The other day, Helena came running off the bus waving a brightly colored piece of paper in her hand and I immediately rifled through that mental rolodex I keep in my head called What Things Mean and flipped to the section entitled Brightly Colored Notes From Elementary School and How They Relate to You.
And yes, I know that I just showed my age by using the word “rolodex” in its proper context because it’s all about crackberries and iPhones and PDAs and blah blah blah nowadays, right?
I don’t care. I’m 42 and going through perimenopause. So, rolodex it is:
Hot pink note in take-home folder:
What it is: Lice is going around your child’s school.
What it means to you: Remain vigilant, check your child daily and try not to panic. Submerging your offspring in olive oil and wrapping them in Saran Wrap seven days a week qualifies as panic, so stop it. Besides, that stuff is expensive.
Hot pink note clutched in your child’s hand as you pick her up from school at 9:00 a.m.
What it is: Lice is going around the top of your child’s head.
What it means to you: Smelling like salad, sending your child to school wrapped in a Hefty garbage bag and freaking out whenever her head gets within spitting distance of another child’s head, all for at least the next two years. In other words, go right ahead and panic.
Blue note in take-home folder:
What it is: A book fair, a fundraiser, a party, a field trip, a jump-a-thon, a bike-a-thon, a whatever-a-thon, etc.
What it means to you: Money, anywhere from $2 to $25, depending on how long you can listen to your child holler CAN I, MOM? CAN I, MOM? CAN I, MOM without jamming a toothpick into your eye and running away from home.
Purple note in take-home folder:
What it is: Volunteers needed to help out at a book fair, a fundraiser, a party, a field trip, a jump-a-thon, a bike-a-thon, a whatever-a-thon, etc.
What it means to you: Time. How much is up to you, depending on how long you can tolerate children, including your own, before you donate them to Goodwill for a tax write off. Oh, and whether or not your insurance covers Xanax and psychiatric care for the next six months.
Yellow note in take-home folder:
What it is: Your child was sent down to the Principal’s office as a witness for the seventeenth time this week.
What it means to you: Your child needs to find a hobby. Constantly running up to the bus driver to inform him that the kids in the back of the bus are swearing and they’re not even doing it right because her Mommy always pronounces it FOR SHIT’S SAKE, not FOUR SHIPS ACHE, no longer counts.
Yellow note clutched in your child’s hand as you pick her up from school at 9:00 a.m.
What it is: OH FOR SHIT’S SAKE. Again?
What it means to you: Signing your kid up for Intro to Sign Language in Braille.
Orange note in take-home folder:
What it is: A special occasion is coming up and your child must dress accordingly.
What it means to you: Staying up until 2:15 a.m., creating a jumpsuit by duct taping white sheets together and bedazzling the utter bejesus out of it because some moronic idiot thought a Viva Elvis! theme day would help the kids learn their multiplication facts.
Red note in take-home folder:
What it is: The school will be dismissing the kids fifteen minutes early on Monday to test the In Case of Emergency Dismissal plan you submitted at the beginning of the year, wherein you instructed your child to go directly to your neighbor’s house if she discovers your garage door is closed when the bus drops her off.
What it means to you: Fifteen less minutes to watch TNT and see Chris Meloni flex his tattoo on Law & Order: SVU. Hope your DVR is up and running. And you like acronyms. But take heart, at least you’re not one of those moms who failed to submit such a plan in the first place and whose kid will now be in therapy for the next ten years because unbeknownst to him, Daddy also left work early that day and HOW COME DADDY GETS TO PLAY ON THE GOOD COUCH? NAKED? ON TOP OF MOMMY?
But the note that Helena excitedly threw in my face the other day was green and she had never come home with a green note before so I read it carefully and filed this away in my mental rolodex for future reference:
Green note in take-home folder:
What it is: Your child has been assigned the violin as her musical instrument of choice for next year.
What it means to you: Ear muffs.