5 Pet Peeves Moms Have About First Grade

Rant 14

School photosWhen my oldest was in preschool, my biggest school concern was avoiding death by SUV in the Frogger-esque parking lot during pickup time. Now that he's in first grade, we don't have any major problems to contend with yet *knocks wood, throws salt over shoulder, clutches rabbit foot* but I do find that I'm increasingly irritated by a list of admittedly petty school-related annoyances. Even though I really do like our school and every teacher I've met has been an absolute saint and I appreciate them very, very much.

Read along, fellow elementary school parents, and tell me -- is it just me? Should I get the hell over myself already and regain a sense of perspective because I sound like a big fat titty-baby whiner? Or are you kinda bugged by these things too?

The pay-in-advance school photo system. What's with this jacked-up deal where you have to financially commit to your kid's school picture before you even see how much of a cross-eyed face he made at the exact moment the shutter clicked? Why, back in my day we had the option of purchasing school photos after we saw how they turned out. (Also, we tied onions to our belt, which was the style at the time.) I know they usually offer a retake day, but come on, in this time of digital everything, how hard would it be to upload watermarked images to a site where we parents could take a look and decide if we want the $120 "Let's gift the entire family with 8x10s at Christmas!" package, or the $19 bare minimum "I ... wow. Well, I guess we need proof he went to school this year" option.

The books that come home from the library. I am fully in favor of reading and books and stimulating young imaginations and visiting libraries and learning about how to locate and check out books. However, I hate the weekly arrival of two or three super-thin easily-bent paperbacked books that get crammed willy-nilly into his backpack and instantly disappear into the bowels of our house because they look exactly like every other book we actually own and then every Monday I have to do a sweep that involves rooting around under my kid's bed which EW. Now, you could argue that this practice helps teach my kid personal responsibility and respect for library items, but shut up.

The fundraising incentives. My problem with school fundraising is not that it exists. I totally understand the need for families to try and hawk wrapping paper and cookie dough and whatnot in order to help the increasing budget challenges. What I dislike is how the school offers crappy prizes to kids who sell the most overpriced junk (or, let's be honest, whose parents fob off the most junk on their coworkers) and even awards these prizes in front of peers, creating a sort of vortex of materialistic ickiness.

The inconsistent holiday-related political correctness. At our last school, it was forbidden to teach or celebrate Christmas or Halloween or Thanksgiving. No costumes allowed, no pageants, etc. Okay, fine, diversity and cultural differences and yeah, I get it, but then sending in class-wide valentines (all 28 individualized cards, damn it) for Valentine's Day was totally encouraged and they spent a week learning about Chinese New Year. I'm just saying, these new holiday rules are a little hard to follow.

The hoopty water bottle that keeps getting sent home. This one might be specific to our school, but every first grader is given a water bottle to keep at their desk at the start of the year. I'm talking like a disposable bottle of Aquafina you buy at 7-Eleven, not a hardy reusable one. Then it's sent home every week to be washed. Even though it's basically crumpled and leaking and probably off-gassing BPA like a mofo. The kicker? You can't send in a decent one, because everyone's supposed to have the same thing. WHAT.

Do you share any of these pet peeves?


Image via Linda Sharps

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