Thursday, February 14, 2008

Hallmark -1, Parental Sanity - 0

Due to my voluntary service last Valentine's Day of making deliveries for the local florist as a fundraiser for my eldest daughter's school PTO (Parent Teacher Organization), I was more than familiar with the overindulgent behavior displayed by many of the elementary school parents in our small town.

What may have started as an innocent and loving gesture by a long absent Grandparent or traveling salesman father who was on the road and couldn't see his kids on Valentine's Day, has become an explosion of opulence and indulgence the likes of which even Britney Spears would probably approve of.

Like in most things topical in my life, I choose to remain oblivious and non-opinionated on most matters of controversy, citing my advanced degree in clueless fatherhooding of my two daughters, as well as my status as a Stay-at-home-Dad (better known in my small town as a fish-out-of-water).

However when my Wife went to spend 30-minutes with our 2nd grader at her classes Valentine's Day party and saw the following display of V-day goodies sitting on the school office counter awaiting delivery to ankle biters...

...she came home spitting caustic vitriol all the while questioning the negative effect that "Keeping up with the Jones' " is having on our small town.

Apparently the effect was felt at the parochial school where our youngest attends Pre-K, as the Principal informed my Wife and I that the gymnasium floor was filled with V-day deliveries for the students, the most decadent display of parental affection for their kid manifesting itself as a dozen long stem roses sent to a kindergartener.

Topper of the day came when a classmate/friend of our 8-year old that is suffering from an obesity issue proudly announced that HER parents sent a giant chocolate chip cookie to her in her class.

And while it was only slightly painful explaining to our 2nd grader why she was one of a handful of her classmates NOT to have received a delivered bouquet of flowers, stuffed animals, or a mylar balloon tied to a 6 oz. can of Dr. Pepper, we were able to disseminate from her that the vast majority of her classmates who did receive an in-classroom delivery from their parents, we're bus riders and after school daycare devotees.

To which my Wife murmured almost to herself and almost under her breath, "How much guilt relief does a can of soda and helium balloon buy nowadays?"

Sometimes I think "harsh" is my Wife's middle name.


Anonymous said...

As a fellow parent in this ridiculous display here in town I completely agree.

We first observed this when our son was a pre-K student. We have to wonder what kids have to look forward to when they begin with this at 4? Many receive similar displays for birthdays as well.

Talk about peer pressure for the parents! This was probably created by the same parents that came up with "gift bags" given to the guests to a children's birthday party.

However, I must admit that we were guilty of a small concession this year. The dad in our family felt it fun to buy a box of chocolate which he hand delivered to our daughter's school.

He came home laughing that the school secretary had to climb through to see him and accept his small token.

OKDad said...

Is it just rampant here in our small town or are we a microcosm of the madness spreading throughout parenthood practices in the rest of the country?

Last year I spoke with the owner of the floral shop in town that is responsible for assembling and delivering the torrent of V-day gifts to the kiddies, and he told me that due to the huge costs associated with getting the deliveries out on time, and the 24-hour up-time involved in putting them all together, he usually barely breaks even.

While Wifey has no problem drawing the lines in the sandbox of her mind, it's hard for me to raise a stink eye seeing as how just about everything in life is relative and could be seen through multi-tinted glasses -- while living in a glass house.

re: goodie bags...I recall a birthday shindig for a 5-year old we attended back in LA, wherein a little party attendee approached the party host mother and announced with all the authority of a 70-something career politician that there weren't nearly enough "goodies" in the goodie bags.


Jake said...

Sometimes I think "harsh" is my Wife's middle name.

I think that's one of the reasons we love her so much. :-)

Heck, you and I have spoken more than once on similar issues, so you know where I stand and I won't climb up on my soapbox this time.

This isn't just happening in your town. I passed a few schools on my way home yesterday afternoon and the majority of students were overloaded with "stuff". Ridiculous!