Wednesday, October 6, 2010

If she's so smart, why can't she take off both shoes in the same room?

I attended my first parent-teacher conference of the year yesterday. I joked on my Facebook page that morning that I was going to take along a bottle of Ketel One and make a drinking game out of it – do a shot every time I heard the terms “very social” “does not listen” or “has her own agenda.”

I arrived a few minutes early and sat in the hallway to wait for my scheduled conference time. There are two Kindergarten classrooms, directly across from each other. Both classroom doors were open. Because I was facing the other classroom (not my daughter’s class), I could hear that conference better. Well, these hapless parents were getting an earful about their offspring. Apparently this little rapscallion races through her assignments without doing them properly, doesn’t listen to instructions, etc. I started to wonder if maybe Kindergarten is a lot more demanding than I realized or remembered.

Finally, it was my turn. Mrs. L (a petite, energetic lady who weighs approximately what my left leg weighs) came out and greeted me. As soon as we sat down at the little table, she started gushing about my daughter. “She is just a JOY! I can’t tell you how happy I am to have her in my life.”  I was beaming from ear to ear.

She pulled out some folders containing work my daughter had done. “Academically, she’s very bright. I have no concerns whatsoever about her academics.” Mrs. L showed me some worksheets and pictures my daughter had completed. There was one worksheet where she was supposed to have recognized a pattern of colors and letters, but she goofed it up about halfway through. Other than that, she is progressing beautifully and is learning to write words by sounding them out phonetically. (I had a flashback to a phonetically spelled paper my little sister once brought home from school, where she wrote: “Ronded Raygun lives in the whit house. He got shot but he did not doy.”)

We chatted a bit about how A has a problem with “visiting with her neighbors.” A lot of times, she brings home half her lunch and tries to tell me that they don’t give her enough time to eat. I know for a fact they give her ample time to dine but that she runs her mouth the entire lunch period. Anyway, Mrs. L revealed how/why my daughter has been doing so well with getting her work done in recent weeks: she got moved to a table by herself. Ah-ha. The teacher said that she may move her back to a group table soon, if she can handle having a neighbor again. I dunno. I live with this kid and I can tell you that if she is awake, she is talking.

There was really very little emphasis, though, on my daughter’s outgoing personality causing a problem. I think Mrs. L is just the perfect teacher for her (“I was a talker as a kid, too” she confided). I know I struggle to walk the line between encouraging A to be who she is (an ebullient, friendly kid) and requiring her to follow at least some of society’s rules. Her teacher is single-handedly dealing with 20+ five-year-olds all day. It is necessary to maintain some sense of order. I don't want my kid to be the order messer-upper.  But I guess I was fretting for no reason - apparently she is performing beautifully in school.

So yeah, I was one proud mama as I walked out of that elementary school. I think my head was the size of the average Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade float. How is it, though, that my daughter kicks academic ass at school, but then comes home and can’t handle putting her own underwear down the laundry chute? A mystery for the ages.

2 comments:

Beth said...

"If he's awake, he's talking," is our refrain, too. And, while we still have our first parent-teacher conference ahead of us (on my birthday, of all days), I've already been told that he's "a bit of a talkier." Yeah, I figure the teacher must be a master (mistress?) at understatements!

No advice for the shoe or underwear thing. Sorry!

Lisa said...

glad it went well!