Funny Advice for Your College-Bound Kids

Best & Funniest Advice for College  #school #college #graduate #advice #funny #humor

So then…my funny, smart, gorgeous niece with long flowing blonde hair zips upstairs. I turn to my sister Della and say, “I can’t believe she’s going off to college next year! Are you worried about all those college boys? I remember how worried I was when YOU went off to college!”

“What are you talking about?” she asks.

“You were a perky beautiful cheerleader! I remember saying to Mom, ‘Aren’t you worried about Della going to a coed college after 4 years of an all-girls high school?’ And Mom innocently said, ‘But she’s going to Texas Christian University.’ And I said, “Mom! Christian college boys have hormones too! You better have a serious talk with her!”

Della laughs and says, “Well, you guys gave me plenty of advice before college. Our older brother gave me a copy of the book about the Hillside Strangler and told me, ‘never date a guy with a windowless van!’ And do you remember what you told me?”

“No, what?” I ask.

“You said, ‘You have big boobs – and boys will want to touch them. So be careful.”

I laugh. “Well, that’s true!”

She says, “And our little brother told me, ‘Never run on campus.’”

“‘Never run on campus?’” I say. “What’s that got to do with college boys?”

“Nothing. He just told me, ‘No matter how late you are for class, never run on campus. You’ll look like an idiot.’”

We both laugh.

— Darcy Perdu

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(What advice did people give YOU when you went off to college? What advice will you give YOUR kids? Any words of wisdom people gave you about dealing with members of the opposite sex?)

SERIOUSLY? Lady, You’re Killin’ Me Here!

YIKES!  Playdate Disaster - My Fault or Hers?  "Seriously, Lady, You're Killin Me Here!"  #funny #playdate #mom #kids #humor #sothenstories.

So then…I toss a couple toys behind the couch and shove the countertop contents into the junk drawer, just as the doorbell rings.

“They’re here! They’re here!” I shout, racing for the door.

But I’m the only one dashing, since my 1st grader Tucker is engrossed in his Legos-Hot Wheels concoction and not nearly as excited about this playdate as I am.

I’m eager to make new friends at his new school, for him AND for me, so I took the plunge and invited Carla and her son Steven over this weekend for lunch and playtime.

I open the door and they spill into the house, Steven running over to Tucker and his toys – Carla trailing me to the kitchen.

We chat amiably while I putter around, taking out dishes, turning on the oven. I love hosting people at my house, but I’m always anxious about what to serve – I’m worried they may not like it or I didn’t cook it long enough.

But I know today will be a homerun because I served this same lunch to my family last week and they loved it!

I place ham and cheese on French bread wedges, then slide them into the oven to get all warm and toasty.

I turn around with a flourish and a smile – only to see Carla’s face fall.

Uh-oh. What’s up?

I’m talking FANCY DELUXE ham (no Oscar Mayer, people!)

and FANCY DELUXE cheese (no Velveeta slices, y’all!)

and FANCY DELUXE French bread (no Wonder bread sandwich slices, friends!)

We’re talking PRIMO sandwich fixin’s! And I’m TOASTING them in the OVEN!

I even have regular mustard for the kids and FANCY DELUXE Grey Poupon for the moms.

GREY.POUPON.PEOPLE!

Carla says, “Uh…we’re Jewish so we don’t eat ham.”

Ack. Blunder #1.

“Oh, I’m so sorry!” I blurt.

She blanches.

“Well, no, I mean…I’m not sorry you’re Jewish! I’m sorry I’m serving ham!” I say.

I quickly grab the remaining French bread. “How about just cheese then?” I ask brightly. “Kinda like a grilled cheese sandwich on French bread?”

Carla grimaces. “Well, it’s just that Steven is lactose-intolerant…”

Ack. Blunder #2.

Omigod. Now I’m panicking because my fridge and cupboards are not well-stocked, so I don’t have a lot of choices.

Lightbulb!

I fling open the pantry door and pull out every kid’s favorite: Peanut butter!

Carla’s expression says it all…

I sigh, resigned. “He’s allergic to peanuts, isn’t he?” I ask.

“Yep.”

Ack. Blunder #3.

“Oh, OK, heh, heh,” I say, laughing weakly. “I guess that leaves us with the French bread. So how does he feel about toast?

(If she says he has a gluten-free diet, I will commit hari-kari with this spatula right now.)

She smiles. “Toast is fine.”

I quickly scour the kitchen for side dishes and come up with grapes, baby carrots, and Oreos (which are a HUGE hit, by the way.)

And so, as I serve our first 1st-grade playdate toast, I cycle through these emotions:

1) I am the worst hostess in the world.

2) If her kid has this many dietary restrictions, couldn’t she maybe give me a heads up when accepting a lunch invitation? Come on, Carla, help a sister out! If my kid had these restrictions, I’m so obsessive, I’d probably travel with a constant supply of doctor-approved, rabbi-approved foods in individual hermetically-sealed packages, ready to whip out at a moment’s notice! Or at least I’d mention it when accepting an invitation to a meal!

3) What kind of rookie am I that I don’t have a few alternatives available like turkey or pasta, for Pete’s sake? And would it kill me to ASK guests if they have any dietary needs when I invite them to a meal? Get with the program, Darcy!

But as I watch Tucker and Steven laugh and talk and run and play – I realize what’s really important:

the “Day I Served My Guests Toast” is also the “Day Tucker Made a New Friend at His New School.” And that’s all that matters.

— Darcy Perdu

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(Any culinary catastrophes on your playdates? Or food-related faux pas with guests at your parties, BBQs, or dinners? One time I put BBQ sauce on chicken breasts and BAKED them – and they all came out a weird shade of PINK so all my guests skipped that dish on the buffet table! Share any funny moments from your parties or playdates!)

