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End-of-School Celebration or Jailhouse Rock?

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Ah, the ol' end of the school year celebration: It was like "Clan of the Cave Bear" meets "Lord of the Flies." It was everyone's turn, it was no one's turn. It was Armageddon.

Katie Wisdom Weinstein: You pick. There I was, for the 7th year in a row, dragging garbage bags to the dumpster and watching families go back for their fifth serving of cake. It was hot, dirty, and half the crowd was crying ... the littler half, that is. The food was being served while speeches were made. It was like "Clan of the Cave Bear" meets "Lord of the Flies." It was everyone's turn, it was no one's turn. It was Armageddon.

parent at end of school party

We were gathered to celebrate the end of a successful school year. Instead, we looked like a bunch of haggard, worn-out misfits, waiting for the minute we could get the kids and get out. Don't get me wrong; I like most of these people. But burnout seems to be high on the list of symptoms. Before anyone could nail me down for summer playdates, I jumped on my clean-up duty.

Bless those teachers' hearts. I am at home with the patience of a -- well, a tiny something with no patience, while those teachers have to fight to the bitter school end. So, we celebrate.

"Take yer damn brats home," I imagine the nurse saying, while the librarian mentally browses her secret list and aims a weathered eye at all the kids who owe money for lost books. Kids start running like wild animals around the party. Everyone is just too tired to parent much. I can see the look in some of their eyes -- the old "What on earth am I going to do with my children all day, every day?" deer-in-the-headlights look. I can smell the fear.

This is when the fun begins. The sun gets hotter, the tempers flare, and now comes the good playground parenting. You see, early in the year, we all practice our public parenting. Patient, reasonable, flexible. All that is over by June 1st. On one hand, we have the dad who pretends he does not see his son start a water fight that tears through a large crowd of adults. (Can I have a mom eye-roll, please?) Then we get the little girl who hauls off and socks the kid next to her for stealing the tetherball. Mom grabs her daughter by the elbow and yanks her to a not-so-private place and tries to give her a secret smack. We saw it. Not so secret. Good try, though.

I watch these parenting shenanigans and look to see the pasted smiles of those blessed teachers. Was that a secretive little laugh and an eyebrow raise? Those teachers know we deserve this naughty kid behavior after what they put up with all year. I wish I could take some of those teachers home. I need a third parent, anyway. All day. Every day.

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