Posted by: Patti Dickinson | 05/23/2014

Mrs. Doubtfire and a Bad Day in the Classroom

book signing 7Sitting in the classroom at the end of the day, shooting the breeze with some of the kids, waiting for the dismissal bell to ring:

Kid #1 to Kid #2

“Do you know Mrs. Dickinson has two sons and six daughters?”

Kid #1 to me: “How old is your oldest boy, Mrs. Dickinson?”

Me: “32”

Kid #1 “Wow. You’re only 42?”

Me: “Yup.” (I wasn’t about to get into a math lesson here while things were going so well for me.)

Kid #2 to Kid #1 “Oh, I thought she was 46.” (46 spoken like that was from B.C. )

That’s the good news. You’ve got to be tough to teach in middle school. Certainly not for the faint of heart or someone with a wobbly self esteem.

Here’s the bad news:

Me to Student: “Please don’t get up without permission. We’ve got too many kids out of their seats.”

Student: “But….”

Me: “That doesn’t require anything more than an “okay.”

Student: Muttering all the way back to his desk, “I think she looks just like Mrs. Doubtfire.”

Ouch. For a split second, I wondered about my hairdo. My glasses. My wardrobe. Frankly, I thought I was kind of hip. Now I was certainly second-guessing that. Within three minutes I had gone from a spring-in-my-step forty-something to Mrs. Doubtfire? WHAT???? I even had relatively new jeans with a few spots where the fabric was worn through. Some of my friends would be saying, “Why would you buy jeans that were already worn out?” I don’t say stuff like that, and I thought that would give me a leg up.

Okay. Confession time. You know where I’m going with this, right? I came home and Googled Mrs. Doubtfire. Okay, okay…..I just had to have an in-the-privacy-of-my-own-home look. You know, comparing features. It’d been a while since I’d seen the movie and I wanted to see exactly where I had gone wrong.

Maybe I need a nose ring. A tattoo. A miniskirt.  Green hair. Get rid of what my kids call mom-jeans. Botox. Eye lift. Tummy tuck. Surgically enhanced lips and any other enhancement they had to offer.

Okay. Calm down, Patti. I always said I was going to grow old gracefully, without a standing appointment with a plastic surgeon or a dermatologist. And I’m sticking with that. I earned those smile lines and am actually proud of them. It means that I’ve had a lot of laughter in my life, and lots of good people to share the laughs with. (I rarely laugh when I’m by myself.)

But maybe I’ll rent Mrs. Doubtfire from Netflix this weekend.

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