Oh, She Did NOT Just Say That

So then…Janice, the Cast Mom for the 8th Grade production of “Annie,” asks for volunteers to work the 4 show nights – snack bar, ticket takers, and congratulations telegrams.

But then her emails take a strange turn…

Cast Parents:
If you’d like to volunteer for ANNIE and haven’t responded yet, please let me know since some parents are working all 4 shows.
Janice

Janice:
Could I help with telegrams for the Saturday night show?
Darcy

Darcy:
All spots for telegrams are taken. I think we’re in good shape… unless you want to help with hair and make-up, which for some reason doesn’t seem like your thing?
Janice

Oh, no – she did NOT just say that!

“unless you want to help with hair and make-up, which for some reason doesn’t seem like your thing?”

What? Why doesn’t hair and make-up seem like my “thing?”

What exactly is she trying to say here?

Is she implying my hair’s a mess and my make-up is shoddy?

Or am I such a bumbling fool, she’s afraid I’ll put lipstick on their eyelids and mascara on their lips?

Or does she think I’m such a skank, I’ll tart up the little orphans to look like transvestite hookers?

Honestly!

That’s like saying, “We’d ask you to bring something to the potluck, but cooking doesn’t seem to be your thing.”

Or “We need field trip chaperones, but parenting doesn’t seem to be your thing.”

Imagine your date saying, “I’d invite you upstairs, but sex doesn’t seem to be your thing.”

So just as I’m about to whip myself into a self-righteous frenzy about her veiled insult…

I take a breath and realize she’s probably just like me – chasing kids, working, juggling a million demands from a million people. PLUS, she’s the Cast Mom, so she’s dealing with all the students and the Drama Mamas – and she’s probably staying up past midnight every night just like me to get everything done – so her remark was probably unintentional.

So, as usual, I decide to find the funny – and I start giggling.

Janice:
I am laughing so hard right now — is there something about MY hair and make-up that suggests I wouldn’t be skilled at helping others with theirs?

I’m cracking up because that’s probably NOT what you meant — but the truth is — I am TERRIBLE at hair and make-up and you’re right — it is definitely not my thing!

I can help with selling snacks if you need it.

Or eating snacks. I’m good at that.
Darcy

Darcy:
LOL!!!
I did not intend any implications other than…
<<<LOL – can’t stop laughing!!>>>
It’s just that you are a fellow Pisces and it is SO NOT MY THING either!
All right then, I will put you down for eating snacks on Saturday night.
Janice

Of course I’m delighted to learn her comment wasn’t intended to cast aspersions on my grooming skills.

But now I’m perplexed as to how she knows I’m a Pisces?

And since when has that astrological sign been burdened with a reputation for inferior cosmetology and hairstyling?!

Makes me wonder what my daughter and her daughter discuss at rehearsal.

Is my daughter Chloe confiding to her classmates, “Ahh, my mom is HOPELESS at hair and make-up. (sigh) But you know, she’s a Pisces. What’re you gonna do? It’s in their nature.”

— Darcy Perdu

Artwork by Dixie Allan

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(Ever receive an odd comment or email that seemed like a veiled insult? Any funny stories about volunteering for the school play, field trip, class party, or dance? Is hair and make-up YOUR thing? Or are you a Pisces too?)

Oh, She Did NOT Just Say That!  #funny  #school #drama #volunteer #pta #pisces #cosmetics #hairstyle

I Shall Staple it to his Forehead

How to Get Kids to Remember Their Homework #funny #homework #school #student #homeschool #kids #parenting #classparty #humor

So then…I check the emails from the other school parents to see who’s sending in money for the upcoming 7th grade class party we Room Parents are organizing, and I find this note:

Bridget’s email:
Darcy, can you please ask your daughter Chloe to do me a favor? I gave my son Ryan money in an envelope for the class party to give to Chloe yesterday, but he didn’t see her. So can Chloe please ASK him for the envelope today? He might forget. Thanks! – Bridget

I respond with this email:
Bridget:
It’s so funny because right before I read your note, I had just sent an email to my son’s band teacher to tell him that Tucker has a check in his pocket for the band trip – and that Tucker will likely forget that he has that check in his pocket, so could the band teacher please help remind him!

I think it’s hilarious that you and I have to help our sons along like this. And I wonder when Tucker is 35, will I STILL be sending notes for him? i.e. to his boss: “Please remind Tucker he finished that report and it’s in the top drawer of his desk.” Or to his wife: “Please remind Tucker he bought you an anniversary gift and he hid it in the pantry.”

Oh, who am I kidding? I will probably be WRITING his report and BUYING the anniversary gift!!
— Darcy

Bridget’s response:
That’s what we get for having boys!! But I think society understands. When my husband takes our preschooler son to school, all my post-it reminders are STILL attached to the stuff he gives to the teachers!
– Bridget

***

Yikes! So now I wonder if somewhere out there, her husband is accidentally turning in school forms with post-it notes still attached that say things like:

“Drop off this $20 in the front office for the class party; but don’t trust it to the girl with the pierced nose.”

“Give this to the mean teacher in room 103; don’t ask if she’s pregnant. She’s not.”

Honestly, how can we get our kids to remember their homework and papers?  Sometimes I think I shall staple them to his forehead!

— Darcy Perdu

Original Illustration for So Then Stories by Mary Chowdhury

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(Are any of YOUR kids a little (cough-cough) “organization-challenged?”  I know we should let them “sink or swim” on their own at a certain age, but do you ever write notes/texts to remind your kids to do things – or to their teachers/coaches?  Or are your kids SUPER ORGANIZED? If so, send me the secret!)

