Dear Parents: I’m sorry I turned your child green and gave him or her a mustache

There are a lot of things grad school will never prepare you for. One of those things is drafting an email to parents with the subject line “I’m sorry I turned your child green and gave him or her a mustache.”

Our day started with an exchange of Valentines. Temporary tattoos are very popular. Cute animals, peace signs, superheroes… and mustaches. After reminding them that these things stay on for at least a day, I let them go wild. It was hilarious! Picture a group of 24 little kids wearing pretty realistic looking mustaches. I did consider what their parents would think, but in the long run I figured it was fine.

On to the next activity! After reading Dr. Suess’ Bartholomew and the Oobleck earlier in the week, we had fun with our own oobleck- cornstarch, water, and green food coloring. If you never had the chance to play with this, I feel sorry for you. Your childhood was seriously lacking, and you should go to the store immediately and buy cornstarch. The result is a gooey, amazing semi-solid liquid that you can have a lot of fun with! After the kids had been playing with it for a few minutes, I noticed something- Their hands were green. I had apparently added wayyyyy too much food coloring. They looked like the ninja turtles. But with mustaches!

I wasn’t too worried about sending them home with mustaches, but with mustaches AND bright green hands? Bright green arms, even, on the kids who had really dug in. I couldn’t look at them without laughing.

When we all trooped off to lunch, the reactions from the other kids were priceless. Mustached heads held high, my kids ate their lunches with all the dignity a turtle with facial hair can muster. They loved it.

One of my former students stopped me and asked, “What did you do to your students?” “Me?” I asked indignantly. “Why is it my fault?” He raised his eyebrows. “They’re green and they have mustaches.” “So?” I asked. “Maybe they did it without me knowing.” “Aren’t you supposed to be in charge?” He asked. “You’re just jealous I never turned you green.” I told him. He nodded. “I am, actually.”

Two of my students have parents who work in the school. I stopped one of them in the staff room. “In a purely hypothetical way, what would your reaction be if your son came home with green arms and a mustache?” She shrugged. “Typical Friday.” Now I just cross my fingers the rest of the parents feel that way.


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