It’s the time of year to fill out all those school forms. Let’s have some fun with it.
A packet of paperwork arrived in the mail last month. I waited until last week to open it. I knew what was inside – a stack of medical forms, permission slips and parental handbooks for my son’s preschool.
Parents spend hours filling out these forms at this time of year. I’m convinced none of these papers are ever read. The school just wants to have an official signature in case something catastrophic and highly unlikely happens on their watch.
Say a runaway tractor plows through the sandbox. Some school official can then say, “Now Mr. Ludwig, I don’t know if you remember, but you signed a form back in late July. Your signature indemnifies the school in the event of any and all wayward tractor accidents.”
Most of these forms require only a date and signature. I signed fewer papers at the title company when we bought our house than I did last week.
After 20 minutes of such paperwork, I was a little slaphappy. That’s when I turned the page and found the portion of the boilerplate forms asking for general information. These questions are intended to allow parents an opportunity to identify any special needs or concerns they have for their child.
I decided to have a little fun. Here are some of my responses:
Child’s Full Name: Peter Vincent Ludwig
Nickname: Stinky Pete
Date of Birth: 11/24/07
Father’s Full Name: Howard A. Ludwig
Occupation/Title: Stay-at-home dad/defender of the known universe
Work hours: Morning, noon and night
Mother’s Full Name: Kathryn E. Ludwig
Occupation/Title: Public servant/pin-up model
Work Hours: 6 a.m. – 7 p.m.
How did you hear of our school? Police reports.
Who may pick up your child from school: Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin and Captain America.
Does your child have any diet restrictions and/or allergies? He’s allergic to authority.
Has your child ever been hospitalized? No. There’ve been about a dozen instances where we probably should have taken Peter to the hospital, but we’re not made of money.
What do you expect your child to gain from his/her experience? I’d like Peter to end the year speaking fluent Mandarin Chinese and not having bitten anyone.
What words does you child use for toileting? Pee-pee, poo-poo and Whopper with cheese.
What should we know about your child? He’ll eat anything with ketchup on it.
Any additional information such as (physical, speech, fears, allergies, behavior, etc.) that your child has? The boy sucks his thumb with the tenacity of a newborn calf.
If school officials actually read these forms (and again I doubt anyone will), they’ll find no useful information. However, they’ll probably pick up one important tidbit – Peter Ludwig’s dad is a real smart ass.
Howard Ludwig is a former business writer who traded his reporter’s notebook for a diaper bag, becoming a stay-at-home dad.