BUSTED! Telling His Teacher a Big Fat Juicy LIE!

Telling the Teacher a Big Fat Juicy Lie! #funny #teacher #student #lying

So then…I open an email from Tucker’s 6th grade teacher that says:

“Tucker did not have his homework today; he told me this was because there was a termite infestation at home. I told him he needed to ask you to write a note explaining the situation, but he said that his family did not believe in writing notes.

However, since our homework policy is not to accept late work, I would appreciate a note or an e-mail when unusual situations occur so that Tucker can receive full credit.
Sincerely, Mrs. Gilbert”

What the what?

I love how the teacher writes her email in such a way that she leaves open the slim possibility that indeed, we did have a termite infestation that interfered with homework completion – rather than declare, “Your son flat out lied to me today.”

(Not only did he lie, but he did so, very poorly. Termites? Really, dude? That’s the best you could come up with? And you said your family “didn’t believe” in writing notes? What religious cult forbids the WRITING OF NOTES?)

Of course, I immediately want to write back:

“Dear Mrs. Gilbert:
I was mortified to read your email. We have had no such infestation – and we have no problem writing notes.

In fact, I’m writing this note to you right now. However, I’ll email it to you instead of giving it to Tucker to deliver — since he might claim it was eaten by termites (or boll weevils or alien mutant wombats) before it gets to you.

We are extremely disappointed that Tucker would attempt to excuse his missing homework in this way. We do not have termites. We are a clean and observant family. If there were termites, we would know about it and deal with it expeditiously.

And even if we had termites, that would not preclude Tucker from completing his homework. Termites are tiny. At most, they might buzz through a couple pencils.

It’s not like we were infested by ferocious cougars, lunging alligators, or blood-sucking vampires. I could see how those would be disruptive to concentrating on one’s homework. But termites? Please. We’re made of sturdier stock than that.

As soon as Tucker comes home from school, we’ll impose consequences — and he’ll also write you an apology.

Meanwhile, please keep us posted on any other “allegations” he might make at school. (I should tell you pre-emptively that you should not believe him if he claims his parents drink too much wine, gamble online, or use the F-word carelessly.)
Thank you, Darcy Perdu”

But instead I write:
“Dear Mrs. Gilbert:
I am so sorry that Tucker tried to use an excuse for his missing homework.  We don’t have termites and we have no problem writing notes.  He’ll give you the homework and a written apology tomorrow.  Thank you, Darcy”

However, I WISH I had sent the first note — because then maybe the big vocabulary words like “expeditiously” and “pre-emptively” would make the teacher think that I’m a well-bred, well-educated, well-intentioned mother — and that it’s only my son who is a deceitful heathen.

Maybe I should have mentioned a possible maternity ward mix-up between my real son and a tale-telling gypsy baby. (No offense, gypsy babies.)

— Darcy Perdu

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Original Illustration for So Then Stories by Mary Chowdhury

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(What’s a tall tale that YOUR kid has told? Any funny fibs or outrageous lies? Or a teacher’s note that was a bit embarrassing?)

The Hairy Hair-Raising Humiliation

How to Handle Hair Tangles & Clump Critters  #funny #hair #tangles #kids #humor

So then…my 9-year-old daughter Chloe lets loose a shriek so piercing, it could wake the dead two towns over. She thrashes about, SCREAMING and WAILING.

And all because of me.

What am I doing?

Waterboarding? No.

Chopping off limbs? No.

Evil torture? No.

I am brushing.her.hair.

Oh sure, we’ve all been there. The tears, the sensitive scalp.

But this child has THE MOST delicate skull flesh – and THE MOST tangled hair – and THE MOST stubborn insistence that we brush out that frikkity-frik hair before she goes to bed.

So every other night, after her shower, I have to spend 60 to 90 minutes painstakingly combing out her twisted, snarled, knotted hair that just so happens to reach the all the way down her back.

Funny - Hairy Hair-Raising Long Hair
And after trying every possible remedy – including brushing the hair BEFORE the shower – baby shampoo – buckets of conditioner – detangling spray – and one time, even VEGETABLE OIL

I am quite ready to throw a hat on it and call it a day.

Or shave her head.

But she will have none of it.

She adores her long hair and she wants it brushed out. How can Mommy not accomplish that?

But, oh my god, that caterwauling and carrying on! The screaming and shouting and crying!

It’s a wonder my neighbors haven’t called Children’s Services on me.

Chloe alternates between “please brush it, Mom” and “YOU’RE KILLING MEEEEE!!!”

Armed only with a Goody comb and brush, I’m treated like the Marquis de Sade with a trunkful of torture tools!

Well, tonight I’m exhausted. It’s way past her bedtime and I’ve only detangled the two sides near her face. There is a huge nasty horrifying clump of hair in the middle that is refusing to budge.

“Chloe, we have to call it a night. You have the big music program tomorrow and you need your sleep.”

“Nooooo, Mom! We’re gonna be on stage! I have to wear my hair in braaaaaaids!

Now imagine that same conversation repeated about 83 times, amidst brushing attempts and tears (including mine).

Finally, when I’m about to commit Hari-Kari with the sharp end of the comb, I announce that she MUST go to bed and we’ll figure it out in the morning. She reluctantly goes to sleep.

The next morning, the clump is only worse – matted and horrifying and ENORMOUS. It seems to have grown in the night, eating other people’s hair until it’s a bloated, writhing mess.

After several attempts and lots of howling, I finally make her two braids with the combed hair – and I stick some pins and clips in the nest of hair in the back to form a sort of snarly bun.

