When you're a parent, there are certain phone calls that can never bring you good news.
"Hi, this is the Vice Principal Mr. You-Don't-Want-To-Hear-This."
When the school vice principal calls, trust me, he's never, ever calling to tell you that your child prodigy just won the national spelling bee. No, the principal gets to make those kinds of calls.
The vice principal is the one who calls to tell you that your kid is a juvenile delinquent. He is the enforcer. He won't invite you to join the PTA. He won't ask you to speak at Careers Day. The only reason he will ever call is because your kid is a juvenile delinquent.
I remember the call telling me that Cheetah Boy had blown up the school bathroom and I "would be expected to pay for the damage."
As you can imagine, my heart temporarily stopped beating as I thought of the army of contractors involved in that type of job.
Well, it turned out that Cheetah Boy, then a third-grader, and his friend thought it would be an interesting science experiment to turn the electric hand dryers in the bathroom upside down, stuff them full of wet paper towels and soap, and turn them on to see what would happen.
"Kaboom" is what happened, but nothing was actually destroyed, even though the phone call I got was just a tiny bit testy. He was assigned to do "community service" at school. I remember thinking, "Gee, I thought my kid would be older than 10 before he started having to do community service."
After Cheetah Boy cleaned up the mess, though, he actually enjoyed his detention, helping the school janitor for two weeks.
— "Do you have a dog named Buddy?"
This phrase uttered into my ear means that our evil pooch has escaped the yard for the 6,509th time, and is being held captive by some stranger. The good news is that, so far, no one's calling from the vet's office. The last time I got this call, however, was when I was trying to navigate my brother's four wheel-drive down Sundance Canyon in Utah in a blizzard. Not the time you want to hear the dog got out and the dog sitter doesn't know it yet.
— "Your child's library book is overdue."
Now, I don't know about your house, but mine is just the tiniest bit cluttered. Truthfully, entire families could be living in it and we might not notice. We also have a lot of books. So the news that a library book hasn't been turned in is problematic because it begs the question, well, then where is it?
Usually, after five or six hours of searching, the book is located, but only after I ground the kids to their rooms and refuse to let them do anything else until it happens. Usually, the offender is Cheetah Boy, though it can be irksome to discover that Curly Girl has checked out six books on cocker spaniels and they're all overdue.
— "Now, your son is all right, but this is the school nurse."
Cheetah Boy is such an active kid that he's smashing some part of his body on an almost daily basis. I should start buying a Christmas present for the school nurse, I think, because I talk to her more often than some members of my family.
The worst was when he fell off an exercise bike — can you believe they have exercise bikes for sixth-graders? — at school and it briefly looked like he had broken his femur.
Fortunately for my sanity, the school couldn't get hold of me for about a half hour, and during that time, they were able to determine he just had a scrape and not a break. But he got the fun of being removed from the building in a wheelchair while everyone gathered around.
Marla Jo Fisher was a workaholic before she adopted two foster kids several years ago. Now she juggles work and single parenting, while being exhorted from everywhere to be thinner, smarter, sexier, healthier, more frugal, a better mom, better dressed and a tidier housekeeper. Contact her at mfisherocregister.com. Read her blog at themomblog.freedomblogging.com/category/frumpy-middleaged-mom-marla-jo-fisher/.