Thursday, October 29, 2009

This is the problem, see

I have a difficult child in one of my classes. He's seven years old, and for purposes of this blog, let's call him Nero. Difficulty paying attention, loud, fidgety, doesn't follow directions, and obstinate. OBSTINATE. Every so often I get a child who does not respond to any method of getting him to change his mind. Nero is this child.

Imagine the scenario: Class is just beginning, and everyone filters in, chitting and chatting and being little kids. Nero sits in the same seat he usually sits in, a spot that is designated by the regular teacher in that room as the "leader seat." The table leader sits in this seat. The kids give the seat special reverence and everyone wants to sit there. Louis*, another little boy at that table, asked me if he could sit in the leader seat this week, since Nero sat there the last two weeks. I politely asked Nero to move, and explained that it was fair.

He said no.

I asked him to move, less politely. He said no. This went on for at least a couple of MINUTES, because I'll be damned if I was going to let this child break me. The level of attitude was astounding. I've never met a child so stubborn. And then he said the one thing that made me understand him.

"When I'm at home, I get to do whatever I want."

Well, GEE. Ain't that just great. Dear Nero's parents: Your kid is an asshole. He disrupts the class, he's rude, he has no concept of proper behavior, and it's all your fault. Thank you.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Chill the fuck out!, Part 2

Dear Teacher:

Thank you for letting us use your room for our program. I understand that allowing a group of children and a person you don't know into your meticulously-designed classroom. Any number of things could happen. Items could go missing from children's desks. Projects could be messed up. Books can be moved. A mess could be left all over the place. All of these things have happened in the past because children don't know how to keep their hands to themselves when they see something exciting, and very often the instructor doesn't catch it. Sometimes the instructor doesn't understand how to properly clean up a room.

I received a call about your room being disrupted, that some xylophones were all rattled and knocked over. We discussed that if this happened the day before, it was not my class. I made it clear to my students that they are not allowed to touch any of the musical instruments when not supervised by the music teacher. I have the fear of God put into me about this, and I also know what it would be like to go into my workplace and have all my stuff moved or disrupted. If they knocked things over while getting their backpacks, I didn't see it, and I am very sorry. I will have them put their backpacks somewhere else.

But you sat in on my class to use your computer. I understand you might have work to do, but that freaks me out. I was expecting a phone call to the office for one reason or another, because our classes don't run the way yours do. At the start of class, the kids came in to put their backpacks down. One of the kids went to get something from his backpack, which he'd put behind the piano. As he bent over, his butt touched some of the keys and made a noise.

You RACED across the room in three steps to give him a verbal whipping, the likes of which I don't think I have EVER seen. It was an accident. Everyone who saw it knew it was an accident. He told you it was an accident. Holy. Fucking. Crap.

The more I work in elementary schools, the more I think that every person there needs a lot more vacation time. Or an in-school massage parlor... or an open bar.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Chill the fuck out!

Dear Parents:

I am trained to handle your kids. I am also trained to handle the materials in my programs. I understand that you love and want to protect your kids, but where the fuck are your brains? Apparently, when I say this:

"This is dry ice! It's frozen carbon dioxide and it's much, much, much colder than regular ice. That's why I'm wearing gloves - because if I don't wear any gloves, the dry ice will cause frostbite! So it's very important that you don't touch this! I'm going to put this in some hot water. You can touch the gas over the cauldron, and if your hands accidentally skim the surface of the water, that's okay! Just don't put your hands in the water and reach in! Remember, don't touch the ice!"

SOME of you hear this:

"This is dry ice! It's super awesome! Look at it! Why don't you touch it? Why don't you reach into that cauldron and grab that block of dry ice! It's totally awesome! Yeah, frostbite rules! Safety? WHO CARES! I'm not your parent! I don't care about your wellbeing at all!"

Are you serious?

This has not only happened to me, but several other instructors as well, and not just with dry ice. We give perfectly responsible warnings. We watch your kids. And then you call the office and say we're irresponsible and are putting your kids in danger.

A former coworker of mine told me last night that he went to a birthday party, for which he had left a voice mail confirmation call the day before, saying "Hi, this is Jake*, and I'm doing your party..." Et cetera. He arrived, only to have the parent blockade the door after he said his name was Jake. "THE VOICE MAIL SAID YOUR NAME WAS JAMES!" She wouldn't let him in because she misheard his name. Freaked the hell out, argued, until he could repeat his voice message verbatim.