She’s distressed, of course, but we have to get to school.

From the front, she looks like an adorable country girl with braids, white shirt and jeans.

Funny - Hairy Hair-Raising Braids
But in the back… it’s not a sweet little ballet bun – it’s not even a hip Jersey Shore “bump” – it’s more like a huge mangy critter has attached itself to her head and won’t let go!

So if she can just always stay facing forward today – just don’t turn to the side – just back out of each room gracefully — then no one will see the beehive rat’s nest in the back.

At the music program, I deliberately sit with parents I don’t know – so that if Chloe DOES turn to the side on stage, I can pretend I have no idea whose child that is. I’ll just shake my head with the other spectators and “tsk tsk” at the inept mother who sent her child out like that!

Well, of COURSE, the music program involves hand motions, enthusiastic singing, and stand-up/sit-down/sway-to-the-SIDE actions – and there is her mangy critter bopping and waving and swaying on the back of her head. IT HAS A LIFE OF ITS OWN!  And it is BOOGYING!

Funny - Hairy Hair-Raising Clump Critter
I am mortified, but I soldier through, trying to enjoy the music — and calculating how I’m going to afford special effects to digitally remove the offending “Fur Beast” in the video footage I’m shooting.

After the program, the parents all greet their kids in the courtyard with kisses and congratulations. I consider grabbing some random kid with normal hair for a hug and pretending they’re mine.

But there they are – Chloe and the Clump. I give her a big hug and a kiss, tell her she did a fabulous job and that I loved the show.

She tells me how much fun she had and grabs a cookie from the snack table.

“But Mom, I have to tell you – all day LONG, the kids were asking me about my hair.”

Uh-oh.

I wince. “Really?”

“Yeah, the kids kept saying, ‘What IS that?’ and ‘What’s in your hair?’”

(more hair)

“Oh, sorry, honey, we’ll try to detangle it tonight.”

She bites the cookie and says, “One girl kept saying it looks like a rat’s nest — and another boy said it looks like a RAT – and he started PETTING it.”

“He DID not!” I protest.

“Oh, yes, he did, Mom. He PETTED my hair rat!!”

***

OK, so I guess our make-shift Clump Critter did not escape detection after all.

But perhaps it can be the new class pet?

— Darcy Perdu

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(Any tales of tangled tresses out there? Have you ever fallen a bit short in the hair/outfit/costume department when sending your kid to school or camp ? Share your embarrassing stories — surely I’m not the only mom who’s used the line: “Huh, who? That’s not MY kid, nope, what, huh?”)

When Your Kid’s Teacher is NOT “Comfortable” with YOUR Behavior

When the Teacher's Not Comfortable with YOUR Behavior!  Uh-Oh!  #Funny story about Back-to-School Night!

So then…she presses her pudgy little hands on either side of my face and smushes it together, bringing her little nose directly to mine, and says, “Mommy, SERIOUSLY, Mrs. Trent said it will not be appropriate for you to bring your cell phone.”

I smile at my darling little girl, clasp her two hands in mine, kiss them and tell her, “Chloe, honey, I need to take my cell phone to Back to School Night. The new babysitter is coming tonight, so she has to be able to reach us if there’s an emergency.”

She looks very worried. “But Mommy, Mrs. Trent said she’s not comfortable with parents taking phone calls while she’s giving her speech about Kindergarten. She told us ‘pacifically to tell our parents to leave your cell phones at home.”

I pull her into my lap and put my forehead on hers. “Chloe, honey, you’ve told me this 800 times in the past two weeks. I promise it’ll be fine, OK?”

Slightly mollified, she toddles off to play with her toys.

I finish opening the mail and chuckle to myself over the words our children learn so young these days. Parents and teachers tell kids:

“That’s not appropriate behavior”
“I’m not comfortable with you doing that”
“If you continue this behavior, there will be consequences

When I was a kid, adults just said
“No!”
“Stop that!”
“NOOOOOOO!”

But we parents shouldn’t say that to our kids.  (Although it IS funny how many times my toddlers told me “NO!” instead of saying, “Mommy, I’m not comfortable with you serving me vegetables right now. Green beans are simply not appropriate at this time.”)

So then the new teenage babysitter arrives and I run through everything with her – while Chloe interrupts to remind me AND the babysitter not to make any calls to each other THE WHOLE NIGHT or else “Mrs. Trent will be REALLY mad.”

Good Lord, how terrifying can Mrs. Trent be?

Um, turns out — pretty terrifying.

She greets all the parents at the classroom door with the air of a strict commandant, briskly ushering us to our seats so she can start her greeting – no, speech – no, LECTURE – on time.

She is clearly captain of this ship, sternly informing us of all the rules and regulations in her classroom for the kids and the parents.

I shoot a look of mock fear at my husband David and he smiles briefly, but quickly re-focuses on Herr Trent.

I try to generate a little camaraderie amongst the other parents by feigning the “shaking in my shoes” look to them – but they quickly avert their eyes. No mutiny to be found here, folks.

Everyone is taking this Back to School Night deadly serious.

Mrs. Trent states the ground rules for field trips – and people are actually taking notes.

Just then, a phone rings.

MY phone rings!

Holy Sh*t, it’s MY phone!

The other parents look stunned. Mrs. Trent glares at me with livid disgust.

I jump up and dash out of the room, fumbling to answer the phone.

Is someone hurt? Why is the babysitter calling? What HAPPENED?! They were under strict orders NOT to call unless it was an emergency – WHAT IS THE EMERGENCY?

“Mom,” says Chloe. “Can I have a popsicle?”

Oh.
My.
Dear.
God.

