No shoes, no service

Lately, Hannah has been expressing a lot of anxiety about P.E. at school. Every morning as we're getting dressed she wails, "Oh, I hope I don't have P.E. today. Do you think I have P.E. today? Oh, please, NO P.E. TODAY!" One would think that she is being asked to spend her childhood in a hot, sweaty factory assembling plastic toys for ten cents a day instead of playing a little kickball on the playground with her friends.

This has been going on for several weeks now. She loves and adores absolutely everything else about school. Riding the bus? Awesome. Her friends? Perfect. I think she even has a major crush on her music teacher, Mr. Eddy. But when it comes to P.E.? It's a nightmare.

And I'll be honest, I have for the most part ignored this. I've simply not worried about it. Felt like it was one of those things that would work itself out.

Because you know what, kid? I hated P.E., too. I'm still traumatized by those years spent in my middle school gym uniform - an orange shirt, blue short-shorts, and knee socks - holding my head and bracing for the worst as the boys pummeled the girls in dodge ball. I was never what you would call athletically gifted and did not enjoy humiliating myself in front of my entire class. So I get it. But what can I do? She's at the beginning of what will be several years of torture.

But finally, I decided that the time had come to have a talk. I thought I'd use this proud parenting moment to help her understand that even if she doesn't like something, it's important to try. I'd even throw in my favorite lecture on the necessity of physical fitness (just hold on, let me put down my donut first). I was going to help her toughen up, deal with these issues, and get past them.

So I sat down and began to ask her what she hated about P.E.

And do you know what I found out? Apparently, because she is not in sneakers, they will not let her participate with the rest of the class. Anyone who doesn't wear sneakers, has to stay inside and bounce a ball against the wall, while the rest of the class plays outside.

It has come to this.

I have become THAT parent.

You know who I'm talking about. The one that sends their child to school with a lunchbox full of candy and cheetos. Or sends them without lunch. Or money, even. Or shoes, in my case.

Now you have to understand that the child wears dresses and tights EVERY. SINGLE. SECOND that she is awake and breathing. And because I am trying REALLY HARD to deny all that is white trash inside me, I refused to let her wear sneakers with a dress.

At the beginning of the school year, I bought her a very cute pair of Sketchers, which in my mind, WERE her sneakers (not to mention the ten other pairs of non-sneaker-like shoes taking up space in her closet). These have a rubber sole on the bottom, just like a sneaker, and cost a lot more than those ugly, light-blinking princess ones she wanted. But because they don't lace up and look like a traditional sneaker, the gym teacher has kept her inside.

Had they sent a note home, or called, I would have immediately gotten her the proper shoes. I may go to Wal-Mart in my sweats, and [gasp] without make-up, but dammit, my kids are well-dressed in public.

So now, in the eyes of the school, I am white trash mom no more. And in true Hannah form, she proudly wears those ugly pink and white sneakers with her dresses and tights. Which makes us look like white trash anyway.

I think I'll give up. I'm just going to throw my hair into a scrunchee, put on a moo-moo, rat my bangs, and celebrate with dinner at Chuck-E-Cheese.

At least there, I'll be with my own kind.