Between this and the peanut panic, my brain could explode from all the tension. I know you love your kids. I know the media scares the shit out of you people. But honestly? Chill out. Chill. Out. I can't take your paranoid insanity anymore.

If only all kids worked like you do

When it comes to teaching, some techniques work on some kids better than others. I can teach one class one way, and the next day none of those techniques will work. It depends on the ages, the interest level, and the area where the school is. I have an amazing charter school that I go to - I have twenty-three children and they're angels. I have another class of twenty-three children the same age and they are monsters. I can't even wrap my head around how to take care of them. I know that they need to have lots of hands-on work, but part of my job is helping them LEARN. The kids don't shut up. They are impossible to quiet down, and it's impossible to have a discussion with them. They don't follow directions. They talk back. They destroy equipment for fun. They fight with one another and don't know how to share. This isn't the first class I've had like this, where they're completely unmanageable.

Unfortunately, my workplace doesn't believe these places exist. We're trained to use a series of techniques to get kids interested, to discipline them. All kids, they say, will respond eventually. You can get any class quiet. This isn't true, I'm sorry. This is complete bullshit. When you have twenty-three kids who all decide they want to talk over you? They're going to talk over you, no matter what you do. I don't know where it went wrong. Did I at some point make the one misstep that causes them to disrespect me? Once you do that, you can't get it back. On the other hand, I'm also convinced they're just bratty. Any class that has the majority of kids coming up to me and saying, "What are we taking home today?" and holding out their grabby sticky hands is a class that's going to suck.

I've been told that one way of dealing with problem children is to give them something productive to do, or make them a special helper. Sometimes this works. Most of the time it doesn't, particularly when you have a kid who's just so full of bitch attitude that you want to hit him. My other problem with it is that it sends a message to the other kids that bad behavior is rewarded. Sure, it redirects them, but it makes the other kids think they won't be special helpers unless they are jerks.

I have a six-year-old named Moses* at one of my classes. He's incredibly difficult and disruptive in a class where no one is over six. Most kids that age tend to listen to me and follow rules. They haven't figured out how to be rebellious. But Moses is wild. It's all innocent, but he's just so darn annoying and disruptive to the other kids. He was messing up equipment and keeping his group from doing a task, so I had him sit out for a few minutes and had a talk with him. When he came back, he suddenly turned into a master architect. He built a massive and sturdy and beautiful sculpture out of marshmallows and toothpicks. He was quiet, he respected the equipment, and it took him forever to leave because he wanted to keep working.

I love him.

As a rule, this task tends to make kids really happy. Some of the sculptures are epic. I naturally assumed that when I got to my out-of-control class, they'd all respond like Noah. After a long fight to get them to listen, they'd quiet down and love it. They didn't. Instead I ended up with kids squishing marshmallows, begging to eat marshmallows, getting toothpicks sticky and sticking them to their faces, and ending up with white gook all over their hands. These kids are seven, eight, nine years old. My five-year-olds with no knowledge of geometry or physics could do this without making a disgusting sticky mess. What the fuck?

Monday, October 19, 2009

FYI, Kids Aren't Little Adults

A trend that I noticed at the school I worked at--and, for that matter, a trend with many other teachers/professionals/whatever--is the assumption that children should behave like little adults.


Kids don't behave like little adults, and their teachers, of all people, should know this. Children, especially younger ones, have trouble with the following:

1. Sitting still for long lengths of time.
2. Not talking for long lengths of time, especially when allowed to sit by friends.
3. Knowing when it is appropriate to ask questions and when it's appropriate to wait.
4. Staying calm when something fun is happening during the day, such as a holiday event or an extra long recess, etc.
5. Staying spotlessly clean.
6. Many other things.

I mean, come on. Kids are kids. They like to run and play and ask questions. They're curious--this goes away for most people as they get older. By and large, the kids I worked with were all still excited to learn... but they were equally excited to go outside and play with their friends at recess.

So no, children don't act like little adults. They won't sit idly through a boring presentation/lesson, they won't pretend to care about something that doesn't interest them, and they won't nod and understand if their school cuts their recess time.

Seriously. Just let kids be kids. Everyone needs a childhood.