Is this literally the same child who demanded for weeks that I not even BRING my cell phone to Back to School Night – and she interrupts the big speech because she WANTS A POPSICLE???

And now how am I going to go back into that classroom?

Mrs. Trent and the other parents must surely assume that the ONLY reason someone would call me tonight is because my children were gushing blood from every known orifice! Limbs had better be shooting off their bodies in all directions to warrant this call.

(And believe me, when I get a hold of Chloe, there MAY be some serious maiming and dismemberment! A POPSICLE, for God’s sake!)

But of course I totally crack up at the absurdity of it.

I shake my head to get the giggles out.

Then I walk somberly back into the classroom, with a deep sigh, my hand patting the phone, and a reassuring nod of the head to everyone to indicate that all is well – crisis averted – it WAS a life-threatening situation, but I was able to handle it over the phone because that’s how this Superhero Mommy rolls.

Then I sit down, pull out pen and paper, and stare intently at Mrs. Trent in COMPLETE AND UTTER FASCINATION to dutifully record her next pearls of wisdom.

— Darcy Perdu

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(Have your kids pulled a move like this? Any scary teacher stories? How about a funny babysitter incident?)

Well, That’s a GOOD Thing for a Teacher to Say — I Think…

Um...Is That a Compliment?  Funny School Discussion!  #teacher #funny #school #backtoschool #teens #son #humor

So then…he slings his backpack on the counter and pops open the fridge for a snack.

“How was the first day of 10th grade?” I ask.

A muffled “fine” floats up from the fridge.

“Oh come on, you gotta give me more than that. I’m excited to hear about your classes and teachers. Can’t you tell me something about your day?”

My 15-year-old son emerges with a container of pineapple — pauses, concentrates — then brightens when he remembers something.

“After class, one of my teachers, Mr. Preston, said, ‘Tucker, I am really glad you are in my class.’”

“Oh!” I say proudly, taking it as a compliment for my son.

Then I think a moment. “Wait, why did he say that to you?”

“I dunno.” He opens the silverware drawer for a fork.

“Did he know you from last year or something?”

“No.” He grabs a water bottle.

“Did he say it to anyone else?

He shrugs. “Nope.”

“So he just told you specifically that he’s ‘really glad’ you’re in his class? What class is this?”

“Religion.”

Oh.

So now I’m wondering if the teacher said that because he was impressed with Tucker’s keen philosophical grasp of theological principles –

or because he was thinking, ‘Good Lord, this heathen’s on the brink of eternal damnation. Thank God he’s in this class so we can SAVE HIS SOUL!’

I’m sure it’s the former. Yeah, definitely the former.

— Darcy Perdu

Original Illustration for So Then Stories by Stefano Marchio

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(Do you agree it’s like pulling teeth to get your teenagers to communicate? Any examples of “compliments” that might NOT be actual compliments? Any odd teacher quotes?)

A Mother ALWAYS Knows

School Pictures: Telling My Kid the COLD HARD TRUTH - It Ain't Pretty, Kid!  #funny #school #kids #humor

Examples of School Pics from Around the Country

So then…I slide some of the framed 8” x 10” school photos of my kids aside, so I can reach the book on the top shelf that my daughter Chloe needs.

There are literally years and years of 8” x 10”s cluttering the shelves. For the most part, they are gorgeous — and they are my children, so I cannot bear to put them away.

So I display literally every school photo they have ever taken.

As I hand Chloe the book, I gesture to one particular school photo of her and say, “I’ve always hated that picture.”

Chloe, curious:     Why?

Me:                       Your hair is dirty.

Chloe:                  What? My hair is “dirty?” That picture was taken 4
years ago!
How in the world can you tell if my hair
was dirty that day!?

Me, curling lip:      Oh, I can tell.

— Darcy Perdu

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(Can you tell when YOUR kid’s hair is dirty in school photos? Or when they’ve worn that shirt twice in a row?  As much as you love your children, are there some photos you really DON’T love? What’s your favorite of the 6 fun photos above?  I LOVE the “Crown of Hair” in the upper left corner!)

How Facebook Helped Me Dodge a Bullet

Facebook Dodge a BulletSo then…my sister Della urges me for the 52nd time to look up people from the past on Facebook so I can catch up with all my old friends from high school and college.

I tell her that I prefer to think of those people as perennially young, vital, and attractive – rather than glimpse them as their current wrinkled, paunchy, older selves. Like me.

To prove my point, I share with her some emails I recently exchanged with one of my high school friends Liz.

TO: Della (my sister)
FROM: Darcy
Subject: Why It’s Better Not To Know

Della, here’s a good example why I don’t wanna participate in Facebook and School Reunions in general. My high school friend Liz sent me this email:
“The other night there was a happy hour thing for alums of our girls’ high school and the boys’ high school because a guy named Tim “Mac” MacIntyre* was coming into town from Nebraska or somewhere up north. I went, and it was fun and all, but am I supposed to remember this guy? He said he remembered me, and I feel horrible for not knowing him. He was a football player all 4 years & graduated the same time we did. Anyway, do you know him? He has a pic on Facebook if you wanna look him up. Catch me up if you know this guy. –Liz”

So I replied:
Omigosh, Liz, you don’t remember that you lost your virginity to Mac?
And he tattoo-ed your name on his inner thigh!
And you signed a contract that if he ever needed a kidney, you would be first in line to donate.
How could you not remember this guy?
(OK, I don’t remember him at all either. Sorry. I even looked him up on Facebook and didn’t recognize him.)
The only football player I remember was Kevin Riley* who I thought was pretty dreamy — but he was very shy. I asked him to a Sadie Hawkins dance and he declined! I prefer to think he objected to dancing in general, and not to me in particular. But I will never know!
— Darcy

Then Liz sent me this response:
Thanks, and I’m glad I don’t have total amnesia for my high school days! I do have some further scoop on Kevin Riley*. He married a friend of mine and they had 5 kids and then a few years ago, he had some kind of midlife crisis and divorced her and moved in with a younger woman in Texas, last I heard. So, be glad he refused your dance invitation; that could have been you! — Liz

So my dear sister, do you see what I mean? Prior to this email exchange, I had fondly recalled Kevin as that dreamy football player who was so shy, that most other girls didn’t notice him, but I had a crush on him. And in my mind, he was young and cute and muscular — and represented a cool “what if” fantasy if he HAD said yes to the Sadie Hawkins dance.

