Monday, March 16, 2009

Watch Dog? More like Watch Hawg!

Folks, I had a heck of a time today -- I was a Watch Dog at my daughter's school.

Don't we look happy in the photo? Doesn't she look like the kind of little girl who could talk her daddy into anything? Brenda is able to talk me into all sorts of things, indeed, so it didn't take much pleading to get me to sign up as a Watch Dog.

Now, I preferred to think of myself as a Watch Hawg today, but that doesn't really matter much. Here's what does matter -- my eight-year-old daughter had a great time and will remember my being a Watch Dog (or Hawg) at her school for quite some time.

So, what is a Watch Dog? You can find out a ton of information about that national program right here. If you'd rather not wade through all those details, I'll just mention that the Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) was designed so that fathers could volunteer a day to hang around their kids' schools and help out where they can.

In my case, that meant I spent all day roaming around the school, helping kids read, talking a bit about my public relations job (which, as it turns out, is pretty boring as far as kids are concerned) and being climbed on at recess.

Recess is what killed me. My daughter started climbing on me. Her friends followed her lead and starting climbing on me, too. I wound up giving out some piggy back rides, pushing girls on swings and generally being used as a jungle gym for a good part of the day.

My daughter, by the way, said one teacher told the kids to "quit climbing on the Watch Dog" when they lined up to go back into the school after one recess. Apparently, that order didn't take.

The whole thing was tiring. In fact, being in a school full of energetic kids all day is tiring. I've always thought teachers should be paid more and now I'm convinced than ever that they do deserve raises. I don't know how many of you have been to an elementary school lately, but the threat of anarchy is everywhere and those teachers manage to keep everything running smoothly. Those teachers work hard and deserve more cash than they get.

Frankly, I'll be glad to get back to my office in the morning -- sitting at my desk, dealing with the phone and sipping coffee will be relaxing compared to toting kids around and contending with insane energy levels.

Regardless, I'm glad I volunteered a day to be a Watch Dog at Caldwell Elementary. I came away impressed with the work those teachers are doing with my daughter and was pleased to learn that my daughter has made some pretty good friends there.

Who watches the Watch Hawg?

Apparently, my daughter is a bit of a discipline problem. She's always getting notes home from school that, essentially, paint a picture of a charming little girl who just has trouble following the rules. It became clear to me today that I may be at fault.

Why? There's this elevator, see. The kids aren't supposed to ride on the elevator at school. My daughter mentioned that rule doesn't apply to Watch Dogs, so I took her on an elevator ride. One of her friends wanted to ride on the elevator, so I thought, "Why not?"

By the end of the day, my daughter and two other girls would talk me into riding on the elevator every time I got close to it. They thought it was great and I enjoyed the "fun dad" status.

And, folks, I got ratted out. That's right. Some kid tattled on me. I didn't get in any trouble, of course, but I started wondering what would happen if a teacher decided I needed some discipline. Would they call my wife?

"Mrs. Nobles," the teacher might say. "Your husband is being a problem. You need to come up here and get him."

That would seem almost like old times. Yes, I was in trouble a lot back when I was in school. The most trouble I got into was when I was in the third, fourth or fifth grade (I can't remember for sure) and we were at a Valentine's Day play.

This little girl started reading a poem. "Will you be my Valentine?" she asked.

"No!" I yelled from the back of the auditorium.

The kids thought it was funny. I didn't. I got jerked out of the auditorium, got a paddling (I got a lot of those) and wound up having to write an essay on why what I did was wrong (truth be told, I wasn't a bit sorry -- nothing is too mean if it's funny enough, right?)

I was, indeed, a lovable rascal in school. I think my daughter might be walking in my footsteps there.


sheila said...

Great job hanging out with your daughter - she will always remember it - she'll probably tell her kids stories of how her cool dad used to help out at her school -

My husband has gone on at least 10 field trips in the last couple of years - the kids always ask him even though he spends the whole morning of the field tip growling at everyone.

I think when dads really get involved and show an interest in their kids it totally changes that child's life. You deserve some kind of Top Hawg Watchdog Award -

HealthNutWannabeDad said...

Hawg yer such a (Watch) Dawg!

And now that my wife and I have a two year old son, it is tiring indeed!

Let's put it this way. I now sleep well at night.


Eat Well. Live Well.

Sherry said...

That program sounds like a terrific idea.

I got in trouble in school also, but more in middle school/junior high and high school than in elementary school.

Da Old Man said...

Really like the idea of a "Watch Dad" program. I remember being almost totally excluded from my kid's school. Everything was so "Momcentric."

Grandy said...

Sounds like you made the most of it. :)

The Natural State Hawg said...

Sheila -- Heh. I'd love such an award! I made my daughter happy and that's enough.

I hope I'm able to get involved and help my kids. I turn 40-years-old in a few month and I'm learning that folks tend to get reflective at this age. It just dawned on me that my kids won't be at home forever. I don't want to miss out!

Paul -- You're not kidding. Where do they get the energy? Why can't I have some of that energy? Why didn't I have kids when I was younger and had plenty of energy?

Sherry -- I was a relatively reformed The Hawg by the time I got to junior high school.

Da Old Man -- I think that's why the program was started -- to give dads a chance to be more involved with their kids.

Grandy -- I tried!