Dmitri has discovered that he has to raise his hand before he can interrupt the teacher to ask a question. I knew this was going to be a problem. Dmitri is full of questions, all day long. I've never known a kid who asks so many questions. Although, as the dishwasher repair guy who put up with Dmitri's neverending stream of questions for over an hour noted, "He only asks the same question one time. I'd keep an eye on that one if I were you!" Yeah, tell me about it.
Dmitri asked me a question last week, ("Mom, why are apples red?") and we talked about it for a while. Those sorts of questions always lead interesting places in our house, from discussions of how humans perceive color (while dogs, on the other hand, don't. "You mean Romeo and Sophie see the world like Jack and the Beanstalk?" I suppose Abbott and Costello isn't a horrible point of reference. :)) to questions of theology ("Did God want apples to be red?") The kids are going to Blake's Apple Orchard this week (one of two field trips the kindergarteners will take this year. Apparently, bussing is cost prohibitive, so they have to limit their field trips. *sigh*) and I guess they were counting apples for math when Dmitri dutifully raised his hand in class to ask his teacher this question.
"What happened when you asked her?" I inquired, curious to know what his teacher's response to the rather daunting and tangential question had been.
"I gave up, Mom." Dmitri sighed. "My arm got tired."
Wow, I had so forgotten about that part of school.
The other thing I was reminded of this week (aside from the fact that my kindergarteners have homework--something I thought I'd be spared at least until next year!) are the annoying fundraisers and corporate bribery.
I hate school fundraisers.
Public schools are funded by the public. Hence the name. Why am I being asked to extort money from my friends and relatives to fund my child's education? Now I'm responsible for pimping Frankenmuth fudge and Market Day meals to my husband's coworkers? I don't think so!
Not only that, but both kids came bouncing off the bus, waving their fundraising packets and howling, "Mommy! We can win PRIZES!"
Ah, the bribery begins. Sell ten rolls of wrapping paper, and you, too, can have a Tweety and Sylvester keychain most likely made in China for less than a penny each by people paid less than a dollar a day... oh and, nevermind that it's probably painted with poisonous lead.
How do you explain that to a five year old?
Now, there's the "Book It" reading incentive program. Read ten books in a month, and you, too, can have a certificate entitling you to a slice of pizza. Of course, this is big business for the not-quite-altruistic Pizza Hut, who is counting on families visiting their restaurant and doing more than just cashing in the freebie.
I don't need an incentive to read to my kids. We probably read ten books in a week. To me, a program like this is not only insulting, it's bribery. And, of course, it works. Because what kindergartener doesn't like or want pizza? Makes me a "bad mommy" if I say no. Which makes me furious with the schools and the corporate machine that initiated the whole thing in the first place.
But corporate bribery doesn't end in childhood, apparently--it just begins there. I opened my mailbox last week to find a letter from our health insurance company. We have an HMO, mostly because it costs us less to do so, although it annoys me to have to choose "their doctors" and get referrals, etc. I was surprised to find that HAP is offering us a $25 gift certificate from Target if Michael and I schedule a cholesterol and diabetes screening before October 22, 2007.