But NOW I picture him as some plump, balding, desperate middle-aged man having a midlife crisis and being such a jerk that he dumped his wife and 5 kids to run off to Texas with some cheap young floozy.

THIS is Why It’s Better Not to Know.
–Darcy

My sister Della responds:
OR…maybe his wife was a pyromaniac, kleptomaniac, nymphomaniac shrew who stole things, set fires, and slept with his friends — and he is still dreamy, cute and muscular, but he had to leave for the safety of his children. Jeez — Why do you always think the worst of people?

(But you still dodged a bullet — ‘cuz he’s got FIVE kids. Who needs that hassle?)
— Della

(*not their real names, by the way, to protect their identities!)

Ha!  Indeed, sister, indeed!  Who needs that hassle?  Better the Texas floozy than me!

— Darcy Perdu

(Any Facebook posts or Reunion events where you discovered your crush has not aged well – or hasn’t turned out the way you thought? How about that mean girl in gym class – what happened to her? Anyone who HAS held up surprising well – or turned out really nicely? Share updates on your classmates in the Comments Section below; just protect their identities!)

How Facebook Helped Me Dodge a Bullet P Small

Why She Called Me a Wise Ass

Poodle Skirt

So then…my friend Mindy sends me and her other pals an email asking if any of us have an outfit that her young daughter Amanda can wear to a school performance:

Mindy writes:
Does anybody have a poodle skirt we could borrow? Amanda needs it for a school concert.  Let me know. Thanks! — Mindy

I respond:
I do not have a poodle skirt. Or a poodle. I have a skirt. It is XL and long. Amanda could use it as a tent. If she needs a tent, let me know. — Darcy

Mindy writes:
I am surrounded by wise asses!!! — Mindy

I respond:
Yes — wise asses — and WIDE asses — hence, the XL skirt. – Darcy

— Darcy Perdu

(Are you a wise ass too? Give an example!  Did you ever have a Poodle Skirt? Or a poodle? Or a skirt? Share in the Comments Section below.)

Funny Tips to Survive Family Events (aka Betrayal Times 6!)

Funny Tips to Survive a Family Get-Together #funny #family #graduation #party #college #school #humor

So then…I smile that “oh-I’m-so-happy-to-be-here-but-secretly-I’m-dying-inside” smile at my sister’s family as I settle down into the metal folding chair for my nephew Brian’s graduation ceremony from a large Florida university.

A four-hour graduation ceremony.

Four hours of the college admin officials reading off names of the 732 college seniors that I don’t know, just so we can witness the 16 seconds it takes for my nephew’s name to be called and for him to accept the diploma.

I’ve flown cross-country for the event and have truly enjoyed spending time with my Mom and my sister’s family all weekend – and I’m delighted to witness my nephew’s accomplishment – but now is the hot, sweaty, mind-numbingly boring ceremony that I have to suffer through in the name of being a good auntie, sister, and daughter.

I had actually toyed with the idea of bringing a book! I love to read — and had, in fact, been reading a great book on the plane over to Florida which I could easily bring into the auditorium with me today.

But I could just imagine the shocked, stern look from my mother if I dared pull out a book at such a special occasion. And I could just imagine the hurt look on my sister’s face as I casually perused my tome while her first-born achieved his highest academic accomplishment. Not to mention, I would be a horrible role model for my other two nephews who are high school-aged. And I worry I’d get that disappointed shake of the head from my sister’s husband.

So I settle in for the long road ahead, on my hard metal chair, in the balcony, peering over the rail at the 732 college seniors on the main floor with my nephew. Their caps and gowns are a bright blue, against the backdrop of the thousands of friends and families who came to witness the momentous event.

As the speeches drone on, I am so out of my mind with boredom, I want to stick hot pokers in my eyes.

Then I see my youngest nephew next to me open a paperback and start reading!

My head snaps down the row to my sister to see if she has noticed this affront! But she is busy digging in her purse for her book! She hands a running magazine to her husband and her other son mumbles, “Where’s mine?” My sister reaches into her purse and hands him his book!

What the what! Are you kidding me?

I whip my head around to my Mom, to see if she is as shocked as I am – and she is fumbling in her purse for her book.

I kid you not.

My own mother. My upstanding, respectful, always appropriate mother. Et tu, Brute’?

The entire frikkin’ family each brought their own book to cope with this four-hour dull-athon – and I’m the only moron who was polite enough and caring enough and sweet enough to think I was supposed to pay respectful attention to the whole damn ceremony!

And did any of them think to let ME know their plan? Noooo.
And did any of them think to bring ME some reading material? Noooo.

I should ask my sister just like her son asked: “Where’s mine?” In fact, I should shout it LOUD in front of all these students and their families! WHERE IS MINE??!!

MINE is sitting on the table back in my frikkity-frik hotel room!

Oh the injustice.

So instead, I channel all my righteous indignation and outrage into paying SUPER CLOSE attention to everything that happens in the speeches, the ceremony, the calling of the graduates’ names.

