When I was in High School, playing in or attending games against the schools in the neighboring town was an enlightening experience. The parents in that town took 'fan' to a whole new level. They make the drunks in the stadiums for pro-games look tame.
As a parent, I expected to encounter some sore losers and even worse winners. I had read my share of stories about the poor sportsmanship adults have been known to role-model. I was preparing myself for my own first-hand experiences as the kids were older and perhaps invovled in whatever activities they decided to venture into. I also expected to see the parent 'aided' science projects some day.
I did not expect to see it emerge in preschool.
Nor did I expect it to be over something as mundane as a snowman craft.
Today was Frosty's birthday. At least it was for the kids at our preschool in the Tues/Thurs sessions. Tomorrow it will be Frosty's birthday for the rest of the school. Parents got to join along in the fun. We sat in the back of the room while the kids sat on the floor up front. A magician entertained us all and then Frosty himself emerged for a photo session.
A week ago the school sent home a blank sheet of white paper and very simple, vague instructions. Students and their parents were to use the white paper to make a snowman - make it any way you want. Use whatever it is you want to use to decorate it. Have fun. The point, really, was to do have some nice crafty quality time working on it together. Our little creation was due back at school on Tuesday. Today every single snowman from each of the nearly 500 students in the school was hung on display in the large gym-like room where the party was held.
Over the weekend we made ours. I gave Logan the choice - draw on the white sheet or cut out. He decided we'd cut. I drew the outline and handed him his scissors. He started and then asked me to cut it for him. He agreed to cut half of the hat. I did the other half. He cut out the scarf. We discussed with Daddy how to decorate our little frosty dude. We went with buttons and glitter glue. We used pipe cleaners for his arms and legs. Logan was in charge of getting all this stuff placed on our guy. I made the mini-paper snowflake to rest on his hand.
When I walked in the gym today, I didn't know whether to laugh in humor or horror. There, on those walls at the preschool event, were some of the most perfectly drawn and decorated snowmen I've ever seen. Meticulously created and ornately decorated. Clearly not the work of any 3 year old I know.
Lest I be labeled a cynic, I must relay the conversation that took place behind me while we waited for the classes to arrive:
Mom #1 - I was so stressed out by this snowman thing! I didn't know whether to cut it out or just draw on that paper. I was so afraid I was going to do it wrong.
Mom #2 - Oh I know! I had this great idea about using a piece of real carrot for the nose. Well I left it out overnight to dry it so, you know, it wouldn't ruin the paper. It was just gross.
Mom #3 (in hushed tones of awe) - What did you end up doing?
#2 - Oh I used an orange birthday cake candle!
#1 (gushing) - Oh that's brilliant! And it looks fantastic.
#3 (also gushing) - Oh, I wish I had thought that up! I'm so jealous! We had a debate in our house whether or not Frosty had a broom. Didn't he have a broom. I wanted a broom but [the kid] said no.
#2 - Frosty so had a broom. What did you end up with?
#3 - We have that hula snowman over there. See it? It's cute I guess. There's another hula Frosty over there from room 14 that's better though. I almost don't want to point mine out.
MINE?! She said mine, folks. Mine. Not ours. Not [the kid]'s. And her buddy?! She's all stressed out?
You don't know how badly I wanted to turn around and say, "You're freaking out over a craft project your 3 year-old was supposed to create? My God, I hope you're kid isn't in my kid's 8th grade class come science project time."