We’re halfway through the school year, which is my first year with both kids in school full-time. I’m lucky that they both love school, from the teachers to the classmates to the cafeteria. It’s been a great year for all of us. However, having to dress both kids for school every day has made me realize just how many theme days there are during the year.
It all began during Red Ribbon Week. You may have seen this hilarious rant about it. Red Ribbon Week somehow correlates wearing ridiculous outfits with not doing drugs, all with varying but still equally silly slogans: “Wear Camoflauge; Drugs Can’t Find You!” “Wear Neon: My Future is Too Bright for Drugs!” By Thursday of this week, when I was scrounging through old T-shirts trying to find two appropriate for “Dress Like Your Favorite Vacation Destination Day,” I began to become annoyed with the ridiculousness of the week. (I ended up slapping some old Hawaiian leis on the kids since I figured my “I got wasted in the Florida Keys, Spring Break 2003” shirt might border on inappropriate.) If we really want to devote a week to keeping kids off drugs, can’t we plaster the hallways with those “Faces of Meth” ads you see on TV? Or maybe have a lifelong smoker come talk to them through his stoma? Or might I suggest “Parade of Prison Inmates from Narcotics Charges Day”?
By December, we had recovered from Red Ribbon Week, only to find an entire WEEK of winter theme dress up days. It began on Monday, with Holiday Headgear Day—or, as I like to call it, “Share Your Head Lice With Your Friends Day.” Tuesday was “Holiday Sock Day,” which, by the way, may as well be called “Make Your Mom Search Every Wal-Mart in the City for Socks That Don’t Fit You Day.” By Wednesday, “Snowy Day Clothes” (aka: “Your Teacher Will Have Mittens and Scarves That You Don’t Need Because Texas All Over Her Classroom Day”), I was scrounging for outfits for each day while also buying and wrapping presents, making cookies, and generally being festive. The week culminated with “Holiday Pajama Day,” a day where the kids wore pajamas all day while stuffing their faces with as many sweets as possible while playing holiday games and running around, rubbing their lice-y heads together (yeah, we had lice twice during the holidays).
We are nearing the 100th day of school, which means that I’m trying to figure out how to dress my second-grader and Kindergartner like 100-year-old ladies. In the minds of elementary schoolers, 100-year-olds are cute and have baby-powdered white hair and glasses, but I have 100-year-old grandparents, and they sleep and watch TV all day (although “Sleep and Watch TV All Day” is a day I would fully support). Can the kids maybe wear whatever they wore to bed the night before and also be extra grumpy? The 100th day (February 1st for NISD) is on the first Wednesday of the month, which means that it takes the place of “Plaid Day” in February, but falls the week before “Wear Purple for Military Students Day” and two weeks before “College T-shirt Day”—otherwise known as days I will completely forget about until I drop my kids off at school and they give me dirty looks.
Look, I was a teacher before I was a mom. I get that dress-up days are fun for the kids and break up a monotonous week. I get that raising awareness about various causes is en vogue right now, and it’s good for kids to be socially aware. I’m just saying that perhaps we can scale down the grandeur and frequency of these theme days. Must we wear our college shirts every month? We get that college is great. Yay, college! We can totally support college without a monthly day reminding us about it. And do we need to spend a week hyping ourselves up for winter break? We are all hyped up for winter break. It is all we’ve talked about since school started. And of course we want our kids to say no to drugs! No one wants that more than us parents. But I don’t think my kids will look back in their college years and say, “No, thanks. I don’t want a toke of that joint, because when I was seven I dressed like my favorite vacation destination.”
I only have TWO kids in school. Some of you have many more, like four or five. To you I salute you and say, “Godspeed, and good luck finding four different tie-dyed shirts for Tie-dye Day.”
In the meantime, I’m just a mom, standing in front of a calendar, begging it not to be a theme day.