My Name is [NAME]; I'll Be Your Lunchroom Mom Today
Today was my first day as lunchroom mom for my son's 6th grade class. I am proud to say that I managed to secretly flip him off seven times without detection and he got me twice.
I was up past the witching hour last night writing so I was groggy as all get out this morning and showed up late with Monkey Boy's half-assed bag lunch, wearing a Cabela's hat, and one day's beard which on lesser men looks a lot like a nine day beard.
I was all about the irony of being a lunchroom mom and swore I'd wear a t-shirt with the sleeves cut off and "LUNCH ROOM MOM" written across the back with a sharpie but I manned out and forgot. I wasn't even funny. I didn't speak. I stood near the door like a disgruntled janitor waiting for some kick to cack on the floor. I'm sure some kid asked Monkey, "Dude, is your dad retarded?"
By the time the end of lunch had rolled around, they were stacking desks and had one kid duct taped to the ceiling. The class geek was using the teacher's laptop to hack into the grading queue. Some other kid was making prank phone calls to the class next door. Someone was hung out the window by their ankles. Mayhem. Depravity. I think. Maybe. I don't know. I know that I wasn't counting all the kids leaving for the head and when the teacher showed up I finally shook off my fugue, looked up, and realized half the class was missing.
"Where's my class?"
"All of them?"
"Uh . . . . maybe I should count next time?"
At the sound of her voice the building tipped sideways and the bathrooms spilled children into the hallways, all of which walked past me as if I were some kind of exhibit.
I believe I have mentioned the malicious nature of children. You can't give them an inch, not a millimeter. Today one of the girls walked up to me carrying a bag of skittles and asked if she could go to another class to give it to someone. Dazed, barely awake, I looked at her for a split second then, mustering all the wisdom 8 minutes of sleep can provide, I asked her: "Are you allowed?" then watched the subtle contraction of her irises as she calculated, rechecked, and filed away the precise level of gullibility I had just exhibited and responded "Yes. Yes I am." then disappeared. Unable to properly focus my narcotic gaze as she left my field of vision, I noticed the girl in the desk in front of me, blocked by the Calculatora's head just a moment prior, was staring at me with hr mouth open.
I will never recover. I know how it works. If my daughter's school is Super Hero High, the Monkey's school is Hogwarts for The Holy and every kid in there is a certified genetic malaprop destined to be aggressively wealthy IP lawyers and moguls of various species and already, in sixth grade, I have shown weakness in front of them. They've got my number. I am doomed.
I can see already my lunchroom mom excursions will become increasingly militant as a cold war simmers between me and the students, with them imagining ever more complex and improbable permissions and goading each other to ask me if they can engage them. I'm tempted to just say "No," to every request. But, as I type this, I can feel the ropey sluice of my morning coffee finally jolting my brainpan and I realize that the best tactic for me is not to deny them anything at all, but to allow everything they request. These are honor students we're dealing with here. If I say "Are you normally allowed to superglue the bunsen burner on?" and they say yes, it's them that's gonna git the divil, not I.
Please save me: my children are trying to kill me.
Christopher Garlington is currently weaning himself from his obsession with do-rags in order to appear more like a grown-up in the presence of his children. As soon as he opens his mouth or tells a story you know, pretty much, everything’s going to end up as a fart joke or a story about puke. His Christmas tree is currently in the running for longest standing post-holiday decoration in the posh, Northside Chicago neighborhood where he lives with his wife and two kids. Mr. Garlington was born in Birmingham, AL and raised briefly in the hills of Shelby County and then for a seemingly unendurable enternity among the lakes and groves of Lake County, FL. He considers himself a southern writer. He has one tattoo. He has no college education. He makes perfect gumbo.