Monday, May 25, 2009

Tommy's Presentation Day

My son Tommy goes to something called Language Lab in the afternoons. It’s a place that helps him with his speech. Sometimes he doesn’t pronounce things clearly enough. I understand him almost all the time but that’s because he came from my uterus. Anyhow, they were having a Presentation Day and parents were invited to come.

Natalie was thrilled to see her brother. The second we walked in the classroom she yanked her hand from mine and rushed to Tommy.

“Bruh-dder!” she shrieked. “Bruh-dder!”

Tommy was sitting in a row with his other classmates—Language Lab has about 7 other students in it. He looked a little embarrassed when Natalie hurled her tiny body at his chest. He sort of patted her hair and muttered out a hello. He loves his sister, I know he does, but he never seems overly thrilled with her. He claims she’s too loud which is amusing to me because Tommy has also been blessed with a fantastic set of lungs.

“Tommy’s Mom!” a familiar voice shrieked.

I cringed.

Oh no.

The voice belonged to Blake, the annoying kid who lives on our street and can’t take no for an answer. He’s always at our door and he once tattled on Tommy for jump roping. He looked all serious with his bug eyes as he said, “Could you tell Tommy to stop jump roping? I don’t like it.”

Plus, the kid always calls me Tommy’s Mom even though I’ve asked him to call me Amber. I guess I should tell him to call me Miss Amber but Miss Amber reminds me of an old lady who makes cheese.

“Tommy’s Mooooom!” Blake’s irritating voice called out again. “It’s me! Blake!” He waved his arm in the air as though I completely forgot who he was.

Sorry Blake. I don’t have that kind of luck.

“Tommy’s Mom!” Blake continued and I debated taking off my sock and stuffing it in his mouth.

I forced a smile and waved hello as I picked up Natalie and took a seat behind Tommy.

“You could sit behind ME, Tommy’s Mom,” Blake said grandly as though this were a huge prize.

The forced smile remained on my face. My cheeks started to hurt. “Actually,” I said in what I hoped was a polite voice. “I’m going to sit behind Tommy.”

Blake looked confused. He’s the only kid I know who wouldn’t comprehend that line.

“Why?” he wondered.

Because Tommy came out of my crotch and you didn’t! I wanted to snap.

Instead I said, “Because Tommy is my son.” And praise Jesus that you aren’t.

Blake opened his mouth to say something else but I leaned over to Tommy and quickly asked how he was doing.

Tommy shrugged. “Fine.” Then his face brightened. “I get to read the slide first!”

Huh? Read what slide?

Then I realize that there was a slide show set up front with the title “We Love Fruits and Vegetables!” on the front.

What in the world was this teacher teaching the students?

I’m kidding.

But is it wrong that I counted how many students there were (8) and then started wondering how long they would be reading for? No offense but watching kids read is about as fun as scrubbing limescale off the bathtub. Plus I wasn’t sure if Natalie would sit through that.

A few more parents filtered in and then the teacher clapped her hands and said it was time to begin.

Tommy instantly jumped from his seat and marched up to the front of the room and boldly took the microphone. He read easily from the slide about liking broccoli, cauliflower and some other vegetable that eludes me but I can assure you tastes like feet. Then he talked about growing stuff in a garden when we lived in England and I had no idea what he was talking about. What garden? What universe would I have a garden? Did the poor guy mistake that hunk of dirt that grew absolutely nothing for a garden?

Still, I watched him proudly and was surprised that he didn’t even seem shy being in front of the class. When I was in school and had to talk in front of the class I’d panic and would practically break out into hives. But Tommy acted like it was no big deal and only stumbled over one word (scrumptious which is not a word I’d use to describe broccoli.....)

When he was finished it got boring. I tried to look interested as a kid talked about how delicious tomatoes were.

I started to daydream.

Lalala....chocolate....cake....buttercream frosting....LITTLE DEBBIE SNACK CAKES.....

Then I’d come to when Natalie would slide off her chair and try to escape. So I’d grab the back of her shirt and pull her to me and start daydreaming again.

Ice cream....Zero bars...John Krasinski....Reeses Peanut Butter Cups....isn’t it ironic that I’m thinking about junk food when the class is talking about fruits and vegetables? I must be a messed up adult.

When the fifth kid started to read my eyes started to grow heavy. The room was dark and I just couldn’t muster the interest to focus on a love story about carrots. And some kids read incredibly slow. Like this:

When the last kid finished reading I started clapping enthusiastically and realized no one else was clapping.

