.
  • If your child is fine but three or more other children in the same class who sit near your child are sent home, your child will be sent home.
  • If another child coughs and sneezes on your child, your child will be sent home. (Though the sneezing child will be allowed to stay because his/her parents can’t be reached.)
  • If you have a meeting or appointment you absolutely can’t miss, your child will be sent home.
  • If your child is tired and cranky, your child will be sent home.
  • If the teacher is tired and cranky, your child will be sent home.
  • If you didn’t conceal your dislike for your child’s teacher at the last parent-teacher conference, your child will be sent home.
  • If you usually rely on your parents to watch your child when your child is sick and they go out of town, have errands to run, or just can’t do it today, your child will be sent home.
  • If you came promptly to pick up your child the last time your child was sent home, your child will be sent home.
  • If you are sick, your child will be sent home.

And once your child has been sent home, your child must stay home for a minimum of either 48 hours from the onset of the first symptom, or 24 hours after the last symptom subsides, whichever is more inconvenient.

ARE YOU SMARTER THAN A 5TH GRADER? APPARENTLY NOT

>When did the Civil War start?

>What’s a dangling participle?

>How do you find the radius of a circle?

Homework may be be good for kids, but it’s bad for parents — what else could make an educated person feel like such an idiot?

KID: Is this answer right?
PARENT: What are you supposed to do?
KID: Find the slope of the line.
PARENT: Um… geometry wasn’t my best subject.
KID: This is algebra.

It’s one thing to forget something you only learned once, a long time ago, like what year World War II started, but it’s another to blank out completely on an entire subject.

(No wonder that nightmare where you find yourself back in school taking a test is so scary — you know for a fact you can’t pass.)

There was a time when parents could conceal their ignorance by telling their kids “Don’t forget to finish your homework!” before disappearing into the other room to watch TV for the rest of the night. But today’s schools send home so many hints and reminders it’s pretty clear they expect parents to not only actively check their kids’ homework, but participate in the doing of it, too.

PARENT: Any homework tonight?
KID: I have to measure the effects of pressure on memory by having you recite as many capitols as you can in under 60 seconds. Ready?
PARENT: I don’t need 60 seconds: Olympia, Washington; Sacramento, California; and I forget the other 48.
KID: Seriously?
PARENT: Geography wasn’t my best subject, either.

It’s not like you can defend yourself by admitting the real reason you’re not smarter than a 5th grader is because you don’t have to be, and that outside a limited number of professions, nobody really needs to know Π, the central theme of Dante’s Inferno, or how to say “Good Morning” in German.

(In Chinese, maybe, with the way the world is going, but definitely not in German.)

That’s worse than telling to a pre-schooler there’s no reason to be good because there’s no Santa Claus.

Leaving two ways to handle the homework knowledge gap: shrug it off and remind yourself that your kids are being graded, not you,* and that part of learning is learning how to do assignments on your own with no help from your parents.

Or hire a tutor.

For yourself.

*Parent-teacher conferences aside.

WHEN ARE THEY COMING OUT WITH WII HOMEWORK?

If Nintendo can make ping pong, paper airplanes and bass fishing addictive, why can’t they do all the parents who pay for those games a favor and come out with Wii Homework?

Every subject could be covered — Wii Lab for physics, biology and chemistry (where if kids blew anything up, they wouldn’t get detention and you wouldn’t get a bill for repairs); any number of Sim City knock-offs for Social Studies and History (e.g. Sim City: Jamestown, in which kids would have to decide between starving to death and turning cannibal); and some kind of battledome for math, where famous mathematicians from history fight each other to the death using the powers of Euclidean Geometry, Algebra, Calculus, etc.

Even grammar could be a game where, say, kids rescue dangling participles, or help a peace-loving race of “nouns” defend themselves against the evil pronoun horde that’s trying to assimilate them, or even assume the role of an ancient wizard who teaches adjectives to stand up to verbs by uttering the magical incantation “l-y.”

Levels would be the same as they are now, K -12, only instead of “graduating” kids would “level up.”

Parents would have to pay a little more attention to what they’re saying, too, as some of those unconscious responses would lead to confusion:

KID: Can I play Wii?
PARENT: Not until you finish your homework.
KID: But… Wii is my homework.

The main problem with Wii Homework would be that as with all Wii games, kids would eventually fight over it. And while this would be satisfying on an ironic level, it would also mean parents would end up taking the Wii away for a week as punishment, leading to an awkward situation where the teacher would ask “How come you didn’t finish your homework like you were supposed to?” and instead of saying “The dog ate it” or “I forgot,” your kid would say “Because my parents wouldn’t let me.”

Game over.

