A few weeks ago, Shaggy Hair Boy did a project at school that involved a life-size cut-out of Michael Stipe's head on a popsicle stick. (Yes, I am aware that this probably says something about the quality of education my kids are getting.) I have no idea what the school project was about, but it left my kids with a cool leftover prop. Skater Boy, this kid who is so quiet that you wouldn't even know he was here except that of course he is always here, decided it would be appropriate to make Michael Stipe part of the family. Make him another extra, if you will. Skater Boy is an extra himself, of course, so he's got this understandable soft spot for musicians who have been cut up and pasted onto cardboard.
So this is the scene that happens about twelve times a day. I am running around doing three things at once, folding laundry, making sandwiches, and in my head writing a stern lecture about plagiarism, and then suddenly, I turn, and there is Michael Stipe staring at me. I'm not sure where Shaggy Hair Boy got this photo of him, but the look on his face is a bit creepy. His head is tilted in the way that indicates he might be a villain of sorts.
So I jump and scream. And the boys all laugh.
"What is Michael Stipe doing in the cupboard? Get him out of there!" I yell. Boy-in-Black rolls his eyes.
"How is it that you get scared every single time?" he asks. "Do you really think that Michael Stipe would be in our cupboard or in the refrigerator or inside the washing machine? That's not even logical."
Boy-in-Black is right, of course. There is no logical reason why I should scream when I see Michael Stipe's face staring at me from the bathroom mirror or the edge of the bookcase or from inside the fireplace. The boys are convinced that my continually screaming - and this has been happening multiple times every day - is a sign that their Mom has seriously lost touch with reality.
My point to this post was going to be something about education. About how, when it comes right down to it, playing with cut-outs of Michael Stipe's head is far more valuable than learning how to take standardized tests. Because playing with Michael Stipe's head teaches important lessons about reality, which clearly cannot be learned by filling in little bubbles with a number two pencil. And about how doing well on standardized tests is a useless skill that becomes obsolete as soon as you leave school; I mean, it's not even a fun party skill. Fun party skills involve such things as knowing how to light a match from a match book with only one hand, and I'm pretty sure that's not on the new standardized test. But I lost the thread of argument before it even started, when I turned and saw Michael Stipe's head taped to my office window.
I don't care what anyone thinks; those eyes are creepy.
So I will end this post with gratitude for the educational value of parenting. Thank goodness, I have children to teach me things. As Boy-in-Black has so patiently explained to me, over and over again, Michael Stipe would not fit into my refrigerator. This is information worth knowing.