“Well, I just figured out that I was supposed to register Tiny Tot in Kindergarten two weeks ago,” I lamented, waltzing into my sister’s office, plopping down beside her, and making her stop her actual job to listen to my complaints on parenthood. “How do the other parents know when to register their kids? Is there some mystical email list I’m not involved in?”
My sister laughed, saying, “Kindergarten Round Up was on the fourth at Sally Francis’s school. I think you can go to the school and tell them you missed it. Let me write a list of the things you need to bring when you go.”
“If only I had a person who knew when things occurred in the school district, because her own child goes to school within that same, exact district,” I said, voice laden with sarcasm. Then I relented, watching her scribble down a growing list of personal items: Tiny’s Social Security card, Tiny’s Birth Certificate, Tiny’s Immunization records, my Driver’s License, my monthly Mortgage Statement, my current electricity bill. “Don’t forget to add, ‘The Blood of My First Born Child.’ But, seriously, I have to walk into the school and bring stuff?”
“The blood thing would go farther than the documentation, I think,” she said, deadpan. Then she smiled, and pushed the list toward me. “They’ll give you paperwork to fill out, and you need to bring copies of all of these. Just walk into the school, act ditzy and nice, and they’ll be helpful. Don’t rant. Don’t let them know you’re irritated. Just do the nice, sweet, ditzy thing.”
Ah, well. I perfected that early in life. It’s how no one–with the exception of my teachers–knew I was a smart, geeky kid. Okay, they might have known. I hauled books around in my purse, and pulled them out to ignore social activities going on around me. Still, seeing as I smiled a lot, and spoke like a Valley Girl, I had them all fooled.
I trekked back to the house, after leaving my sister’s office, intent on finding those documents. Last year, toward the end of 2014, I sat down and unearthed all important Tiny documents, and then put them where I would remember to find them. Totally nailed the organized mom thing, for once in my life. My moment of organization allowed me to walk to the folder containing his social, birth certificate, and immunization records, and pull them all out. Had I not spent six hours finding those documents in late December, Kindergarten enrollment would have been nightmarish.
Documents in hand, I walked to my computer, and pulled up the district’s website. Even though my sister had mentioned filling out forms at the school, I figured I should see if I missed any pertinent information. At the very bottom of the site, in purple letters, there was a banner, declaring, “Pre-K and Kindergarten Enrollment is here! May 4-8! 8:30 AM to 11:30 AM!”
Yay! Kindergarten enrollment was weeks ago, and I was just now getting to it! But the exclamation marks, and the colorful banner, make me feel better about myself!
Sarcasm. That was sarcasm.
I clicked the link. A page loaded, with 22 point font, and cheerleader aggression, announcing, “Let’s Get Ready to Enroll!” Parents, everywhere! You can do it!
Please, Enroll! Please, Please, Enroll!
There were four steps listed: find your school, enroll online, requirements for registration, and completing the registration.
Before Tiny was born, I knew the school he would attend. Yes, I probably should have gone to the school then, but I figured I had five years to figure the process out. That theory worked out well for me.
Because the link was up, I started filling out the registration forms. There were the standard questions: parent’s name, email, phone number, work information, salary, household number, and address. There were normal questions about my child: his name, his birthdate, his allergy needs. And then, there were the questions that made me sit back, and say, “What the hell? Are these real questions?”
For the next twenty minutes, as I filled out these forms, I kept a running commentary in my head. Sometimes out loud, but mostly mental. As the questions grew more ridiculous, I started saving them, in order to blog about the experience of enrollment.
Here were the best Kindergarten Enrollment Questions. These were the ones that made me scratch my head, roll my eyes, and pray for humanity.
Is this parent allowed to pick up a child from school?
At first, I ignored the question. It asked if I had custody of Tiny Tot, and if I had permission to pick him up from school. Um, shouldn’t parents be the main people picking up their child from school? And, if not, wow. There have to be parents out there answering “No” to these questions, and that fact floors me.
Yes, I am Tiny’s parent, and yes, I can pick him up from school.
Have you ever moved to join work in agriculture or seasonal fishing?
Wait, what? How was this a relevant question? Do those people not pay taxes, or something? Will agricultural workers, and seasonal fishers, have to show other forms to the school? Why would this question even exist?
Is your child an Unschooled Asylee or Refugee?
Is my child a what? With all seriousness, what is an unschooled asylee? From what I gleaned on Google, it’s a Texas-only question. Not only would I have to show my current mortgage statement to the school, but I have to provide a current electric bill, for proof of residency.
Have they given special schooling rights to unschooled asylees and refugees? The answer, of course, is yes.
Is your child not living in a residence owned or rented by parent or legal guardian?
This question made me laugh, but I realized that, if the answer had been “No,” that mortgage statement and electric bill would have been a moot point.
Does your child live in a foster care facility, or in custody of CPS?
Around this time, I started to wonder about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That, and I realized there were people saying “Yes” to these questions. I also wondered if the parents saying yes were the very same parents who allowed their children to walk to the neighborhood park alone.
That was sarcasm, again.
Is your child special needs, dyslexic, or 504?
As a former teacher, I knew this question meant, “Do we need to put an IEP in place, to better serve the needs of your child?”
Back when I was teaching, I had a former student who came into my classroom without being able to read, and with special needs. It took forever to get the school into a meeting to even discuss the need for an IEP. Not even the mother would attend those sessions. That alone made me wonder if she had answered this question wrong.
Is your child in the Gifted and Talented program?
Man, did I want to say, “Yes!” … But, Tiny is only gifted to me. His talents are my points of parental pride. After this question, however, they asked how much money had been received from the G/T program. I didn’t know people received incentives for their G/T children.
Has your child ever failed TAKS or STAAR?
Would they not allow registration if the answer is yes? Could they deny a child entry to the school if they’ve failed the standardized tests?
Is your child pregnant?
Is your child a parent?
Does your student’s child reside in the place of residence?
Is your child in the care of a Custody Protection or Regulatory Services?
If he were, would CPS be the one filling out the form, or would the parent? And, if the parent filled out the form, would they feel the amount of shame necessary to answer this question with a “Yes?”
Then I started thinking, “Maybe they mean Witness Protection?” If they did, um, wouldn’t that defeat the purpose?
Has your child been in a mental ward, insane asylum, substance abuse clinic, halfway house, or foster care?
I loved this question. Actually loved it. I started laughing so hard, I nearly spit soda out of my nose. Why? Because this question lumps foster kids with insane drug abusers.
Code of Conduct form: requires student signature.
So, … they can decipher his signature from mine, across the span of the Internet. I went ahead and typed his name in, anyway. Because, how do they know?
Electronic signature attesting that I am my child’s parent, filling out these forms for my kid.
Basically, I could have been anyone with the information completing the form. I could have had my next door neighbor complete the form for me, and say they were me. Again, how do they know? It’s the Internet!
I might not even be me!
Filling out these forms was an eye-popping experience. It made me question the children my own child will socialize with over the next thirteen years. It also made me wonder about the parents I would interact with throughout the same duration. Still, I filled out the paperwork, submitted it, brought everything to the school, and completed Tiny’s Kindergarten registration. Oh, yeah, and I did the nice, ditzy, “please help me figure this out” attitude.
It might have even worked.
Tiny’s been enrolled in Kindergarten! Watch out, world! I have no clue what’s happening, next!