THE MORNING DROP-OFF, PT. 1

  • All schools have a very specific procedure for dropping off kids in the morning.
  • Some parents don’t realize this.
  • Some parents realize this, but don’t actually know what the official procedure is.
  • Some parents realize this, but don’t care.
  • The more complicated the procedure, the more likely it is to change.
  • The more complicated the procedure, the more likely it is to be written down, but since it will have been written by the same people who write those bizarre standardized testing story-problems, it won’t make any sense.
  • The more time you spend trying to understand the procedure, the less time some other parent at the school will spend trying to understand the problem, thus maintaining equilibrium and ensuring that the drop-off will never, ever go smoothly.
  • Parents who don’t follow the drop-off procedure always think they have a good excuse, but they don’t:
    • “I’m running late” isn’t a good excuse
    • “I drive a Mini so I’m not reallly getting in anyone’s way” isn’t a good excuse
    • “I haven’t had my coffee yet” isn’t a good excuse
    • “It’s just this one time” isn’t a good excuse
    • “I forgot” isn’t a good excuse
    • “I’ve read the procedure a hundred times but I just don’t undersand it” isn’t a good excuse
    • “My wife usually drops the kids off” isn’t a good excuse
    • “The person in front of me did the same thing” isn’t a good excuse (though certainly understandable, given our sheep-like tendencies)
  • Saying “sorry” doesn’t help, but it’s better than giving somebody the finger.

THE MORNING DROP-OFF, PT. 2

  • Before 9 am, nobody is polite.
  • If you leave early, something will happen that will make you late – an accident,
    road construction, freak snow storm, broken water main, etc.
  • If you leave really, really early because you expect something will happen to make you late, it won’t. But then you will be so early, you’ll have to wait anyway because the crossing guards, door openers, teachers monitoring the playground and/or sidewalks will be late.
  • The minute after you start screaming and yelling at your kids (for no reason other than you’re tired), you will realize the driver in the next car over who’s looking at you like you’re the worst parent in the world is the principal.
  • You can always tell the parents who got a good night’s sleep from the ones who were up all night, unless you were one of the parents who was up all night, in which case you can’t really tell anything.
  • Some parents take their time in the morning and you hate them for it.
  • Some parents take their time in the morning and you are inspired by them, even if you have no idea how you could ever be patient and relaxed at this hour.
  • When your kid says “I have to go to the bathroom” two blocks from school and you say “just hold it ‘til we get there,” half the time they won’t be able to and the other half the time they won’t be able to because going those last two block will take 25 minutes thanks to sewer maintenance.
  • If there is a convenient, quick, easy place to stop and get coffee on the way to the drop-off, it will close just when you come to depend on it.
  • Even if you stop in the drop-off lane because your child has just thrown up all over the backseat, the car behind you will honk and/or flip you off.
  • The only thing worse than being late is being late on a day when the principal
    is standing on the sidewalk opening doors.
  • If four parents come to an intersection at the exact same time, the one with the most kids will go first.
  • When you see a parent juggling a dog, a double-stroller, a cell phone and a coffee cup, watch out, because they aren’t.
  • When you see a parent juggling a dog, a double-stroller, a cell phone, a coffee
    cup and a 5-year-old, get your Handicam out because you’re about to witness an “America’s Funniest Home Video.”
  • For some kids, being a crossing guard is their first taste of power, so don’t give them an excuse to flaunt it.
  • For some kids, being a crossing guard is their last taste of power, which explains why so many will need therapy later.
  • Your SUV may look like a school bus, handle like a school bus, and be as big as a school bus, but it’s not a school bus. Which means that empty stretch of curb conveniently located directly in front of the school’s main doors is off limits until the big, bright, yellow sign that reads “School Buses Only 7 am to 10 am” gets removed (during the day, by workers from the Department of Transportation, not at night by a couple of dads with a hack saw and a crow bar).

DROP-OFF VIOLATION PENAL CODE

You’d think dropping your kid off at school in the morning would be easy, but it’s not. There is a specific procedure that you and everyone else is expected to follow, regardless of how illogical (or illegal) it seems, because when you do, there is (in theory) less chaos.

The problem is that some parents don’t. Ever. Which is why these insurgents should be fined and/or punished:

  1. Parents who let their kids off at the corner instead of at the designated “drop-off zone” should be fined $100.
  2. Parents who linger in the drop-off lane after dropping their kids off to talk to parents walking their kids to school should be fined $150.
  3. Parents who linger in the drop-off lane to talk to other parents lingering in the drop-off lane should also be fined $150, but they should be forced to come early the next day to personally apologize to every single other driver, too, and the other drivers should be able to throw food at them.
  4. Parents who pull out, stop, and then back up because “my son forgot his lunch” should be forced to display a bumper sticker that reads “My child goes to Ronald Reagan Elementary, but not for long if I keep driving like an idiot.”
  5. Parents who park in the drop-off lane and run inside the school for any reason should have their cars impounded for 30 days.
  6. Parents who enter the drop-off lane from the wrong direction should have their cars impounded for 30 days and then sold at public auction, with the proceeds going to buy new library books.
  7. Parents who screw anything else up should be sent to the principal’s office.