Happy Halloween

Dear Party Mom:

I did your party on Saturday afternoon. You put me in the room the size of a bathroom and expected fourteen kids to cram in there with me and my table and all my equipment. You introduced me to your pets, you helped me out, you were friendly and chatty. The party was a lot of fun! The kids were enthralled and asked a lot of questions. I was surprised! It was a costume party, and all the kids were high on sugar and candy and the aftermath of going through a homemade haunted house. You tricked out the whole yard with Halloween activities. I don't even want to know how much it cost. Sure, a couple of the kids ducked out the back door to mess around in the yard for a couple of minutes when the dry ice went on for a little long----because most of the kids were really into blowing the carbon dioxide gas off of the cauldron. The kids had a great time despite being completely overstimulated with all these other things. Never once did I hear "I'm bored" or "When is it over?" or "I wanna make goo now" or "When are we gonna have fun?"----all of which I get from kids who can't sit still for an hour, no matter WHAT is going on.

I was feeling good when you helped me clean up. We talked about your pets, about my other job. You asked me about all the extra equipment in my kits, and I said I don't use it all for the show. I also held up a funny neon-green alien cup that has nothing to do with Halloween and said I don't know what this is for, because ... I don't. We laughed about it. You helped me carry my things to my car, you asked me how long I've been doing this. I told you two years, and I haven't done a Halloween party in a while. You know, a while, because it's Halloween. And it's seasonal. I don't get to do them often. But I'd just done one a few hours before.

You tipped me over thirty dollars, and I went home feeling like my work for the day had been completed with satisfaction.

So it really surprised me when my boss called me today to let me know that you'd called the office. You told him that you weren't satisfied with the party. You said that the kids were bored. You said I didn't know my equipment, and that the company gave her someone inexperienced because I haven't done the Halloween party in a long time. You said I seemed dissatisfied with the equipment.

But you said I was nice. So thumbs up to you.

My boss called me to yell at me today. My boss made me cry because of what you said. Because I thought I poured my heart into this performance, and I thought we were innocently chatting. I thought you were happy. You seemed happy. The kids seemed really happy. Everyone seemed happy. So I was shocked. Really. And betrayed. And offended that you would take the offhand things I said while cleaning up after the party and use it as ammunition against me for no apparent reason. You didn't want a refund, you didn't want to make me send back my tip. You made a point to tell my boss that you tipped me very well.

I don't know what your reasoning was. But my boss isn't mad at me, so you know. He yelled at me and I explained what I said, and he's convinced my version of events is correct. Do you want to know why? I've been there two years. Only one other performer has been there longer than me. We have a high turnover rate. Most performers don't last two months. They come in, thinking it's easy. They can't handle it. They walk out without finishing their afterschool sessions. They flake out. They balk. They run. They can't handle the kids. They can't handle the equipment. They can't handle the responsibility of getting places on time, planning itineraries, customizing performances for different groups and ages, memorizing scripts, being able to improvise, disciplining children in a school setting, keeping kids controlled in a birthday party setting, making confirmation calls to parents, making sure payments are made and delivered, keeping track of equipment, taking care of equipment, lugging equipment and loading and unloading and setting up and cleaning up and doing it all with energy, ease, enthusiasm, and grace.

You didn't get an inexperienced performer, lady. You got one of only three or four performers able to do the Halloween specialty party. At the party before yours, I was told by parents that they'd seen other performers from my company and I was head and shoulders above the rest. You got the best of the best. You know why? Because I give a damn. Because what you said to my boss, even when he wasn't angry at me, made me cry for half an hour. Because I felt betrayed by you. Because I don't just brush this shit off, take my thirty dollar tip, and go on to another day at the races. I care. I care about you, I care about your kids, and I care about giving you the best damn party I can. And when you're not happy, I don't sleep.

So in the end, my boss is right: I won't be chatting up customers again. It may be friendly, but I don't know what you're really hearing.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Too many

Parents, when did it become acceptable to have twenty-five five-year-olds at a birthday party? When?

You can't control them. I can't control them. Don't you invite 25 kindergarteners to a birthday party, give them snacks and cake and sugar, hop them up on Pin the Tail on the Donkey, give them to ME, and then tell ME that I did not control the kids. There are, like, fifteen of you hanging out in the back and you drank your beers and wine coolers and didn't lift a finger. They're five. I'm sorry. They can't sit for an hour. Forty minutes in, they're squirming. I should know this. No, I do know this. But you paid for an hour and if I come in under time you'll kill me. Or worse, not tip me.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

99 pink balloons

If you read my post about the staggering differences between boys and girls, then you'll be surprised to know that yesterday I had two boys---TWO boys!---specifically request to be given pink balloons.

Two boys wanted pink balloons.


There is hope.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

They can be taught!

