The day was finally here. I wasn’t really looking forward to it, too much. The day of the first parent-teacher conference. I may have even been dreading it, especially since I recently learned that my pre-school aged daughter cat-scratched a classmate on the neck and unceremoniously tossed him out of the classroom. During this conference I’d no doubt learn all of my child’s faults; no, really all of my faults, as a parent. Do I spend enough time with her? Am I teaching her the right things? Let’s face it, am I teaching her anything other than how to touch-click my Blackberry Storm or toggle the iPod from the Brand New Heavies to Jazzy Jeff’s Nuyorican Soul?
We arrived and were welcomed into the classroom and asked to have a seat. The chairs were all toddler-sized, seemingly a long way down. I bent over, crouched, squatted, and landed bum side down with a thud, but not before both my knees let out ear-splitting cracking sounds. Dry twigs snapping. Oh-oh. Here we go. This wasn’t too comfortable, but there was nothing to do but grin. Start listening.
I had a bunch of questions. How was she settling in? What activities did she do? What did she like best? What didn’t she like? Was she getting along with everyone? Was she sharing? What was she learning? Was she happy to be there? What could we be doing at home to support and reinforce behaviors she is learning at school? Or what could we be doing to discourage certain behaviors? I had all these questions and more, but listened as my daughter’s teacher began telling us about Lexi.
I’m not sure I heard much beyond, “she’s doing fine and we love having her here”. Although I did learn that the roughing up of her classmate may not have been all that it seemed. She didn’t really toss him out of the classroom, but was only facilitating a quicker departure once class was dismissed for the day. A gentle push, or maybe an over-enthusiastic one. She does occasionally say that she doesn’t want to be at school, but the teacher doesn’t believe her because her actions say something different. I’ve heard her say this often enough as well. Besides, I often, well okay daily, say I don’t want to be at work, but cheerfully go anyway and on most days end up having a good day. So why wouldn’t she occasionally not want to be at school? That all sounds about right to me, as long as she goes to school and mostly enjoys it, which seems to be the case.
Feeding the class hamsters, Mr. Squeak and Ms. Lola, spinach leaves and carrots is often a memorable part of her day, along with reading her favorite book, Little Blue Truck. She doesn’t seem to like gym time. Unstructured free-for-all time. Loud, noisy, messy. Not her style right now. I also learned that she loves to prepare her snack, from washing her hands with soap and water to emptying out the bowl of dirty water in the sink, to putting out her plate and cup, to putting her snack out and enjoying it. The teacher said this is one of Lexi’s favorite parts of the day, and she likes to repeat it. Hmmm. We had a good conversation. All good I think.
Now, can someone help me up and out of this chair?