Tuesday, September 30, 2008

well this explains a lot...

I had yet another late meeting in Marin last night (it's gala season!) and thus, swung by the folks. My mother, now semi-retired was desperate to know what I wanted for dinner.
"Oh, nothing. I'll be over late."
"Nonsense, what do you want?"
"Okay, well remember when we were kids and you'd make chicken breasts in mustard sauce?"
I arrived home to find my mother run to the kitchen and start sauteing things. Who is this woman? My whole life, my mother's been a workaholic, racing home from the FiDi in suits and impatience to pick up Alex and me, the last kids at Day Care. My mother has, God bless her, suffered through lots of tearful "You put work before me!" so I'm no longer allowed to give her shit about this, but as a kid, all I wanted was a mom in a minivan who was in the pick-up parking lot when the bell rang at 3pm, with cookies, juice boxes and low expectations. Well, shit, now I'm 30 and she's running all over the place changing sheets and making chicken and wanting to watch West Side Story with me at 11pm. Ugh, Donna Reed, give it a rest!
My folks shuffled off to bed, but only after they delighted in showing me Letterman mocking McCain on "the You Tube." I then ventured into the TV room and discovered my Baby Book. My mother dutifully kept track of my eating and movements and interests, while my father catalogued travels I don't remember and current fads, of them being his confused addition of "disco." Dad's kept up Alex and my Baby Books, with high school essays, report cards and Chronicle clippings. Shit, he might print this nonsense out and add it.
Anyway, I then discovered my pre-school progress reports.
Pre-school.
I would like to point out that this document is dated June 1983 and signed by some bitch named Kathleen. I would also like to point out that I was FIVE years old.
Five.
I attended Montessori school, where one of my apparent interests was "Study of Europe: food preparation, flags, etc."
Get a load of this (completely verbatim) progress report:
Social Skills:
1: (yeah, Kathleen numbered this shit) Beth has opened up her social life substantially this year. (I guess when I was four, I was a social pariah) She has become a well-accepted and well-liked member of the older children's social circle.
2: Beth has also been the idol of the younger girls, and has spent a great deal of time with them also. (Overuse of the world 'also', Kathleen.)
3: Beth got into social problems (here we go) over the semester when she would tend to over-indulge one younger girl with attention and ignore another. Beth likes being the center of attention at school (and beyond) and has to learn to be fair and kind, considering the feelings of all the members of the class instead of leaving some children feeling left out. (Pussies.) Often, Alexis C, Lexi, Heidi, Rebecca, etc. (etc.?) would compete (hell yeah) for Beth's favors, and she was totally in a position of power with their feelings. (Again, I was five. God, I musta been awesome.)
4: This power as a leader with younger children can be focused on developing Beth's leadership with children her own age. (Ouch.) Then there will be more give and take on an equal basis.
In response, 25 years later, I have this to say to Kathleen:
1: Fuck you, you house-boat hippie. It's called moxie. Look into it.
2: I was sick of those goddamn carob chips so I apparently gave 4 year olds self-esteem problems. Big deal.
3: Fair and kind? I'm sorry. I'm too busy studying Europe and being unable to relate to people "my own age." Which is motherfucking five.
4: These problems obviously continue onto kindergarten, where we awere graded by the highly complex system wherein; E: Excellent, S: Satisfactory and N: Needs Improvement.
Needless to say, nary an "N" touched my report card.
Prints last name? E.
Days of the week? E.
Likes to sing with others? E.
Folks, all I'm looking at is a sea of "E's." But wait! What's this? An occasional "S?" OMG, in what subject, pray tell!?!?!
~Sportsmanship
~Fair Play
~Application of Principals to Social Situations
~Listens to/follows Directions
~Self Control
~Oh, and large and small muscle coordination, whatever the hell that means.
Jesus Christ.
Should I ever be cursed with the dreadful and unnecessary burden of children, I will refuse to subject them to this bizarre and judgemental environment of misguided educators. They can get that crap for free at home school...

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are on a roll.

Brett said...

When I was 5, I believe my primary focus was on running into things.

alex said...

I'm pretty sure MY report cards weren't in there.

Generic said...

Seems pretty on-the-nose to me. I don't see it changing. To wit:

Dear Miss Spotswood,
We, the staff of Shady Pines Retirement Community, just wanted to fill you in on how nicely your mother Elizabeth is getting along with the other retirees.

However ..."

Sweet Melissa said...

Obviously, you've been awesome your whole life...

Anonymous said...

I'm in a wine bar - on my third glass!-reading this while My friend takes a call(I feel spotswood-ish!). All I can say is-Montessori -now I understand.

Sharon, The Queen Blogger said...

Natural selection, kids. Its an eat or be eaten world out there. So if you can intimidate your peers into letting you boss them around ... well, try not to abuse it, but know your power.

Life has a pecking order and, while Im never in for bullying, I do believe that the word is grossly overused by big pussies.