I don't know what it is about electrical circuits that make kids go nuts, but they had the best time today. All of the kids were given a board with a battery compartment, a light bulb, a buzzer, and a switch, and they had to use wires to light the bulb, sound the buzzer, etc. I gave them a few directions and then just ... let them have at it. Some groups did well and kept experimenting, some had difficulty... and two children stayed after for fifteen minutes while their moms waited, gathering up wires and hooking them to the board. Eventually, with about ten wires and a lot of jerry-rigs, they got the switch to turn the light AND buzzer on and off simultaneously. They were so proud of themselves, it was unbelievable. Hell, I was impressed. I can barely hook the thing up to get the light to go on.

Things may suck a lot of the time, but it's so worth it for moments like these.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Mr. J

Okay, so I've been absent from posting for a while - my laptop died suddenly, and I had to replace it. So now I have a shiny new Mac that will be fab for updating blogs. :)

Anyway, last time I posted, I told you about Mr. A and his behavioral problems in school; this time, let's talk about Mr. J.

Mr. J was a pre-school kid, though he was in the Kindergarten prep class. The kids in this class are students who were just slightly too young to start Kindergarten during the current school year - maybe they missed the cut off date by a month or two in either direction (a lot of parents don't want their child to be the youngest one in their grade level, so choose instead to keep them home for an extra year, making them one of the older ones in their grade with the hopes of turning them into a social and academic leader). Mr. J was five and big for his age... not overweight, just tall and made of solid wiry muscle.

He was also extremely hyperactive. Like Mr. A, he was fine (for the most part) when his parents were there, but as soon as they left he went nuts. Mary, his teacher, worked hard to keep him occupied, and most of the time it worked just fine. However...

There were times when he had "episodes," or as they would say on the late great Wonderfalls, "a 'sode." These episodes were basically times when Mr. J lost it. It was never about anything big, always something little. One time he had a complete breakdown because his turn was done with the paints and the easel. Another time, because he didn't want to go out to the playground... or didn't want to come in. All kinds of things.

But there was one particular time when he had a 'sode that's worth noting. Lots of kids can get violent--usually it's towards other kids, and their teachers break them up, and by doing so the kids start to learn not to fight, and they develop social skills and all that. In high school you have to worry about students attacking each other more dangerously and sometimes threatening teachers, but Mr. J, this hyper little five year old, decided to take on Mary.

It was late in the afternoon, and the day had been extremely uneventful. The students were divided between two tables, working on a coloring project to help develop reading and writing skills, and Mr. J decided he didn't want to do it. I was working with a little girl who needed help writing something, and all of the students were so engrossed in their work that we didn't even notice right away that Mr. J had left the table and Mary had followed him.

Next thing I know, Mr. J is underneath my table, crawling between the students' feet and giggling this high-pitched laugh. Mary followed him around the table, spouting off typical teacher sayings: "Come out right now, Mr. J," and "if you can't control yourself, we need to go to the think spot."

When Mr. J refused to come out, Mary gave up and started to walk away--so Mr. J reached out from under the table, grabbed her ankle, and pulled her off her feet to the ground. She fell against the other table, knocked over a chair, and landed hard on her hands and knees.

And did I mention that Mary was pregnant? Yeah.

I have never seen a classroom of young children go so quiet so fast. Fifteen four- and five-year-olds sat in stunned silence with their mouths open. Mary ended up man-handling Mr. J out from beneath the table and carrying him by the underarms out of the room, Mr. J screaming all the while. She took him to the neighboring classroom, whose students were already dismissed, and dropped him off with the teachers there, who had no luck calming him down either.

When Mr. J's father arrived about ten minutes later, he was completely contrite and kept asking for ice cream and a new toy.

Just to put it in perspective, the previous school year Mr. J had another tantrum and kicked one of the other teacher's aides--we'll call her Ginny--in the chest so hard that she had a foot-shaped brownish-green bruise for a month.

So the lesson is this: parents--your children behave differently at school. If a teacher has done something to discipline your child because their behavior is out of hand, please help reinforce the lesson at home. Don't attack the teacher and insist your child is an angel and everything is the teacher's fault. You're entrusting your child to this teacher for the length of a typical work day. During that time, he or she is in charge of instructing your child in academics and in social skills... and if a child is acting up, not doing his or her work, or anything else that happens to be unacceptable, the teacher needs to take some sort of action without the threat of being fired because the parents think their child is the next coming of Christ.


Anyway, that's the story of Mr. J. He was pretty extreme, as was Mr. A. You wouldn't think pre-schoolers could do so much damage, but apparently they can! I'd be really interested to see these two boys in fifteen years to see how they turn out.


