Today and tomorrow bring about the two-day festive holiday known as "Parent Teacher Conferences," in our house. Now, to some parents, this holiday might strike fear in the deep recesses of their hearts. I have had enough experience over the years to know that the best way to prepare for this party is to take a deep breath, crack my knuckles, partake in a few neck rolls, and shake out the tension. It is important to stand before a mirror and practice which grin looks the least forced under a sheen of sweat that dots the upper lip. Perhaps the most important tip I can offer in preparation of this particular feast is the chant used to lull myself to sleep on Conference eve. It is fairly simple, yet acutely imperative and bears repeating a thousand times. It goes like this, "Bring It On, Bring It On, Bring It On." I believe the counting sheep show compassion as they as they blend beautiful harmonies and perhaps empathy earned from a few wayward ewes. I am jesting, sort of...not really, but mostly. Within our beautiful crew of seven children we have plenty of personality, an assortment of learning aptitudes, a diverse approach to diligence, and everything in between. This is in regards to the book work. Let us direct our attention to the portion that covers...behaviors. Or perhaps...NOT. I'd rather let your imagination cover this ground. Conduct varies by disposition and of course, age certainly plays a factor. Yet, it is never a given as to which age brings about the most interesting teacher encounters. I will let your imagination join our school soiree as I offer a morsel for you to digest. Let's just say we thought we had seen it all by the time our youngest entered her scholastic career. Such was not the case. I didn't even know a pre-school Parent-Teacher Conference could last an hour... and contain such a conundrum of concern and comic relief. I truly appreciate the teachers who are down to earth and are willing to tell tales of what my children have done while honing the art of presenting with a flourish of humor and positive word choices. Apparently my youngest is spirited, not sassy. She has strong leadership skills and has escaped being bossy. She is exceptionally bright...I may have added the exceptionally- because she is, of course. She is hilarious, even when she doesn't intend to be so. However, this could be construed as honesty without filter. Again, gratitude comes to mind when offered humor in uncomfortable situations. My daughter once informed me it is possible to have a "Food Baby." What do you mean, Honey? "Well, Ms. So-and-so told me it wasn't a real
baby in her belly it was a food baby."
My hands flew to my mouth and covered the intake of GASP when I realized what my sweet angel must have asked that morning. Clearly we didn't cross that line of discussion when we met...yet that shindig still held 60 full minutes of...conferencing. Siiiiigh. This year's Season witnessed my mature head nods and understanding "Mmm-hmmm's," while my spirit screamed, "You can't break me!" I used to attempt explanations for what I felt judged upon. I've learned that served no purpose in helping my child's progress. With age comes wisdom of the sort that can't be learned in the text-books. The school of hard-knocks, while difficult to live through and even more torturous to witness our children in does serve a purpose. Every year I fill in the blanks of what I want the teacher to learn about my child with prose subtly suggesting their spirit not be crushed. I must also respect the fact my child needs to learn to work within a group. This skill can enhance their individuality so that others will want to follow them when the time is right. Our greatest strengths may originally emerge as our greatest weakness. It takes a wise mentor to recognize character and raw talent and know that a student must understand the end goal and be willing to work together for goal attainment. These are not easy tasks...I know because I am a mother invested in helping achieve this very goal. I treasure these opportunities to work together with teachers I see as partners in this mission. I can tease about the tough times and roll with the reality of imperfections. Yet, I will agree to the many suggestions to: check the on-line student accounts to ensure proper quiz preps, visit our library to borrow FUN reading material, ground my son...I mean "move his clothespin to stop", if he doesn't read to his sister, banish friends until geography skills are improved, implement a structured, yet whimsical learning environment where all will thrive as they broaden their brain activity. I will also broaden my shopping list with the addition of an aluminum cookie sheet, plastic lower-case magnetic letters, shaving cream for spelling activities, and perhaps a bit of wine to celebrate another year's Conferencing conquest.