Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My own personal Waterloo

The other day we had parent/teacher conferences at the kids’ schools which I always find a daunting process. For no good reason, I always feel like I’m the one in the hot seat, under scrutiny ( I say “I” because my husband almost never attends these events). Across the board thus far, my children have been blessed with fantastic, energetic and kind teachers (grovel, grovel) but I still find it awkward to sit across from someone I don’t know very well and listen to them dissect my child (and by extension, me) for half an hour. I wonder whether my facial expression is too eager and while I’m wondering that I probably appear more than a little vapid.

My two older children are relatively compliant, well-mannered and empathetic. I used to look down with benign condescension upon parents of misbehavers and their off-spring, believing that I had somehow cracked the parenting code and attained if not perfection, then certainly something close. And then Number 3 was born. Let’s call her Minx.

Minx’s “Twos” teachers summed her up as ‘defiant’. At three, she was upgraded to ‘passionate’, although the teacher had known her since birth so there might have been some bias there. Lots of words were used at her assessment last week, including loving, funny, bright, stubborn, strong and totally unfiltered. Apparently after a particularly trying school day, Minx will resort to nostalgia to make amends with her teacher: “Remember when I was born? Remember holding me?” As her parent, I was cautioned not to expect to exert much influence, something about just being along for the ride.

So I apologize sincerely to those families at whom I rolled my blinkered eyes. Apparently, I have two abnormal kids and one normal one and I mean that in the nicest way. No parent can control every situation (damn it). I’m just glad that when it came to the sequence of birth, I had Minx last. Accordingly, I always plan the parent-teacher conferences in reverse chronological order.

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