How To Lose Your Confidence As A Parent In Twenty Minutes Or Less

February 20, 2008

Today’s lesson: if you are not, always and every day, prepared for the demands that your child’s school or daycare might make upon you, you will – I guarantee you – be made to feel like the most worthless, incompetent parent that ever bore or received spawn.

Last week, it was Valentine’s Day. “She needs to bring Valentines to school tomorrow,” Her Bad Father (who usually does most of the daycare pick-ups and so is more usually the recipient of this kind of information) informed me on the eve of Valentine’s Day. “36 of them. Signed with her name but not addressed to anyone.”

Which meant, of course, a late-night dash to the nearest all-hours last-minute things store, whereupon hideous Valentines imprinted with licensed characters were purchased and brought home to be forged in her name.

And then, later that night: “Also, she needs to wear something red to school tomorrow.”

Which, fine. Nothing that two cups of espresso and a little pre-dawn laundry cycle couldn’t take care of.

And then, yesterday: “She needs to bring a family picture to school tomorrow. It’s Family Picture Day.”


We do not have any current family pictures. That is, rather, we have upwards of 10,000 pictures featuring Wonderbaby and one or the other of us and/or friends and/or extended family members, but these are all a) entirely digital, b) tending toward individual portraiture and/or group portraiture that excludes one of the more significant members of the family (it is almost always me taking the picture, and so from the evidence of our digital photo archives one would presume that Wonderbaby does not have a mother), and c) representative of situations that tend more or less to the embarassing (Wonderbaby bewigged, Wonderbaby naked and bewigged, me naked and bewigged, etc, etc.)

So, we had nothing. No family picture for Wonderbaby to take to school and share with her friends. We were facing – I was facing – the prospect of sending my child, at age two, into the deeply disappointing experience of being the lone child in the group who doesn’t have anything for show ‘n’ tell, or no cupcakes to contribute to the bake sale, or whatever, because her mother sucks ASS.

So I sent her to school with this:

Was that wrong?

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    Angela February 21, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    Love the photo! I’m also the Mom scrambling for photos, searching the laundry basket for red or green(St.Pat’sDay) clothes, frantically trying to make sure that my kids are not the only ones not participating…sigh. It’s madness I tell you.

    HRCFS February 21, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    Ok, I’m the 34 year old daughter of the woman who takes great pictures and she spent my youth behind the camera.

    You must get out from behind the camera, even if it means that photo documentation of the top of your head is lost or that it looks like you often have a tree branch growing from your right ear.

    I remember my mom joking about it not looking like I had a mom in the photoalbums. That evolved into a slightly manic roating photo series.

    Me & Dad at Christmas dinner table.
    Dad & Mom at Christmas dinner table.
    Mom & Me at Christmas dinner table.
    and on and on.

    Redneck Mommy February 21, 2008 at 2:23 pm

    You have no idea how deep my love runs for you after viewing that photo….


    mek February 21, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    This week we had Bring a Picture of your Pet day – which was awesome because we always use up the last picture or two on a roll by taking pictures of the cats. Much easier than the family photos.

    Do 2 year olds need valentines? I don’t know, but my 21 month old has been spending time almost every day since valentine’s day going through her little doily-covered kleenex box looking at her valentines and saying “girl!” “boy!” “cat!” “car!” or whatever else is pictured. So, I’d say she at least is getting as much out of the holiday as I could ask!

    Karen Erickson February 21, 2008 at 8:20 pm

    Nah, I thought it was pretty freaking right! LOL

    Karen MEG February 21, 2008 at 10:09 pm

    OMG, what a laugh I got out of that one!!! I’ve seen that before, but can’t remember where.
    We’re the same, I think I can count the number of pictures of us as a family on one hand. Meanwhile about a million of each kid.
    How did the daycare react?

    Jenifer February 21, 2008 at 10:44 pm

    I used to worry much more about stuff like that…now I kind of like making up my own rules. February 22, 2008 at 3:08 am

    I didn’t even know people DID family photos anymore…isn’t that kinda 70′s?

    just tell’s SO yesterday…

    That picture is awesome.

    Animal February 22, 2008 at 10:01 am

    No. You didn’t REALLY send her with that photo. Did you? Tell me you didn’t. The kid reminds me of the little girl that Ripley finds in “Aliens,” the chick looks like she’s about 10 seconds away from throwing her bra to Brett Michaels, and the dude…well, the dude kinda looks like me, circa 1987. Oh well. No one told us that Aqua-Net would eat the ozone layer until it was far, far too late.

    Suburban Gorgon February 22, 2008 at 10:37 am

    Oh god. I like you so much.

    Trish K February 22, 2008 at 11:33 am

    I am soooo using that picture next time my kids need to bring one to school!!!!

    Janet February 22, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    I found that picture a little while back when I searched “mullet.” It’s now framed, on the wall.

    JCK February 23, 2008 at 3:52 am


    Jaelithe February 24, 2008 at 2:46 am

    Ah, you just reminded me about my three-year-old’s “Construct a musical instrument out of ordinary household objects” assignment for his Kindermusik class . . .

    dorothy February 26, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    I had to go back to last Easter (yes, the one almost a year ago) to find a family photo for the same reason just last week. Is Family Photo Day national?

    karen February 29, 2008 at 9:45 am

    I also commonly wield the camera and am rarely seen in family snaps. I sent in one of Daddy and the boys with a note that Mama is a witch and cannot be seen in mirrors or pictures.

    Kristin DeLoach, Graco March 7, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    At least you sqeaked out the Valentine’s Cards- I found myself printing homepage cards the morning of. And you’re not alone. We don’t have many family pictures either, but that’s largely because I’d rather not see myself in photos!

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