I think I do pretty well with keeping the hounds of parenting self-doubt at bay. I mean, the kids are happy, they're healthy, they're wildly attractive (hey - you can't tell me that doesn't make life easier for people) - I can't be screwing up that bad. Why worry? Nonetheless, I will confess to having a tiny, ongoing internal dialogue about them that takes the form of those "Voted Most Likely to..." quotes in yearbooks. Why? Who knows. I've never had a yearbook that featured "Most Likely" quotes and in fact, I don't even care about yearbooks. I threw mine out years ago.
Maybe it's that I sense how difficult an unfortunate personal meme would be to shake: "Oh, hi, it's Frank Jones, right? I remember you! You were voted most likely to PAAARRR-TAAAYYY! How's your liver doing after all these years?" Or, conversely, how depressing it would be to be constantly reminded that one didn't live up to an overly optimistic high school approximation of one's future potential - you mean you didn't succeed/become a model/live happily ever after? Awkward!
Whatever the reason, these little quips pop into my head whenever the kids exert one of their personal quirks at school. For instance, we already know Small Fry is Most Likely to Suffer from an Existential Crisis on a Given Day, but did you also know he's Most Likely to Cross Dress to Kindergarten? (Variously: skirts, jewelry, hair accessories.) Most Likely to Envision a Polygamous Future for Himself? (He currently has two wives and two girlfriends picked out of the kindergarten lineup - I can't imagine what's going to happen when he hits a classroom with more than ten kids in it.) Most Likely to Bring Gross Snacks? (Cottage cheese. Seaweed. Radishes. Sushi.) He's a crippling personal meme just waiting to happen.
Small Fry's class put on their spring concert last night. It was probably the best kids' concert I've ever seen - just sweet and fun and (importantly) not too long. When it was over, the teachers had a surprise for the kids: an awards ceremony. They were going to say a few words about each child.
First few kids, no problem: "Bobby is a great listener; thanks Bobby!" "Jane is very enthusiastic; thanks Jane!" "Fred is very creative; thanks Fred!" I started to relax. This was not going to be my nightmares realized after all.
Then the teacher presenting the awards speeches called out, "Next is Small Fry! Now, where are Small Fry's parents?"
This was unprecedented. I pinched my arm. Awake. Damn.
We raised our hands.
"I hope you plan to enrol Small Fry in acting classes, because he is an amazing actor! Good work, Small Fry!" He happily accepted his awards trophy and went back to his seat.
Whew. Crisis averted. "Most Likely to Make Butt Jokes" could be really tough to live down.