Oh. Oops.

Then the kids moved onto a play entitled Fast Food Gulp Gulp. I got excited and started to think, Finally, a play that doesn’t bash fast food! Obviously I get that fast food is greasy and disgusting but if you eat it in moderation it’s not so bad.

This is Tommy reciting his lines. He was a customer ordering a delicious burger. The hat made me think of Crocodile Dundee.

But then as the play continued it turned out that the moral WAS that fast food was disgusting and will give you a stomach ache.

Then the restaurant that was once serving delicious pizza and burgers and chicken turned into a health food joint.

Blah. It was probably one of those types that blend up grass and roots to cleanse your system. I'm sorry but I will NEVER drink grass and roots. My system will just be forever messed up.

This is Tommy checking out the health food place. He seemed as baffled as I was and looked like he wanted to ask, "Um, where'd the burgers go?"

After the play was over it was time to pass out reading awards.

Tommy read the second most books in the class. He read a total of 56 books. This one kid read over 200 and I think he was totally lying. Please. It was on the tip of my tongue to shout, "LIAR!" when he went up to get his award but I did not.

And then when that was over it was time for refreshments.

Guess what was out?

You guessed it.

Fruits and vegetables.

You know, when I was growing up I remember cupcakes and cookies at these sort of occasions. But then you have the parents that whine and complain about health food and they spoil it for the rest of us. Sure, have your fruits and vegetables but don't skip out on the cupcakes or the cookies!

Now, there were some cookies up there but they were the granola kind with raisins. I'm a firm believer of the law that says that you do NOT put raisins in cookies.

Tommy and Natalie both wanted brocolli (!) and I nibbled on some tomatoes and pretended it was a hunk of chocolate.

Then after that it was over. The kids had prepared some plants and the teacher handed me Tommy's plant.

"It still has to harden and it still needs to be cared for a few days," she told me.

Huh? Harden. CARED FOR? Does she not get that I KILL plants? Not on purpose, mind you, but I've never been able to keep one alive for more than a few days.

I gave her a blank look and said, "So...I water it?"

She gave me a perplexed look and went, "Yes...." as though she were speaking to a complete idiot.

I held the tiny plant that was in a decorated cup for a few seconds and then forced a smile on my face.

"Great!" I said and hoped that I sounded excited. "I' great care of this!" I twirled the cup in the air and nearly dropped it. The teacher sucked in her breath sharply.

"Mommy. Let ME hold it. You'll BREAK it," Tommy lectured, taking his beloved plant from me.

Oh. Sorry.

I grabbed Tommy's backpack and thanked the teacher and was about to head out the door when Blake the World's Most Annoying Kid called out to me.

"Tommy's Mom!"

I was tempted to keep going and pretend that I hadn't heard him. But Blake's parents were there and I didn't want them to think I was a total kid hater. So I stopped, turned around and gave him another forced grin.

"Yes, Blake?"

"Do you want to see the picture I made?" Blake wondered hopefully. He had a picture in his hands and actually, I DIDN'T want to see the picture he made but instead I nodded.

He turned the picture around and I couldn't quite make out what it was. It looked like a blob. With eyes and, what in the world...horns? Thankfully I speak parent and I know exactly what to say when you don't know what a kid has drawn.

"It's lovely. TELL me about it!"

See, you always have to say tell me about it because if you go, "What in the CRAP is that?" you'll insult the artist and then they might cry and then you'll feel bad so trust me, it's just easier to ask them about the picture.

Of course, if the kid is as annoying as Blake you might be sitting there for ten minutes as he explains every.single.detail.

"And this is his eyeball for him to, you know see. This is grass down here for him to, you know, eat..."

Thankfully I've been blessed with an impatient two-year-old so Natalie shrieked and pointed to the door.

"GO HOME!" she boomed.

I pretended to be all sad that I wasn't able to sit through Blake's explanation of his creature's digestive tracts but in reality I was all, "Oh bless you, Natalie. Bless you."

Tommy now has two weeks of school left. I'm a little afraid. It means I'll probably have to see Blake on a daily basis.

Help me.


  1. Two weeks later...

    Blake: "Sooooo, Tommy's Mom, this creature's digestive tract actually uses a certain bile that... "


  2. how hilarious. i would be dreaming of the zero bars & reece's cups myself. my sister once asked me what she could make for my niece's classroom party that was not candy, cookies, etc. she was thinking maybe some fruit that would be good for them. I was like "whatever, just make sure you bring some chocolate to dip it in"! LOL

  3. I have a Blake! His name is Troy! I would rather have a pap smear than to hear him calling!
    Your kids are too cute!