Things I hate about your school.

Dear School Secretary:

My job isn't easy. I don't get to go to work in the same place every day. I travel long distances with heavy equipment, lugging it across parking lots and down hallways, usually to the detriment of all of the muscles in my back. I go new places and have to talk to new people all the time. I deal with about a hundred kids per afterschool session. Every school has its own rules, idiosyncrasies, and insane rituals, which I have to memorize and follow. Here's a list of the things I hate but have deal with, smiling.

1. Parking lots with parent pickups.
Some schools have nice big parking lots and lots of spaces. However, when I arrive or an afterschool program, I usually find that I have to beat the parent rush. Not all schools have this, but a massive chunk of them do. Parents line the streets like vultures, waiting in their minivans and SUVs with stickers that say "My Child Is An Honor Student At _____" and logos with the school mascot. The elementary school mascot. The cars are lined up as close to the school as possible, and parking is not allowed except for the back of the lot----and that's if you can find a space. Sometimes when I have a long walk I'm able to drop my kit off at the door, park, and then come back for it, but not when there's a line of cars at the entrance... I know I love a good quarter-mile walk with my good old bin. (I wish my hand truck wasn't broken. I wish my job paid me enough to purchase a new hand truck that wouldn't break. Even so, even if I HAD a hand truck, your asshole school would have stairs, and lots of them. Handicap access? What?)

2. Prison lockdown.
I don't know when this started happening. Schools weren't like this when I was a kid. Doors are locked during school hours and in order to get into the building, you need to ring the doorbell and be buzzed in. I understand why, what with all the loonies walking around and wandering into elementary schools every day (tch). Still, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, I suppose, except that everyone knows that the real loonies wait around in vans outside the school.

3. Visitor badges.
I get it. I do. The people who aren't on the staff at the school need to be accounted for. They can't just wander about willy-nilly. I don't mind signing the log. However, a lot of schools use sticky-label badges to mark their visitors, and they don't stick to my polyester lab coat. My lab coat has the name of my company on it and my professor name. I guess if I were a complete skeez I would wear this around when abducting kids, but ... no. Anyway, it gives you peace of mind and I'm glad to comply, but that damn sticky badge doesn't stick to my coat.

4. No prep time.
I don't think you get it. I don't arrive half an hour early to sit in the office and dick around. I arrive half an hour early to get into my classroom and set up, so that I don't waste time when the kids arrive. I need to have things set up and organized so the class goes smoothly, so the kids are happy, so the parents are happy, and so the school is happy. I need this time. Everything I have is shoved (neatly) in a bin. I have to take stuff out and find it and lay it out. I have to mix chemicals and lay out materials. If you tell me I have a 3:15 class and I can't get into my room until 3:10 when I arrived at 2:45? You were told I needed 30 minutes in an empty room. You knew this and you complied. Don't give me doe eyes and act like those five minutes are a big inconvenient gift you're giving me.

5. Earlybirds.
I need time to prep. Sometimes I have to set up secret things that the kids aren't allowed to see. Don't tell me I have to set up in front of the kids. They touch things, they crowd me, they ask questions. Set-up and clean-up are my zen private time. I'm not a babysitter, and I can't set things up if you give me a high-traffic area... say, a classroom that still has kids in it (which only pisses off the teacher), or the cafeteria, where all the kids are waiting for dismissal or other programs. No. No, no, no. I don't want to sound like a diva, but would you like it if you got to your office in the morning and had a bunch of kids talking and staring and trying to touch your stuff? I didn't think so.

6. Miscommunication.
School offices have a lot to deal with. Between parents being obnoxious and teachers being whiny, a school secretary has a lot on his or her plate. But you know what? Y'all need to fucking talk to one another. The principal needs to write sticky notes for his staff and let them know that I'm coming and where I need to be. Write it down somewhere. Put it on a calendar. This Professor gets cranky when you send her to the wrong room----the cafeteria, full of kids, with two other programs going on----force her to set up, and then have the principal redirect her to the proper room with five minutes to set up. That's like a triple-whammy and this Professor has a tantrum. Privately. Because I smile through it and hide the fact that I'm shaken and frazzled.

