Yesterday, my youngest two children participated in Fall Activities at their school. (That is Halloween to everyone else.) The last hour and 10 minutes of their day included a parade where they could wear costumes and a classroom “party”. Now, I use that word loosely. The parties for each grade level are decided by a committee of four or five women. They choose the craft that the kids work on and the games that will be played. The food at the party is brought from the child’s house and has to be a healthy snack. Doesn’t this sound fun so far?

At the Winter Party last year (read Christmas, Hanukkah, or any other religious party of the season), I spoke up to the principal about my daughter’s teacher not allowing my daughter to eat the cupcake I sent with her. I was very verbal about it on Facebook and although I had a lot of local support, it got me nowhere with the school. Even though I was the mother, those were the rules. The rules were made to protect the children with food allergies. I could almost believe it, except for the fact that the school sponsors “unhealthy snack day” and that same cupcake would be allowed. The principal could not explain to me why those children with allergies were safe from the cupcake on those days.

So at the Spring Party that same year, I was the “head room mom” for my son’s class. They needed someone to step up for just that party. I volunteered because at least I could set up the planning meetings to meet my schedule. The actual head room mom for the class gave me the names of the other head room moms in second grade in case we wanted to plan things together. An email was sent to me by one of the other head room moms. She asked our opinion on some craft ideas. I, of course, gave my two cents, talked to the other room moms in my class and offered additional ideas. The other two head room moms never replied to all so I have no idea what they thought. The next email from this mom told me every class would be doing the same craft (a sun catcher). I told her that our class was doing the kite. She then told me that all the classes always do that same craft at the school. Having two older children, I knew this wasn’t the case and explained that much to her. After going back and forth, she finally told me to do whatever I wanted. Thank you. Apparently, this pissed her off more than I thought it would.

So the next week, I happened to have bunco. I vented about this story to my friends. (Isn’t that what bunco is for?) Half way through my story, a friend says, “Oh my God! It was you.” Turns out, my friend and this woman were both on the PTA board and she actually complained to the principal about me. Why? Because I wanted our class to be individual? The principal, remembering me from the Winter party, actually agreed with this woman.

And that brings us back to the Fall party this year. I was told by this year’s head room mom that every class did not only the same craft, but the same games as well. Creativity and individuality was no longer needed. I helped out in my son’s class again, in the same grade as Mrs. Everyone is the Same’s child. The games they picked were so lame that the kids were even bored. Tell me if this would be fun for your 3rd grader – ring toss on a witches hat, race the mini pumpkin around the witches hat by pushing it with a broom and pumpkin bowling with water bottle pins. We rotated around the room playing each game for about 15 minutes. Ugh! It was painful.

I picked my 5th grader up from her class when it was over. I asked where her craft was. She said, “We had to donate it to the old people.” Apparently, they made a “Happy Fall” card and a wreath for a local senior home. Nice thought, but maybe you could have prepared the kids. My daughter was disappointed that she couldn’t keep hers.

Needless to say, I was not picked to help in my 5th graders class this year. Coincidence? Really, it is fine with me. I don’t think I want to be a part of something that kills creativity and originality. It goes against what I am teaching my kids and what is actually out there in the real world.

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