15 of 20

Looking extra cute on picture day
I attended the first parent/teacher conference of the year yesterday.  I have had some interaction with A's teacher already, because I had to clear up a pretty big misunderstanding that came into play last month. As you may recall, we recently let our daughter know that she has three bio half-siblings in Texas. Needless to say, she is pretty enamored with the idea of having brothers. I mean, she will hug a perfect stranger so you can only imagine how excited she is to know there are people out there to whom she has a legitimate connection. She has seen photos of the three boys.  A couple weeks ago, she was asking me questions about them and at the moment, I could not remember the name of the youngest child (I knew it started with a B but for the life of me I just could not recall the name). He was just born within the last year. I told A I would dig out an email from her birthmom and give her all three names.

Meanwhile, she decided to use the boys as the subject of her first major writing assignment at school.  She mentioned not knowing the name of the youngest. I asked her, "Um, did you tell Mrs. C that you were adopted?"

"No, but I think she knows from other things I have told her." 

My brain started spinning pretty quickly. I realized that Mrs. C would be left to think that these children are either my children from a previous marriage or my husband's. Either way, WE WOULD KNOW THE NAMES OF OUR OWN CHILDREN.  I realized I'd better straighten things out. I emailed the teacher and let her know that A was adopted and that she was only recently told about her brothers. I gave her all three names in case my daughter still needed them for the assignment.

Mrs. C wrote back right away. She said she had been pretty confused about A not knowing the names of her own brothers (and not knowing too much about them at all), but that she hadn't wanted to pry. Then she mentioned that her children were adopted also. Whew, glad we got that cleared up.

So, we joked about that at the beginning of the conference. Then we got down to business. My daughter is reading at a third grade level, which is awesome (since she's in second grade). Her math skills are pretty good. Apparently the kids are subjected to standardized testing in third grade, so a lot of the work in second grade is done with an eye on that.

Then we talked about the elephant in the room, which is my daughter's excessive talking. Mrs. C stated that she has a pretty high tolerance for it (last year's teacher was great but perhaps had a lower tolerance for the chatter). I mentioned that I was aware that A's desk has already been moved several times this year.

"I put her next to a boy she didn't know," she said, "But they talked a LOT."  I nodded.  My daughter only needs a few minutes to make a perfect stranger into her BFF. For a time, my daughter was moved to the front of the classroom, in a row all by herself (no neighbors at all, in other words). Then, most recently, she was moved again. Here is my favorite part of the whole conference: Chatty McTalkington now sits next to a super-shy girl who is HARD OF HEARING. In our school district, all/most of the deaf/HOH kids are filtered through the school my daughter attends. I think this is really cool, because then the hearing kids learn to work with different kinds of people. We also have a good mix of ethnicities, income levels, etc. Diversity is the best thing for a kid, if you ask me.

I just think it's kind of funny that my daughter is now seated next to a girl who is too shy to interact with her and perhaps cannot fully hear the chatter anyway. Mrs. C told me that A tries to talk to the girl but that the girl doesn't really respond. Ten bucks says my kid can get this other kid in trouble for talking by the end of the school year.

When I got home, I told P about the conference. He was helping A with her math homework and asked me, "Hey, did you know they have to write their number next to their name now?"  Each child in the classroom is given a number. I'm not exactly sure why. A is 15 (she was 15 last year also).  Sure enough, on the top of the math worksheet she had written her name followed by the number 15.

"She's a number," I said. "Just like a prisoner."  I laughed.

"Yeah, she's just a cog in the machine." We both chuckled.

"Maybe we should tattoo her number on her somewhere," I suggested.

"Yeah, on the inside of her lip!" My husband pulled out his lower lip for effect. "I'm number 15!" We were on a roll now.

"She's like one of the Borg. We can call her '15 of 20.' A member of the collective. You must be assimilated. Resistance is futile."

The kid ignored us. She does not think we are funny at all.


Sarah said…
Oh but I think you're funny! And she's cute, really really cute! However, you describing her willingness to hug strangers makes me feel just a little less special. Gotta tell ya.

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