I send telepathic messages to my nephew Brian, “I’m here for you, buddy. The rest of your family doesn’t care about you – they’re all reading BOOKS and MAGAZINES. But I’M paying attention. I’ll be able to converse with you about all the details of your special day. I’m on HYPER ALERT for you, buddy!”

When the ceremony finally ends, my ass has fallen asleep, and I am bored out of my skull — but I have painstakingly gathered all sorts of witty tidbits and thoughtful reflections to share with my graduating nephew.

I smile a little smugly as we exit the auditorium – me and the readers.

When we reach Brian, we all hug and congratulate him. Just as I am about to impress him with my observations, my sister asks him, “What’d you think of the ceremony?” —

— to which he replies, “Oh, it was so long! Thank God I had my book!”

I am not frikkin’ kidding.

This is a completely true story.

And I am still bitter about it.

*****
Always bring a book with you. Always. I don’t care if it’s a graduation, a recital, a wedding, or a frikkin’ funeral – BRING A FRIKKIN’ BOOK.

— Darcy Perdu

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Original Illustration for So Then Stories by Mary Chowdhury

(Tell me your tales of graduations, recitals, and ceremonies that made you want to gouge your eyes out. How did YOU pass the time? Did YOU bring books? And if so, why the hell didn’t you tell ME to bring a book to that Florida graduation?) 

That Special Joy When Another Mom Notifies You Just How Oblivious Your Kid Is

That Special Joy When Another Mom Notifies You Just How Oblivious Your Kid Is -- Honestly, are ALL kids procrastinators or do some kids have a special knack for being COMPLETELY OBLIVIOUS? SoThenStories.com #funny

So then…she nibbles the walnut brownie I baked and comments on how nicely Tucker and her son Andrew, both age 11, are playing basketball in our backyard.

I beam. This is the first time Linda’s son has come over.  (I’d even tidied up the house and baked some “get-to-know-you” brownies.)

“They’ve had a great afternoon,” I say. “Thanks for letting Andrew come home with us after school. Tucker’s really enjoyed hanging out with him.”

Linda nods, picks up Andrew’s backpack, and heads for the patio door to collect her son. She says, “Yeah, I almost had to cancel though, because Andrew hadn’t made enough progress on his International Fair project yet. But he did a lot last night, so he’s in pretty good shape.”

My pulse quickens. What International Fair project? I ask.

She looks at me as though I’m joking. “The one that’s due Monday.”

Today is Friday.

“Oh, is that, like an optional project, like for a Science Fair, or something?” I ask hopefully.

She turns to me, backpack on her shoulder, and says, “No, this is the big 6th grade History project they’ve supposed to have been working on all semester. Surely Tucker’s told you about it?”

I’m sure I’m turning bright red from embarrassment – and bright white from panic.

“Um, no, he hasn’t mentioned it. What’s due on Monday?”

Well, now she sets the backpack down and turns her attention completely toward me, and braces herself to tell me some very bad news.

“OK, each child picks a country, then they need to write a report on 6 topics of that country, like climate, cuisine, politics, religion, stuff like that.”

I gulp.  Sweat forms on my brow.

International Fair Darcy Concern
“Each report has to be typed up and pasted on a tri-fold poster board with artwork and photos,” she continues.

“Well, um, OK,” I stammer. “I..I think we can work on that this weekend. I can run to the crafts store for the poster board. We can probab-“

“Get the flag materials there too,” she interrupts.

“There’s a flag?” I ask.

“Yes, and a costume.”

“WHAT?”

“Yes, this is why they gave the kids all semester to work on it! They need to make that country’s flag out of fabric and put it on a stick because they’ll carry it in the procession. Then they also need to wear a costume that’s native to the country – it can be homemade, or maybe you have a friend or family member who has something from that country, or—“

She stops as she sees me sit down, about to hyperventilate.

I whisper, “I don’t even know what his country is.”

She winces.

International Fair Linda Explains
“OK, look, I hate to keep going, but you should know the kids also need to cook an authentic dish from their country.” She blurts it out very quickly like she’s ripping off a band-aid. “And they need to have enough bite-size servings for 40 students because all the 6th graders and their parents are invited to the International Fair – which is Monday.” Then super-fast she says, “And it’s 25% of their grade.”

She picks up the backpack again and turns toward the patio door. She looks back at me and I see indecision on her face. Should she flee the scene? Grab her son and run away, kissing him all over for having the good sense to tell her about the International Fair project months ago?

Or should she stay and comfort a fallen comrade in the Mommy Wars?

Please, my eyes beg her. Don’t abandon me. Explain more about this International Fair of which you speak. Help me, guide me, tell me my son’s frikking country, something, anything, for God’s sake. What’s your son’s country? Can our sons choose the same country? Can my son join your son and share his flag and his tri-fold and his cuisine? I beg of you…

Of course I don’t say any of those words out loud. But she can see them in my eyes. So she pats me on the shoulder, opens the patio door, and calls for Andrew.

The boys come running in. Linda says a nervous goodbye to an oblivious Tucker, hastily thanks me, hustles Andrew out the door, and snags another brownie on her way out.

Bitch. She annihilates me AND still has time to take a treat?

I shouldn’t have thought that. Of course she’s not a bitch. Why shoot the messenger when there is somebody much more appropriate to receive my wrath?

As the front door closes, I turn to Tucker, narrow my eyes, and ask in a chillingly low voice, “Did you know there was an International Fair project due on Monday?”

He stuffs a brownie bite in his mouth and says brightly, “Yeah, but it’s like a Science Fair or something – it’s optional.

