When Executive Functioning Takes a Vacation, Part 1

Last week, without giving me advanced warning, my Executive Functioning System decided to take some unpaid leave. (Yes, this is a system….it's like the Cardiovascular, Endocrine or Nervous systems only on the cognitive level. And I might be making this crap up but just go with it for the sake of this VERY NON-SEXY post……shoot, I think I just lost half of today's unintentional readers…..)

So, earlier in the week I had awoken to this feeling that there were way too many balls being juggled in the air and I was surely about to drop a dozen or so of them (which Kurt repeatedly confirmed in his panic attacks over having too many balls up in the air…..) I checked my calendar and everything looked normal (which means it was a constant stream of insanely crazy chaos….how's that for redundant?!….but nothing out of the ordinary.)

At any rate, this year I decided I would make an effort to volunteer in each kid's classroom at least once before the school year was out. That may seem weak to some of you über-awesome-moms who are in the classroom weekly and live your life to be the teacher's pet, er, I mean, to be engaged in your child's education, but for people like me who are consistently skating by, hardly able to keep up with the bare minimum of household responsibilities (because chickens are so much more enjoyable than laundry….seriously, they totally are….but really, so is stepping on legos in the middle of the night when your three year old has peed his bed for the third time that week….), the idea of making it into a classroom and being held accountable for helping another 20 kids is like standing at the bottom of Mt. Everest, getting ready to trek up the mountain only naked……and without gear….. or legs. Ok, poor choice of images but really, some of us are just not the classroom volunteering type. I'd rather attempt Mt. Everest with a pack of live hens than have to go judge a teacher by their class for two hours. Wait, what?

Anyway, so I missed out on volunteering for Lily's class parties (she forgot to give me the form which I found a week after the deadline up in the attic being played with by the cats) and so I volunteered to do "Pumpkin Math" instead. She brought home the packet for me and told me repeatedly we needed to bring in a pumpkin. I questioned her regularly because NOWHERE in the packet did it mention needing to bring in a pumpkin but the night before, we went and picked out a small white pumpkin ("Because we will be the ONLY GROUP TO HAVE A WHITE PUMPKIN, MOM! I. MUST. HAVE. A. WHITE. PUMPKIN!") just to be safe. (She was totally right on both counts.) I read the cover letter twice the night before, making sure I understood my role; flipped quickly through the packet, skimming the instructions so that I knew what we were doing; and then put a HUGE GOLD STAR on my mommy chart for being so on top of this volunteering thing. Bam! I got this.  

The day of the Pumpkin Math, after my alarm had gently reminded me that I needed to be at the school, I calmly grabbed the packet, the very WHITE pumpkin that would make our group Lily-original….Lilyriginal….. and headed contently down the lane to the picture perfect school. Which is a complete and total lie…..what really happened is that I was outside trying to wrangle the chickens back into the coop when my phone reminded me a gazillion times that I needed to get to Lily's school but there was this one hen who would not cooperate and after chasing her around and around the coop for over twenty minutes, while simultaneously burning the three Halloween Cookie Cakes I was making for our neighbors and sending away an electrician because I misunderstood what he was there for because I had failed to communicate at all with my nearly frazzled husband, I scrambled into the car, forgetting to grab the pumpkin, bolted back inside, realizing I had burnt the cakes, cursed a few times while I dumped them into the trash, grabbed the pumpkin, and drove like a bat out of hell to get to the school, praying all the while that dumping hot, burnt cookie cakes into the trash wasn't going to burn my house down…..and shoot, did I turn off the oven?

I signed into the office, right on time, (the last parent to arrive but really, did you guys need to be ten minutes early? No! Suck-ups.) and then noticed I was the only one carrying a pumpkin and the only one NOT carrying a bag of accessories like bowls and spoons and carving knives.

Me: "Ok, so, apparently I am THAT parent and didn't realize we were supposed to bring knives…..where did it say we needed to bring that stuff?"

EVERYONE ELSE: "It was in the packet."

Me: "Seriously? But I read through the packet. There was no supply list in mine. Where in the packet was it?"

Silence. No one knew how they knew but EVERYONE knew to bring the supplies. Everyone but me.

Goody-two-shoes: "Oh, don't worry about it. I brought plenty of extras just in case. You can borrow mine."

Me: "Of course you did." Ok, so I just thought that; what I actually said was, "Ooooh thank goodness! Thank you so much! I really appreciate it. But at least I remembered the pumpkin." This was met with quizzical looks by every last parent. Because they are all jerks. And they obviously don't understand the work that goes into getting hens back into the coop…..shoot! I left a hen out….dang hen.

As we walked to the classroom, I flipped back through my packet. Still no supply list. Then, as we began the group project, I saw (on page three), the very first instruction was: Parents, please bring in a bowl, spoons and a carving knife.

Come on, seriously? PAGE THREE?!?! Don't you think that little bit might have been on the cover letter where those severely challenged parents (you know, the ones who only skim the packet) would actually have the chance of seeing it?

At any rate, it all turned out just fine. And even though I was the only parent whose phone camera had no more space left and so could not take a nifty group photo of my child's class behind their five orange jack-o-lanterns and ONE WHITE ONE, I left feeling like I could at least keep my gold mommy star another day, after all, ours was the only jack-o-lantern with 3D cat ears held in place by toothpicks…..and it isn't like I totally failed to go or anything ridiculous like that……

-To be continued-

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