To be honest, I’m not sure if I am just in touch with my inner child, or simply immature. I’m sure there would be convincing litigation on either side of the debate.
After having decided not to make an appearance at Curriculum Night at the elementary school (because, well, it’s boring), I elected to do the mature thing of attending a parent/teacher conference with my child’s first grade teacher.
I showed up on time, conservatively attired with my head held high. There was no way I am going to be intimidated by the teachers who once frisked me for hall passes and made me write “I will not chew gum in class” 200 times. I served my time and now I held the cards. “I”, after all, am the Parent (read that last word with a reverberating echo for full effect).
“Hello, Mrs. Head.” Mrs. Bennett politely welcomed.
“Please, call me Kellie.” I extended my hand to greet her- Wait, isn’t this the part where she says “And please, call me Barbara”? No such offer came. This was certainly not going to help. Now I was irritated and could feel the inner child jabbing at my ribs. I took a deep breath and moved on.
We began by sitting in the classroom’s reading center. The chair’s seat was approximately four inches from the floor and I could feel my decorum slipping away from me as I crouched to sit. My knees cracked and my shins hit the table, but I think I pulled it off with a certain degree of style.
The teacher and her assistant had positioned me in the corner – very clever, but even this would not weaken my edge – my edge as the mature parent.
“Delaney didn’t do well on her spelling test last week. It’s obvious she didn’t study.”
I quickly responded with a very immature “Did so!”
UGH! My inner child spoke without permission. This would surely blow my cover – my façade of maturity and grace under pressure.
“I always make sure she is prepared for tests.” I scrambled to recover from my last remark. “How can I help improve her efforts?” There, that should do the trick. Every grown-up, mature parent focuses on betterment where their child’s education is concerned.
Her trap was set and I walked right into it.
“Well, for starters,” she began “use this set of flash cards to quiz her over the words and vowel sounds. Then you can play word games and create sentences with them. Also, take these alphabet magnets and let her make words on the refrigerator with them. I also have several other ideas and have taken the liberty of jotting down this list.” She rambled off her list with a sickening sweet tone and the speed of a livestock auctioneer. My head began to swim.
“Uh, ok.” I said in a daze while gathering the study supplies and heading for the door.
It wasn’t until I returned to my car and put the key in the ignition that I realized what had just transpired- After more than 15 years she is still giving me homework. My only source of comfort was the thought of my inner child beating up her inner child at the bus stop after school.