I grip the handles of the chair. “Tucker.It.Is.Not.Optional.It.Is.25%.Of.Your.Grade!”

He shrugs, says, “Huh,” and takes another bite.

I look at him with wonder that this truly carefree child emanated from the womb of a Type A hyper-organized, compulsive pre-planner like myself.

“Linda said the teachers have been talking about this International Fair all semester. Did you think they would spend that much time talking about an optional project?” I ask.

He screws up his face and lifts his shoulders in a gesture of Hey, who knows what’s on the minds of those crazy teachers?

International Fair Tucker Shrugging
I take a breath. “Tucker,” I say. “Do you even know what country you have? And if you chose a country, what did you think you were choosing it FOR, since you thought the project was optional?

He finishes the last bite of the brownie and says, “Oh yeah, I chose Mexico. I thought it was like ‘Hey, where would you like to visit if you could pick any country?’ And I picked Mexico because I love Mexican food.”

“Well, I’m glad you do, Tucker. I’m glad you do. Because you are going to be making Mexican food all weekend. And a flag and a costume and 6 reports! YOU ARE GOING TO BE ALL MEXICO ALL THE TIME FOR THE NEXT 48 HOURS!!”

And thus began one of the most painful, stressful weekends in the history of school projects.

Ay Caramba!

International Fair Tucker Color
— Darcy Perdu

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Original Illustrations for So Then Stories created by Shelly at Shell Graphics

(Any projects that snuck up on you or your kids? Any surprise tests? Or how about the “oh-yeah-I-need-36-cupcakes-for-school-tomorrow-Mom” at 9:00 at night? Share your Stories and Comments below! I LOVE to read them!)

International Fair Hearing the News Color

Funny Difference between Boys & Girls – or Perhaps Personality Types?

Funniest Difference between Boys and Girls (The time those crazy dames made my son's head explode!)  #funny #boys #girls #school #humor

So then…Chloe gleefully slathers the glue all over the “roof” of the cardboard box, while her 5th grade classmate Hailey meticulously presses small stones and rocks into the glue.

The kitchen table is strewn with art materials, scissors, markers, cardboard, and enough rocks to fill a quarry.

The girls are in all their glory, painstakingly affixing the rocks one by one to cover the entire 17th century “house” for the school’s historical village project. It’s taking them hours — and they could not be happier.

Tucker, 7th grade, walks in the kitchen to grab a snack bar, sees the massive array of art materials scattered everywhere and asks, “Is that due tomorrow?”

(In Tucker’s world, one would never THINK of starting a project unless, in fact, it IS due tomorrow.) (Or sometimes even — due last week.)

Chloe, fingers dripping glue, looks up and says, “No, it’s due next month.”

Tucker’s face is perplexed. His brain is having difficulty grasping that concept.

He moves over to the table and looks closer at the stone house. He asks, “It’s for history, huh?”

Chloe places a white stone near the little chimney and says, “Yeah, it’s for extra credit.”

Now Tucker’s face depicts utter confusion.

His little brain is screaming: “What? Doing a project a month BEFORE it’s due — and you don’t even HAVE to do the project? WHAAAAAT?!?

He’s like one of those broken robots that keeps ramming its head into the wall, with arms robotically flailing, muttering, “THIS.DOES.NOT.COMPUTE. THIS.DOES.NOT.COMPUTE.”

His brain is literally about to EXPLODE.

Finally, he calms himself with the knowledge that no such absurdity would befall him.

He shakes his head at the folly of these little girls, slips a couple of the stones in his pocket unnoticed, takes a bite of the snack bar, and strolls out into his carefree life.

— Darcy Perdu

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(Is this a common difference between boys and girls? Or just the difference between personality types? Which category do your kids fall into – and do they get that from YOU?)

Illustrated for So Then Stories by Stefano Marchio

How I Figured Out My Daughter Was NOT Switched at Birth

So then…she unpacks her backpack on the kitchen table and begins prattling about her school day.

“So Mom, you know Mrs. Reed?”

“Yep – 5th grade English, right?” I say as I cut up an apple with peanut butter for her snack.

Chloe stacks her books on the homework table, then comes over to the counter to face me.

She says, “At the beginning of class today, Mrs. Reed stood up and said, ‘Class, today we’re going to talk about nouns. Different types of nouns, when and how to use nouns, and why they’re important. We’re not going to talk about anything else but NOUNS today. It’s just going to be NOUNS, NOUNS, NOUNS.’ I raised my hand and said, ‘So…no verbs, then?’

I burst out laughing. “Chloe, that’s hilarious! Did she laugh?”

“No!” exclaims Chloe. “She took me seriously. I was mortified! She just gave me an annoyed look and said, ‘No, Chloe, we’re just going to talk about nouns — like I was slow or something.”

I try to look sympathetic, but I’m cracking up.

I can just see my daughter pulling off a mock innocent question like that – “So…no verbs, then?”

But Chloe looks incensed that the teacher thought she was inept enough to miss the point of the “ALL NOUNS, ALL DAY” speech.

I ask her if at least the students laughed. She says, “Only two kids got it and laughed. The rest of them just looked at me with pity!”

I give her a huge hug and laugh softly into her hair. “Oh honey, give them time to get to know your sense of humor. Before long, you’ll only need to silently raise an eyebrow and everyone will crack up knowing what you’re thinking. You are absolutely HILARIOUS.”

She leans back, smiles at me, and raises an eyebrow.

–Darcy Perdu

(So what personality traits did YOUR kids inherit from YOU? What skills, talents, habits — come on, ‘fess up – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Any funny stories you recall about your teachers – or your kids’ teachers? Share a Story or a Comment below. I LOVE to read your comments!)