7. Your attitude.
Just... seriously. Would it kill you to be nice? Your job sucks, I know. It's got to be a bitch to work in an elementary school all day, every day, and take phone messages. But unlike you, school secretary, I don't live down the road, and I don't just amble in at 6:30 with my coffee and sit down and get ready to make miserable people more miserable until 3 or 4 PM. I'm sure your job warrants that level of crankiness, but if I can drag a sixty-pound bin across a badly-placed parking lot, balance it to ring your buzzer, carry it into the office, sign in, put on a visitor badge, and then lug my kit down six hallways and up a flight of stairs only to have you tell me you had my classroom assignment wrong and that my kids are coming in early so now I have no time to set up and STILL have a fucking smile on my face, so can you.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Affiliate Blog!

Kait here, with an affiliate blog!

JL is my partner, my lady, my girl. She helps set up the programs that I work at. She deals with the parents while I deal with the kids. She sits in an office all day while I break my back dragging equipment around. She has a consistent location while I travel to the middle of nowhere.

Her blog is called Please Go To Voicemail, and I hope this will be the start of a long and fruitful blogging relationship.

If I had a nickel for every damn time...

News flash, children!

If I ask you a question and you have an answer, raise your hand. If you don't have an answer, don't raise your hand, because chances are, I will call on you.

Let's make this clear: the answer is not "I FORGET." The answer is NEVER "I FORGET" unless the question is "What happens when you get amnesia?"----and that is never the question.

The next time a child raises their hand with utmost enthusiasm and gives me an answer of "I forget," coupled with a giggle and snicker, which is then joined by all the giggles and snickers of all his little friends, this instructor is gonna have to open up a fresh can of whoop-ass. It is not the first time I have gotten this answer. In fact, I get an answer of "I forget" at least three times a week. Please. Stop laughing like it's the funniest thing you've ever heard. It's like you're the loser who just discovered LOLspeak and still thinks it's funny.

Also, I don't care if you're six. :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

I hope you hav a clazz, too, little lady.

My after-school programs started up again today. This particular kit is a stressful one to teach. Very hard to set up in a short amount of time, about 50 minutes of cleanup. Corrosive chemicals that the kids can't touch, so they're observing for most of the class and they hate it. Kids were good, all of them under 8 years old, so they got antsy about 40 minutes in. Antsy and hungry, which is to be expected given the fact that we're talking about kitchen chemistry today.

Feeling tired and a little frustrated, but that's how it goes. And it's all wiped away by the fact that I got this the moment this one girl walked into the class. A little card!



What's the deal, Dairy Council?

Don't get me wrong. I grew up drinking milk like a good child. I drank 4-7 glasses every day because that soon was the only thing I'd drink. I gave up milk a little over a year ago as part of several other health choices to shake up my diet. I read some books about the dangers of animal products and how they really ain't as good for you as the corporations would make it sound. I'm not going to go on a vegan rant here. I'm not that strict a vegan anymore, but the truth of it is, I learned a lot. Specifically, the way that the meat and dairy industries have essentially put substandard products into our school lunch programs.


So, on a fundamental level, it bothers me the way that milk is The Cafeteria Lunch Drink. Not only is it served, often without any other option for children who are allergic or lactose intolerant or being raised vegan or any other reason, but there are posters plastered all over the cafeteria. Images of popular children's icons (Miley Cyrus, the High School Musical cast, Shrek, etc) with milk mustaches with the phrase "Body by Milk" line the walls in almost any cafeteria. Now, I understand that if you're raising your child in a non-dairy way, you just send lunch with your child and forget about the school lunch. However, it's another situation where I feel like it's blatant propaganda. You must drink milk or you will not be healthy. (This, by the way, is not remotely true.) You will also not be cool. (This is also not remotely true, though fewer studies have been done.) I went to a school the other day where the only decoration in the cafeteria consisted of milk posters and magazine ads. Plastering the walls.

I found one school that didn't have one single milk poster. Only one, and it struck me so strange to not see a milk mustache that I actually wondered if I was in the cafeteria. I wondered if it had to do with the fact that this school had a child with such a deadly milk/peanut allergy that the child actually had to be partitioned off with cones so none of the other children went near him. I am dead serious. That's a whole other zany rant altogether.

I guess I just have a problem with advertising-as-decor. Children don't understand that it's an ad. It's the same as putting up posters for Coke or for a snack or for some hot new toy. I don't care who they have on the ads. They're still ads, trying to sell a product and convince a child that the product is not only good, but essential to your diet and level of coolness. It just skeevs me out.

Friday, October 2, 2009

I am sure I would agree if I knew her, young fellow.

Overheard today. Said by a second grade boy:

"I spitted on your girlfriend, okay?! I hate Amanda! She's so fake!"