‘Dress-up’ days at school = hellish mornings

“PING-PING” — the cell phone chimes.

It’s an alert that I ignore.

Two seconds later, I open two folders from two different children, who happen to be twins.

Two pretty pieces of orange paper fly out and land at my feet.

Two seconds after that, another sound emits from my phone telling me someone from town has posted a notification on a parental social media page.

Finally, after reading through the messages, notes and notifications,  I want nothing more than to throw the cell phone or burn the folder.


“We’re ‘groovy’ for reading … Wear your GROOVY clothes tomorrow!”

Fuck me again. Didn’t we just have “DRESS UP AS YOUR FAVORITE BOOK CHARACTER!” Day?

I don’t have time for this shit.

Sure, I get the reminders (obviously), but still, there’s a part of me hoping the twins weren’t paying attention at the end of the school day when THEY too are reminded of the impending “DRESS-UP DAY.”

For “DRESS UP AS YOUR FAVORITE BOOK CHARACTER” we went ALL OUT. And by that I mean, they were themselves.

“You have written books about yourselves before … remember?” I tell them.

“Oh, yeah” they say seconds later.


Then “GROOVY DAY” comes along. Damnit.

Just because I was BORN in the 1970s doesn’t mean I own shit from that decade.

Thus begins the 7 a.m. full-blown-temper tantrums from two different children. One on the top bunk. The other on the bottom.


Um, because it’s 2016, not 1976.

We fought about pants, shirts and accessories.

“Here, wear this shirt and those jeans … I will braid your hair like your gramma used to do back in the 1970s. You’ll be fine” I said to my daughter as she sat in her bed with her head down, contemplating whether or not she’d be the laughing stock of first grade.

Finally, she agreed. She left wearing a multi-colored shirt and black pants. At the advice of another mom suffering through the same morning bullshit, I added a peace sign on her face. We didn’t have time to dig out the paints. I used lip-liner. It will probably be there for another 20 years.

As for my son, I dug around the clothes until I found a kinda-sorta tye-dyed shirt he made with handprints in kindergarten. He refused the lip-liner-drawn peace sign.

They got on the bus.


I get it. Sorta. Dressing up somehow builds school moral or some other bullshit.

But you know what …

As a student, we NEVER had random dress-up days. We had ONE day per year we were able to pretend we were someone else. It was called HALLOWEEN.

But guess what, students are no longer allowed to dress up for Halloween. It’s against some lame-ass education regulation.

“Some people don’t believe in Halloween.”

No shit.

But ya know what I don’t believe in … searching all over my fucking house looking for “groovy” or “character” clothing.

So, the next time my phone chimes, papers fall and notifications blow up my social media page telling me about a “dress-up” day, I’m gonna pretend it never happened – kinda like what the education system did with Halloween.









Why don’t kids play outside?

Petting Zoo
Petting Zoo

When did kids lose the ability to play OUTSIDE?

A friend of mine let her two older daughters outside recently, and they just stood on the deck, starring at her like deer in headlights.

They had no idea what to DO outside.

In the summer during the 1980s, I was outside from sunrise to sunset – only going back in the house for lunch and to go to the bathroom.

The kids in our neighborhood were a mix of ages, but we all had something in common – none of us wanted to be INSIDE during the summer.

For today’s youth who are being deprived of the joys associated with summer, I blame technology, and parenting is also different, or so it seems.

When I was growing up, there was one television in our house (well, OK, there was a black and white teeny tiny TV in my parents room, so I am not sure what they watched on that vintage machine) and it was in the living room.

We didn’t have a computer, 200-plus television channels, Kindles, an IPhone, IPad, IPod, Tablets (wait, we DID have tables, to write on) or cell phones. For those of us who were lucky, there were Walkmans, but mine rarely tuned in any channel except for static.

But, as the children of the 1980s aged into parents of the 2000s, something changed.

Yes, technology became more advanced, but it seems as if the days of ALLOWING kids to be kids have vanished.

No one seems to let their kids PLAY outside – and it’s probably because of the increased fear of kidnappings/abductions/sexual predators, etc. But let’s be honest, all of those existed in the 1980s too, yet the social media wasn’t as advanced, so the instances were kept on the “DL.”

We all remember when the kid who’s faced ended up on the milk carton – that is the only abduction I honestly remember as a child, but that is probably because it made national news and my dad insisted on watching “60 Minutes” every.single.Sunday.

There is also, this is a stretch, but still, the fear of THE SUN. I know skin cancer exists and lathering on sunscreen is a pain in the ass, but seriously, slap on the sunscreen and give them a bottle of water to keep hydrated. We drank from a garden hose for crying out loud. We survived.

Here are some of my favorite childhood memories from the summer:

  1. Making mudpies – for that you needed an old bowl from your mom’s coveted Tupperware storage; mud; water; and various grasses found in your yard. We also made “tacos” this way and served up to our friends.
  2. Playing house – a friend of ours had a nice storage shed in their backyard and we just pretended it was our house.
  3. As a rule we were never allowed in someone’s house, unless it was a rainy day and they invited us inside. Or, if we had to use the bathroom – that was definitely allowed.
  4. Riding BIKES. Oh, the freedom that came with being old enough to ride a bike in a neighborhood full of kids – Oh the places you’ll go!
  5. The community swimming pool. Cost was maybe $1 for an entire afternoon of fun in the sun!

So, this summer when your kids just stare at you when you toss them outside, remember it’s for their own good. We had awesome summer memories … they need some too.