I had planned to write tonight about how nice my week has gone. I’ve slowed down, quit worrying about the housework, I’ve taken naps most afternoons, and spent more time with Michael and the kids. And it’s been nice… really, really nice.
But now I’m pissed.
Cassie had an Easter party at her pre-school today. I got the request to bring in cookies last week. Being overloaded and short on time, I thought I’d buy some nice cookies from the store. Not just any old box of Oreos, mind you, but actual Easter cookies with decorations from the bakery section.
So I bought the cookies yesterday, Thursday, to make sure they’d be reasonably fresh. No point in buying cookies a week in advance just to have them go stale before the party, right? Because no one should have to eat stale cookies at a party. Then Thursday afternoon when I went to pick up Cassie from pre-school, one of her teachers, Ms. D, asked me if I’d forgotten to get the cookies.
“No, I got them this afternoon. Cassie is bringing them in tomorrow morning.”
“Oh!” said Ms. D. “See, we expect the moms to bring stuff in a few days before, so we know we’ve got it all.”
“Well that’s the first time I’ve heard of this,” I replied.
“Yeah,” Ms. D went on. “All the other moms have been bringing stuff in all week long. We just thought maybe you forgot.”
“No,” I said, a little annoyed. “I bought Easter cookies today, and Cassie will bring them in tomorrow. If you needed them earlier, I’m sorry, but there was nothing on the note you sent out saying anything about that.”
“Oh well, I guess it’ll be okay.”
After that conversation, I was a little annoyed about not being told to bring stuff in earlier in the week. But only a little. I figure, it’s no big deal, right? Let the matter drop.
So Cassie went in this morning with two boxes of Easter cookies, and let me tell you, they were nice cookies – shortbread in the shape of eggs and lilies and rabbits with lots of sparkly pastel sprinkles and dipped in chocolate on the back. And they were BIG cookies, and when Cassie saw them, her eyes lit up and she got really excited about bringing them in and sharing them with her classmates, and I thought, “Yeah, I picked out some good cookies. The kids are really going to enjoy these.”
Only they never got the chance.
I picked up Cassie at pre-school around 4:30PM today. Ms. D sat in a chair, watching the kids’ afternoon movie, and said “Hi” but that was it. I took Cassie home, made her and Sam a snack, Michael brought home dinner, we watched a movie, yadda, yadda, yadda. At bedtime, Cassie came downstairs to kiss me good night. “How did your Easter party at school turn out?” I asked. “Okay, but Ms. D wouldn’t hand out my cookies.”
“Uh, what do you mean?” I asked. “Daddy did hand her the cookies, right?”
“Uh-huh, but Ms. D decided not to hand them out at the party, so we only ate Sally’s mommy’s cookies instead.”
“Why didn’t Ms. D hand out the cookies?” I asked, starting to fume.
“She said they were the wrong kind.”
Cassie was visibly upset about this, and I was suddenly struggling to keep my cool, because I could just imagine Ms. D giving Cassie a stern lecture about how the cookies were the wrong kind and there was no way she was handing them out so quit bugging her and go sit down. Obviously, I don’t know exactly how it went, but I’ve dealt with Ms. D before, and I think I’ve got a pretty good idea of how she probably bulldozed over my kid over something small and stupid. And it pisses me off, because this is not the first time we’ve had a situation like this.
There have been a few times over the past year and a half that Cassie has been in that class that Ms. D has informed either Cassie or myself that we have not met some sort of unwritten standard. The first time was way back in January 2007, right after Cassie had moved up to the 4-year-olds’ class, and Ms. D complained that Cassie could barely write her name. Now I specifically asked before allowing Cassie to be moved up if there were any prerequisites that she needed to have before going in there, and I was told no, that Cassie could sit still and pay attention for more than five minutes so she was more than ready. But Ms. D seemed to think that Cassie had a learning problem because she couldn’t write her name perfectly within the first month of joining the class. She wasn’t even four yet, for Christ’s sake!
Later on the following summer, we had the “bag lunch” incident. Cassie’s class went on a field trip. I got a note saying to pack a bag lunch. I thought, “I’ll get a cooler bag for Cassie so that her milk and the cheese in her sandwich don’t go bad.” That afternoon after the field trip, I got a lecture on how it’s too hard for the teachers to deal with cooler bags and I should have known to pack everything in a disposable grocery bag. Except how am I supposed to know this when it wasn’t specifically stated? When I went to school, you didn’t use grocery bags for lunches, you used a METAL lunch box, and you certainly didn’t throw the damn thing out after one meal.
