I grew up in a household where the phrase “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” was embedded in our brains from a very early age. If any injustice was brought upon myself or any of my three other sisters, there was hell to pay, via my mother. I vividly remember her at school and going to parent meetings with a list. At times, I found it embarrassing, but sometimes it was awesome. Like when it was 60 below zero in Iowa City in the winter of 1994 and my friends and I asked my mom to call the president of the University to express her horror that classes hadn’t been cancelled. Sadly her complaints didn’t work that time. But we appreciated her moxie.
Anyhow – don’t get me wrong. I know and believe there is a difference between complaining too much and speaking up when it’s important. I don’t want my feelings to fall on deaf ears (a lesson DD1 is learning now because she dramatically exclaims “owwwww” to everything, my fav being when I apply sun block. Yeah, that hurts, kid.).
One example is it seems every spring, there is an increase in the number of unleashed dogs by the swings at the playground in my hood. I find this totally unacceptable and it frankly enrages me. So every year I post some scathing email on our hood list serv. What shocks me is the number of people who email me privately to thank me for posting, how they feel the same but fear posting something. What the f? What do they think is going to happen to them? Some neighbor is going to egg their house? I mean – hello – it’s against the law in our county to have your dog off the leash. Not to mention it is putting your young child at risk when unleashed dogs approach them – why would I keep my mouth shut? It shouldn’t even be a topic of discussion.
And so this brings me to today’s issue – which is not against the law – and was new territory for me. We were at a playdate with DD1’s new school classmates and one mom got to telling us that one of the kids in the class has such severe allergies that last year in the 3s class, they couldn’t have playdoh because she might put it in her mouth, they could only bring goldfish and saltines for class snack and that class wasn’t able to participate in the fun cooking projects they do on occasion.
I was dumbfounded. First of all, teach your kid not to put things in her mouth that are so dangerous. Second, let that kid’s parents bring a separate snack -why should all the other kids have to eat goldfish as snack for 9 months? She eats lunch at school – so clearly she can be around other food and the school is already a nut-free zone.
But it’s the no cooking that gets me. Why should 7 other kids have been penalized all year just because of that kid and her allergies? If it’s so bad, then the parents should keep her home on the cooking days. Why did all those other kids have to miss out too?
And what was up with the parents in that class for tolerating and accepting that? Am I a bitch or are we too accepting and sympathetic of a society sometimes?
After running my intentions by my husband, the old filter in our house, I emailed the teacher to inquire if all of this was true and if the same restrictions would apply to this year’s class? I have a real beef with the cooking issue though I also think 4 year olds can learn to not put playdoh in their mouths (and should be way beyond that point anyway). I haven’t gotten a response just yet. My email was polite and a simple inquiry.
But mark my words – no kid of mine is missing out on the cooking at school this year. What would you have done?