Currently, I am what you would call an under-achieving Room Mom. I mean, Co-room mom. (See, I can’t even be trusted to do the job myself). Somehow this year I was asked once again to be a Room Parent. Did Eli’s teacher not hear what a phone-it-in job I did when I was Kyle’s Room Mom two years ago? He he he! And because I LOVE Eli’s teacher and because I also LOVE my CO-Room-Parent Partner, I laughed, I took a deep breath and said, “YES!”
As a room parent two years ago I had it made. I flew under the radar while simultaneously assuaging my need-to-volunteer guilt. I was there to support the head Room Mom. (I do not know who decided she was the head Room Mom, but really, I was SO ok with it.) Like I said, I was there to support the greater good while the head Room Mom made the decisions, planned the parties and picked the gifts. I did not suggest a Barnes & Noble Gift card nor did I complain when she thought the teacher would LOVE pottery with all the kids’ fingerprints stamped on it. I was blown away that she went into class with her active baby, inked the pads of every child’s stamp finger, then pressed the ink-stamped finger on the Ceramic thingy and then helped each child clean off their fingers. I would have bitten some kid’s finger off before I could even attempt to do all that stamping, ink & clean up. Did I mention that she then made each finger print into a tiny little frog creature?
When asked to ask for more money, I did. I emailed every single parent yet again to ask for more donations. I kind of liked being the Robot Mom. It took until Kyle’s very first class party where I also realized Kyle’s class had a super-awesome-rabbit up their sleeves. See, there was a girl in Kyle’s class who is an only child and whose mother happens to be the the most fantastic & extraordinary professional party planner Park City has to offer. (You should see the Halloween Parties she throws. They take months to prepare and people stop by just so they can take pictures of the creepy cool decorations.) I quickly learned that I would never need to stress about any of Kyle’s class parties again. All I had to do is send my email, collect the money, buy random gifts and show up. Before I even arrived, the Party Planning mom was there setting up her very own mix CDs and super cool party-planning games. And yes, by the way, she always had prizes! (Score!) I would arrive at the class party, ask where I should be, visit with the other moms, then watch the head Room Mom (with new baby in tow) and The Party Planning Mom spin Magic into the room.
This would be party number two this year and as Co-Room Mom, it was my job to get my party planning on. My Co-Room Mom (who happens to be a teacher herself) and I made a spectacular, yet simple, game plan. She is super easy to work with and wants to make everything run smoothly for everyone else. I cannot give out her name because I promise you she is the room mom that everyone will want to room mom with. She and I decided we would do a little rinse, repeat & adjustment of the Halloween Party. We would still do a craft (but an easier craft than before). We would NOT play BINGO. There was too much stress with BINGO. All the kids wanted the Parachute Vampire Dudes and I did not buy enough Parachute Vampire Dudes. Finally, instead of decorating Halloween Cookies my creative neighbor gave me the idea for another craft.
I have several friends who also happen to be room moms, and of course, we have compared notes. I hear about their lovely art projects and well thought out gift bags (we did gift bags for Halloween and will not be doing them again. Most of the kids “forgot” them at school.) I also hear about their healthy snacks and I think to myself, “The parents in Eli’s class are going to HATE me after I fill them up with all of that much sugar, which will perhaps send them into shock or a maybe even a coma.” Oh well! Truth-be-told I decided I would try to level the little monsters out before I pumped them full of various colored high fructose corn syrups. I suggested popcorn. My Room Mom Partner suggested the Clementines. Brilliant and the room smelled so healthy.
I was at the school at exactly 1:57 PM and the party started at 2:00 PM. I had just driven up the canyon from REI, where I had purchased gift cards in $50 increments, because that’s how we do it in the PCSCD. My car was full of party supplies, my knee was in a brace and I was trying to remember exactly who donated money for the teacher gift so I could sign their name on the card. I kept dropping the pens and the gift cards as I got my leg stuck in the door. A mom, who had offered to help me carry stuff in, knocked, with her five-year old son, on my window. Another mom showed up and they started grabbing whatever out of my car. When I say whatever, I mean, “Why would you need the Sports Authority receipt at the Party?” We walked down long hallways and into the class. My Co-Super-Star-Room-Mom was already leading the class in a craft. As I walked in, the kids ran up and hugged “Eli’s Mom. Eli’s Mom,” (me) and they are so lucky I did not kick or push any of them.
We plopped all of the supplies in the back of the room, ripped open bags of candy, pulled out the plastic knives, spread out a bunch of plates, opened all the green frosting and started organizing my neighbor’s craft idea, an ice cream cones that the kids could flip over, frost and decorate like a Christmas tree. I do think the moms are already used to me, because when I said, “A lot of candy. A lot of frosting. They need to cover their trees,” the lovely moms did not hesitate and proceeded to fill the plates full of Skittles, marshmallows, frosting, yucky spiced-ring gum-drops and tiny tiny candy canes. It was mad, hilarious, crazy chaos.
I was delighted watching the kids take their giant frosting/skittle/marshmallow covered ice cream cones and shove them into their mouth, devouring the entire sticky creation in seconds. I had to use Waffle Cones because all the stores were out of regular sugar cones. I loved watching one of the moms frantically run around the room, watching the trees fall, and then standing the trees up as soon as they began to tip. She would get one tree back up and then another would fall over and then another and another. In desperation she tried to stand the trees up by sticking them into a clump of frosting. I quietly walked over, not wanting to break her rhythm and broke the uneven pieces of cone off of the bottom of the tree and stood them up. The trees that did not stand up were pretty awesome too. They stood sideways like Christmas Tree Rockets. As the Christmas-Tree-ice-cream cones came to life Eli’s teacher, my Co-Room Mom and another parent all said, “Great idea!” to which I most certainly gave credit to my neighbor. “Do you think I could have come up with that on my own?”
All through the party one sweet dad, who was there because his wife was sick, kept asking what he could do to help. I know him because our kids are on swim team together. He said to me and I need to quote, “I thought you were the super mom,” to which I responded, “Oh, you have that wrong. Don’t you see. I bring the supplies, get my part started, sit back and watch the other moms do their thing. These other moms are pretty amazing.” I think I am finally learning this whole know-your-place concept. I am good at buying things. I am good at getting those things into the classroom. Even when I am hurt I know to call and ask for help. When I get into the room, however, I am good at stepping back and letting the magic happen. When the magic happens, everyone is happy (or maybe it is just all the sugar I pump into the kids).