Since then, I’ve heard complaints that Cassie can’t color in the lines, which apparently will cause her to flunk out of kindergarten next year because in kindergarten they take those things very seriously. Imagine the horrified look on Ms. D’s face when I told her that I was a professional artist and that I consider coloring in the lines to be a sign of creative death and dictatorial brain-washing. And no, I wasn’t joking.
Then we had a lovely incident over the holidays when another child accused Cassie of tearing a paper pop-up play-set that she had brought in. This child swore that Cassie had torn the play-set, so Ms. D put Cassie in time out, and when I came in, she told me that Cassie had torn the play-set and had gotten into trouble for it. And I, believing that this was exactly what had happened because Ms. D surely wouldn’t have put Cassie in time out otherwise, gave Cassie a stern lecture about being careful with other people’s property and then I made Cassie apologize to the other child. Then, just as we were leaving, the other child’s mother showed up, and I took the opportunity to offer to pay for a new play-set, and the mother said, “Well, let’s look at the damage first.” And she pulled out the play-set and set it up and looked it over and couldn’t find a single thing wrong with it. Nothing was torn, nothing was out of place. It was as good as new. And then the other child looked at it and couldn’t find the spot where Cassie had supposedly torn it because it wasn’t there. So that child had to apologize to Cassie, and I apologized too for lecturing her when she hadn’t done anything wrong. But Ms. D? Oh, she just got this funny look on her face and walked away.
Oh, and let’s not forget the time Ms. D told me that Cassie was probably ADD and would most likely be culled from kindergarten because every now and then, Cassie spaces out in class. And this is how I found out about THIS particular issue…
Ms. D: “Just so you know, Cassie’s not been paying attention very well in school this past week.”
Me: “Well, that’s probably a hold over from too much TV at home over the holidays. We’re back on a stricter schedule, so I’m sure she’ll straighten out soon. If you have any problems though, please let me know.”
Ms. D: “Oh, we’ve been having this problem since day one. It’s just that lately, it’s gotten a lot worse.”
Ms. D: “Cassie always spaces out, she’s always the last one to finish up her meals, always has to be reminded to finish up her work… You know if she continues like this in kindergarten, they’ll probably diagnose her as ADD.”
Me: “And this has been a problem for HOW LONG?”
Ms. D: “Since her first day here.”
Me: “That was over a year ago. And you’re telling me about this NOW?!”
Please explain to me, what kind of fool notices a problem and says nothing about it for over a year? Oh, and for the record, kids can only be diagnosed by doctors, not by teachers, and our doctor told me that no one would even consider looking at a child and labeling them as ADD if they were younger than six, and even then, it’s questionable.
But we’ve moved past the ADD thing, and the coloring thing, and the Cassie-can’t-write-her-name thing and the Cassie-got-punished-for-something-she-didn’t-do-thing, and now we’re on the Cassie-brought-in-the-wrong-cookies thing. And I’ve about had it. Yeah, it’s a stupid little thing, but here’s my beef. First, if there was a specific type of cookie that was considered “wrong” as opposed to “right,” then why wasn’t that specified in the note that was sent out? The only problem I can think of is that the cookies had chocolate on the back of them, so the kids might have gotten their hands a bit messy, but isn’t that what napkins and paper towels are for? And doesn’t the classroom have a sink with soap and water? And aren’t the kids required to eat IN THEIR SEATS LIKE GOOD LITTLE MINDLESS ZOMBIES SO THEY CAN’T POSSIBLY MAKE THAT MUCH OF A MESS ANYWAY?! Oh, and if Ms. D didn’t pass out the cookies to the class at the party, what did she do with them? Pass them out to the other teachers and staff? Eat them herself? She sure as hell didn’t hand them back to me, the person who paid for them.
So I want to know. What was wrong with the cookies? Where are they now? And why did I have to find out about this whole mess from my daughter instead of her teacher? Hmmmm? Let me tell you something. Come Monday afternoon, when I arrive to pick up Cassie, I am going to find out the answers to those questions, and then regardless of what happened to the cookies, Ms. D is going to say thank you to Cassie for bringing them in, especially if those cookies got eaten by the staff instead of the children they were meant for. And if Ms. D doesn’t say thank you to Cassie, then one of the pre-school administrators WILL because I’m tired of this garbage, and Ms. D is going to find that out in no uncertain terms.
I’ll let you know how it goes…