Today Cannon and Carson came home from preschool with a homework project. As they emerged from the school bus I suspiciously eyed the neon-colored poster boards attached to the outsides of their backpacks and thought to myself: Oh, great. More homework for ME to do. The bus aide saw my sour expression and quickly tried to reassure me by saying, “Oh, I think it’s something they made already.” But, no.
The attached note read: “Dear Parents, Please take this opportunity to fill out this ‘All About Me’ poster with your child. Feel free to add likes dislikes other things about your child.” I pause to cringe at the heinous lack of punctuation in this letter from my sons’ educators. “Use whatever you would like to decorate the poster. Make it your own.” Make it my own? Or make it their own? Because whenever I have to do an art project for, er, I mean, with my sons I always have to color with my non-dominant hand to give it that preschooler effect.
I don’t know how to feel about any of this. My husband, an educator himself, thinks it’s great that they are holding our boys to the same standards as other kids their age. All kids have homework, right? And even typical kids get a lot of help from their parents in their early school years. I get that. However, the reality of our situation is that Cannon and Carson have zero natural interest in creating art on their own, and even rebel when it’s forced upon them. Coloring is done hand-over-hand (You will make something pretty for me, dammit!), if I can keep the crayons out of their mouths long enough, that is. I know it, the teachers know it, why are we pretending otherwise?
I made the freaking feathers for the Native American headdresses at Thanksgiving time, but I rebelled at Christmas time when the do-it-yourself gingerbread men came home, later insisting one had somehow gotten lost and the other torn in two (after we had beautifully decorated it, of course). I suppose I will actually have to do this one, and probably should give it a go of having the boys help me. I realize my cynicism does no one any good at times like these, but it’s just so hard to psych myself up sometimes.
Three days ago the temperature was in the high 70s and a neighborhood girl was going door-to-door selling lemonade. She was Adorable with a capital A, charming as all get-out, and a heck of a saleswoman. I bought a cup and felt happy for about 50 seconds, until I realized that I recognized her from having seen her getting dropped off by a school bus in front of her house everyday around 11:30 am. That meant, I suddenly registered, that she was a half-day Kindergartener and probably the same age as Cannon and Carson. As I contemplated this five year-old child’s impressive entrepreneurial skills, I heard my husband exclaim to one of our sons (while examining his backside), “Ah Jeez, when’re you gonna start crapping in the toilet, Son?!”
Um, yeah. Let’s just say, if they really want my sons to make these posters their own, they will be covered in bite marks, poop finger-painting, and smears of soynut butter. Come to think of it, that might just be the way to end these at-home art projects: let the boys truly make them their own!