Wednesday, June 17, 2015

8 Tips For Surviving Your School's Fair

This evening, I'm sitting in a lawn chair parked in front of my daughter's elementary school. After seven hours of being cooped up learning on this lovely Summer day, she sprinted back to school for this, the event of all events, The Spring Fair. This annual gathering promises an evening of delight complete with inflatables (water and dry), a tiny train, carnival games, crafts, and the opportunity to cavort with her friends.

I'm less enthusiastic. Because she is my second child, it's my 10th year at this fair and they haven't changed the line-up in all of those years. So as I sit in my chair, let me share

8 Tips For Surviving Your School's Spring Fair

1.  Review With Your Child That They Are ONLY To Go Home With You (or whomever you designate). Our community is pretty safe, but I don't want Diva thinking that if she can't find me she can leave with someone else. Stress this before you even GET to the venue. 

2.  Prepay if you can. I ordered armbands the day they were announced. Kids are so excited by the prospect of fun, fun, fun that all they want to do is run off. Save yourself trying to find exact change with a hyper child by your side, grab a pre-paid armband, and set your kid free. 

3.  Set Up A Base Camp So They Can Find You.  If your child is old enough that you don't have to follow them, set up a base camp, preferably near some sort of reference point like a big rock, tree, bush, window, etc. Tell the kid where you're going to be and stress that they MUST check in periodically. They'll have to anyway if they want to buy food.

4.  Bring Cash.  Don't kid yourself that you're going to get away without buying anything at this event. Sure, you can bring all the organic, GMO-free stuff you want, but all that will happen is that your child will either A) wind up staring at his friends who are eating pizza or B) begging their friends or you for the crap they're serving. Bring water and maybe a snack or two, but resign yourself to the fact that you WILL be buying something. 

6.  Sit AWAY From The Loudspeakers.  For some reason, PTA people and school personnel don't like telling disc jockeys and entertainers that they're TOO FUCKING LOUD and that the noise level is GOING TO MAKE OUR KIDS HARD OF HEARING. Make your base camp away from the speakers and you can mitigate hearing loss for the both of you. You might even have a prayer of talking and listening to other parents.

7.  Be Prepared For A Tantrum When You Leave.  Understand that if you try to drag your kid away from the event before it officially ends, you're pitting yourself against a tired, wired-up kid who IS going to have a tantrum. Fortunately, it will probably be so loud there that no one will hear you arguing.

8.  Enjoy! The time is coming when you'll be dropping your kid off at an event and you won't get to see them having fun with their friends. Take some photos when they're not looking and remember how they look now. They'll only be this little once. 

We're home, and the Fair is now a memory. After being covered in foam and having her hair sprayed red and white, she's upstairs recuperating. Watching her have a blast was wonderful for me; I wouldn't have traded it for anything. Use these eight tips and you'll get through the Fair with a minimum of problems and, hopefully, a good amount of pleasure!


Yeah.  That's me...right....

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