Have you ever been in kindergarten orientation and almost rolled your eyes back into your head because the rules they take the time to go over are so ridiculous? I have.
"No weapons allowed in the building." Really Super Nanny? I'm glad you told us that. I was all set to send my 5-year-old to school with a set of nunchucks just in case anybody gets out of hand at recess. (I do realize that there have been school shootings and this is a true safety concern, but I can't help but have visuals of kindergarteners smuggling in throwing stars and nunchucks to duke it out, Chuck Norris style, on the playground.)
"No cell phones allowed on school property." Come on! I can understand this for preteens and teenagers. But for pre-K and kindergarten, do we really need to talk about this? What kind of idiot sends their 5-year-old to school with a cellphone? And what 5-year-old even has a cellphone?
Um, apparently me and mine.
After only a handful of school days, Emma, my kindergartener, was getting into the car one afternoon, when her teacher leaned in the window and said, "Did you know Emma brought an iPhone to school today?"
My face flushed and I whipped around to look at Emma, who had assumed her "guilty" face: lips clenched together, careful not to smile or frown, her eyebrows raised almost to her hairline and her eyes opened so widely that you can see the whites of her eyes all the way around her irises.
"Emma!" I gasped.
Her teacher continued, "I told her not to do it again and that the principal doesn't allow children to bring phones to school and she promised she wouldn't."
She closed the door.
My mother passed her old iPhone on to my kids when she upgraded and we have kept it as a crunch time toy. Stuck in the doctor's office for hours on end? Voila! No more log-rolling on the germ-infested floors.
Also, my kids are willing to trade minutes of extra chore time to earn minutes on the iPhone. (Parents of my parents generation, don't you start that "Back in my day" business. My parents and my friends' parents weren't above trading Atari time for us to go above and beyond what was already expected of us in the chore department. And if you had children before there were video games to bribe them with, then I'm just real sorry for you. You deserve a gold star. And a piece of candy. And 15 minutes on the Wii or the iPhone.)
I normally keep the phone on top of the refrigerator because even Emma, my future acrobat or possible CIA assassin, can't reach it there, which means they have to ask for my permission to use it.
I'm sure she thought she was going to play a little Angry Birds at nap time while all those other babies in her class were sleeping, but she got busted and I hope she always does. My biggest prayer for all of my children is that they always get caught when they break rules. I figure this will keep us out of bigger trouble later on down the road.
(Robin O'Bryant is an author, humorist and speaker).