To tell the truth, I was never real fond of those "I've got a Terrific Kid!" bumper stickers you see on the steroidal SUVs in the carpool line.
I mean, everybody's kid is terrific, right?
What kind of insecure weirdness is at work when we must have a bumper sticker on our cars just so everybody else will believe it, too?
Who cares? Should we drive more carefully in the presence of a vanload of Officially Designated Terrific Kids. ("Watch 'em, Marvin; that's the future of our country ridin' in that Yukon.")
What kind of a parent believes that this "terrific kid" endorsement is an accurate tool for predicting future successes?
Yoo-hoo! Over here, everyone! That would be me.
It's not easy to admit that at last week's Terrific Kids assembly at my daughter's school, I was as green as a toad when two of her friends were designated "terrific" and stepped to the stage to receive their stickers and certificates.
The very smallest part of me wondered, "What's so terrific about them?"
They're adorable, sure. Good students, absolutely. Helpful and obedient? Check. So where's OUR bumper sticker?
Oh, this is just so embarrassing. I've now officially become one of the people I used to make fun of. What's worse, I'm not sure it won't rub off on my kid. Will she take on my awful competitive nature and begin to say things like, "Hmmmm, sure would be a shame if Little Susie suddenly did something that was slightly less 'terrific.'"
I don't think I have to worry about that just yet. So far, my kid seems oblivious to any of this and prefers to concentrate on her poetry studies, which are frankly limited these days to: "Girls go to college to get more knowledge; boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider."
See, she's still a kid; so I have to make sure that she enjoys her childhood and doesn't get caught up in her mommie's midlife bumper sticker envy.
Along with Terrific Kids, there are also (for the older kids) those "My Kid is an Honor Student at BlahBlah Elementary."
I used to laugh till soda came out of my nose when I first saw those fabulous bumper stickers that said things like: "My kid beat up your honor student." Not because I like kids pummeling one another but because, let's face it, it's hilarious.
And don't even get me started on D.A.R.E., a boondoggle of an anti-drug program that herds wee children into a room and warns them they could become John Belushi one day.
What could be more stupider? At least we're guaranteed a bumper sticker.