everyone’s a winner at the lollipop tree!

did not steal candy
can I get reward for that?
like, maybe, candy?

Yesterday was the fall festival at the wee one’s school. I imagined it would be booths scattered around the playground area, and happy people skipping by, with balloons and funnel cakes, enjoying the beautiful fall weather. Instead, it was a bunch of kids and sour faced adults crammed into the school’s cafeteria. Not every adult was sour faced, some were getting a kick out of playing games and taking pictures of the very, very few kids who came dressed up. But many looked positively glum.

I know there’s no budget for bouncy things and funnel cakes and it wasn’t fair of me to expect that, but I did and so I was disappointed. I also realize that the fall festival is not for the parents, but for the kids, so it isn’t even fair for me to be disappointed.

I volunteered to run the Lollipop Tree for a little while. The grouchy old lady in charge of it before me told me to make sure I replenished the tree with lollipops, but only every other one should be a winner. Also, I noted that she wasn’t letting any kid have a second chance, even though there were a million Blow Pops (what you won as your prize) and only about twenty kids, if even that.

So I took my seat, waved bye to the grouchy old lady, and immediately began to buck the system. I made almost all of the lollipops winners. And I gave kids up to three turns. Yes, that’s right. I stuck it to the Man (but only after deeming there were enough Blow Pops to survive my rule-breaking).

I shouted, "Everyone’s a winner at the lollipop tree!" over and over, and made the people eating hot dogs in the "stuff your face" area of the cafeteria that was close to my perch glare at me for being cheerful at a festival. Or maybe they were glaring at me because I was being loud. Eh, either way.

Sigh. I’m glad the kids all seemed to be having fun. And at least a third of the adults seemed to be enjoying themselves. But it sucked to be inside on a gorgeous day. It also kind of sucked that the principal stood around, spinning his ID badge like a Bobby with his baton. It seemed for a while that he was just standing there, wishing he had a tall police hat, praying for some rabble rouser to cause a stink so he’d have something to do. Eventually, though, I did see him helping out with the chili for the Frito pies, so I’m happy he dropped the Bobby imitation. The vice principal seemed to be truly enjoying herself, so that was good.

Ah, well. It’s silly for the fall festival to make me rethink my decision as far as the wee one’s schooling is concerned, but it kind of has. I love the wee one’s teacher, and I think he’s doing very well in school. He loves it, he’s happy, he has tons of friends, and I’m very happy with the diversity he’s part of everyday. But the school itself… I still don’t know. I want to love it. And I want the reason why I can’t quite love it yet to be that I’m just too hard to please. But I don’t know if that’s it. It’s too early for me to be able to figure anything out, but the overwhelming feeling I have is that the wee one is very lucky to have an above average teacher at an average school. Is that OK? Is that enough for us? Do I accept the average-ness and throw myself into things like the PTA to try and make it an above average school? Or do I accept that an average school is OK, but start looking around at other choices for next year? I don’t know. It’s too early to make a decision… and yet I worry a little bit.

If only these things were as easy to figure out as a lollipop tree. A happily rigged lollipop tree where you get a dozen chances to win.

2 thoughts on “everyone’s a winner at the lollipop tree!

  1. Having taught at both a below-average school and a fantastic school, I can tell you that YOU make the biggest difference in your kid’s education. They’ll thrive anywhere if you’re involved.
    And that’s…..one to grow on.
    (Sorry, I felt a little preachy and had to relieve it by being a jackass)


  2. I also ran the Lollipop tree at our school’s Fall Fun Festival! Our son actually got into the school district next to our “urban” Minneapolis district that everyone thinks is the best around and decided to do the urban schools because we felt that fleeing would just make things worse for the next round of kids. Our son loves school and is doing very well there. It is the teachers and the parents that make a school great. My husband teaches and reminds me that we are not going to like EVERY single teacher we get. When I think back to my own education and how the principal was locked in her office smoking cigs all day! And how they used to group us into smart kids VS dumb kids! Or how the library was in the hallway!!!


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