Wednesday, August 16, 2006

What awaits in the bath:

I took a bath last night. Having children means catching viruses and I wasn't quite feeling my best. After the kids were tucked in I decided a nice hot bath and a few minutes reading a novel would be therapeutic. Evidently our baby sitter had given my daughter a tubby in our bathroom today because this was the scene waiting for me when I arrived.

Normally a tub full of bath toys wouldn't bother me... but they were all staring at me!

My wife didn't get a single page last night after 11pm. Thats so unusual that it can cause you to wake up too. She kept waking up and checking the battery in the pager to be sure it was actually working.

Even with mostly uninterrupted sleep it's going to take me a while to get used to getting my daughter up for school at such an ungodly hour. I suppose I'll have to actually go to bed earlier even though this goes against everything that defines me as a person. Even without the pager or my son waking up all night I was still unhappy this morning. I had assumed that there would be no homework on the first day of school so I didn't even check her backpack when she got home yesterday. I was right about the homework, so no crisis on that front this morning, but there were a stack of parental contact forms and outlines of the schools disciplinary procedures and policies that we were both supposed to sign.

I have a problem with authority.

These summary documents that you're supposed to sign saying that you understand that any imagined infraction of the sketchily outlined policies will result in dire consequences have always rubbed me the wrong way. Perhaps it's all left over imprints from my own educational experience (actually, I'm certain that it is...) but to ask a first grader (or last year a kindergardener) to sign and date a document that you have to summarize to them as saying "be good and do what they tell you or they will kick you out" is just not appropriate. I signed it, but did not ask her to sign on the student line, we'll see if the teacher makes her, or if they just don't care.

I have to say that so far they have been very good to my daughter. There have been no abuses of their authority and all the teachers and everyone else have been very good to her and actually seem interested in and friendly with her. This is terrific, but I just know deep down in the hidden places of my heart where the acidic ink that darkened my own permanent record still burns it's marks into my soul that they are just waiting to cause trouble!

I only ever really got in trouble in school a couple of times. I wasn't a bad kid... A little mischievous perhaps... My first detention in high school was when Ingrid threw some part of her lunch across the lunch room and pegged me right in the head with it (she still is one of my best friends and one of only a handful of high school buddies I keep in contact with) and I turned around and retaliated. Unfortunately the peanut butter and jelly that I threw back at her happened to intersect with the principal who had just walked into the room and stepped right into the lovely ballistic curve that my lunch was following safely over the heads of the of other students. Even at the time I held nothing against the fellow for keeping me after school that day. He might even have let me go earlier if I hadn't been laughing out loud about it. It's not those episodes, but the hundred other daily soul crushing applications of unthinking policy that have made me as cynical about such things as I am.

For about 5 minutes one day I did consider home schooling the kids. I have a very good friend who has home schooled his for at least some years during their life. But I'm not your typical home school demographic and I still do work a bit during the day. Though my own salary for programming has dwindled significantly since I became the stay at home dad, it's still important to the household. Heh, perhaps next I'll post about just how much docs really get paid!

After all that I am reassured that my daughter came home yesterday saying that the first day of first grade was "terrific." I'm hoping that most days are terrific and I will help her through the difficult or less than terrific days. Sometimes a nice hot tubby with all your bath toys is all you need to improve you mood!


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