  4. Isn't that whole health food kick annoying in schools? Candy used to be my favorite classroom bribe when I was teaching and then the CA went and banned teachers from giving it out. What?!

  5. Awesome post.

    Albeit kind of sad because you know that Blake's parents don't pay attention to him at home.

  6. I have no patience for the Blakes of the world. None at all.

    Congrats to Tommy for doing such a great job!

  7. This hilarious! I came by way of Baja's blog.

  8. First - what a cutie!

    Also? When we were camping this weekend? My BIL thought it would be fun to let the 8 kids with us tell ghost stories. It was similarly tortuous. I just may blog about it later this week...

  9. Way to go, Tommy!

    And I daydream about John Krasinski at random times during the day, too...

  10. Oh man summer is going to suck for you with Blake around all the time. Fingers crossed that he will go to summer school or at least camp. ;)

    Don't worry, you are not the only plant killer. I am one too.

  11. I know... those school presentations get longer... and longer... and longer.... throwing in the fruits and vegetables is a wicked, cruel trick. There needs to be extra sugar in the snack so the parents can fortify themselves!

  12. amber, i gave you an award.
    it's in the entry on the top of my blog...first one.

    by the way, i've heard those anti-barking collars work well for kids, too. :)

  13. HAHAHAHA. That was a really cute tale. I love the picture with the kids eating broccoli. What's the world coming to?

    Kinda scary about Blakey boy, but maybe you guys could leave town for the summer? If not, perhaps a quarantine sign on the front door?

  14. Gee, being a human sounds like hard work. Us hounds just give bark or a little nip if little pups are a bit annoying.

  15. Hey Tommy's mom...kaylees mom here...found you through Braja. :)

    We had a neighbor like this.....ughhh. I was SOOOOO happy when we moved. You'd think the MOTHER would correct the kid, but nope. This little neighbor of mine would also refer to her mother as 'Her'...i.e.

    "Did you ask your mom if you could come play?"

    "Yes, HER said I could".


  16. Oh my goodness.

    That is a lot of veggies and fruits to sit through.

    Good luck with the two weeks of school.

  17. I LOVED LOVED this
    because it is so true.
    Yes, how dull it is to sit through other people's children's performances.
    Just give me my own children's and maybe 2 others and then let me get the hell out of there.
    Of course I used to be polite.....
    but just like in the blog world, I like it when people
    STICK TO THE POINT and then stop.
    This goes for sermons and lectures too....
    but you could write a book and I would still enjoy it

  18. Hey...this is my first time here...what a cute blog!

  19. Ah, this was awesome. Simply awesome. I almost fell asleep with you during the slide show, of course, I think I'd be dreaming of a big fat juicy hamburger though.

  20. I am awful...but I hate a children's production of ANYTHING. And I am both a mom and a teacher! LOL!

  21. Chocolate can be grown and harvested, you know. Well, the cacao can... and you should live in a warm, tropical climate like the rainforest or Hawaii but still you can grow chocolate. And it's full of wonderful things like riboflavins and antioxidants and if you dip your strawberries in it and have a glass of red wine with it then you're about as healthy as you can get. I should know, this is what my 4th grader wrote about for her science project for the school's science fair. You shoulda been there... we had samples of many different kids of chocolate!

  22. yay for tommy! he is so cute. and, i hate to break it to you...but i think maybe blake has a crush on you! hehehe! i totally would have no patience with him either. i'm lucky if i have enough patience for my own children!

  23. you know i cant take care of plants either....once my older sister gave me an Ivy for my b-day...thought to basically i didnt get anything from her that year cause it was dead in a matter of weeks....i do still have the pot it came in hanging on the let her know...i kill plants!!

  24. You have me laughing out loud constantly... I read the letter post to my husband who is a Navy brat and understood it completely!

  25. It makes me sad that I don't have a toddler to help me out of situations I no longer wish to be a part of. Ah, the good ol' days..."She's getting a little fussy, so I've got to be running home now." People look at me so oddly when I say that about the twelve year old. Nobody thinks twice when you say it about a three year old!

  26. I actually feel kind of bad for Blake. He must not be getting a lot of attention at home.

    But I can say this, b/c he's not the one annoying me.

  27. Ok, Blake sounds friggin annoying I wish you would have really told him what you were thinking, ya know the whole Tommy coming out of your vagina thing. That was great!


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