Friday, November 30, 2007

Stuff they don't cover in the What to Expect Books

True confessions time: I own every parenting book ever written. Seriously, I just counted them and there are 47 of them. FORTY SEVEN. Everything from What to Eat when You're Expecting to What Your Fifth Grader needs To Know to Parenting through Crisis lined up neatly on my bookshelf.

Don't be too impressed, I haven't actually read any of them. I just hope to become a better mother through osmosis. Mostly I like to have them around so my kids think I know what I'm doing. Unfortunately by the time they can read the titles (1) they know better.

So basically they're there for emergency reference. And if any of my kids sticks a pea up their nose or loses a pet(2), I have the book to help me resolve the situation. But my kids are, well, my kids are unusual.

Last night I got a call from Jake's teacher. This was actually a huge surprise to me because Jake is my good kid. (3) After a few pleasantries, she got right down to business:

I'm afraid we have a problem with Jake. As you know, he's running for President. (4) And it's become a bit of an issue. The class has become distracted with his campaign. They want to have a dance, and they want to use school materials and they involved the Principal.

So here's the thing. None of my books cover this. I googled "What to do when your kid runs for US President and it bugs his teacher" Nada.
Jake and I had a talk about his campaign work being done at home and focusing on math and moon cycles and ancient Mali at school. But part of me is really annoyed by this. Jake is in a magnet program for gifted and talented kids, and his placement there is due in large part to his creativity. And here he's doing a creative project, using his free time to research politics and plan strategy and discuss real life things with his friends. He's even swapped his sweatpants for polo shirts and khakis. (5) It's not an obsession with Pokemon cards, for crying out loud.

Jake had a test last month where he needed to know things like what language the Algonquin Indians spoke. Post-SOLs (6)he will never need that information. But leadership skills and public speaking, I wish I had studied THAT in school. Jake loves school. I will be disappointed, no, scratch that, I will be pissed as hell if this changes that.

Maybe Border's has a copy of What to Expect When You Get Fed Up with the Public School System and all its Bullshit. I'll even read it this time.

How could you not vote for this kid?

1) And probably way way before
2) We don't have a pet.
3) Very important to label your kids, that's in one of my books, for sure.
4) Of the United States, not the school, btw.
5) I assumed for a girl, but no, he assures me it's for his campaign.
5) The test that kids in Virginia take at the end of the year.

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