I like parent-teacher conferences. Although we did have to miss the third installment of the remake of “V” last night. In the first episode, you could substitute the rhetoric of the Obama campaign last fall for the dialog from the V’s and it was pretty much like watching the same thing.
Anyhow, back to the conferences. I like them now and I think I liked them when I was a kid too. Or at least I didn’t mind them. Probably because they resulted in two half days on a Thursday and Friday during the first week in November every year. An extra half day to pretend you’re Herschel Walker was an excellent way to spend a Friday afternoon back in 1980.
I like visiting the girl’s school. Back in grade school my teachers always decorated the classrooms with the appropriate holiday or seasonal décor. Don’t really see that in the office when you’re a grown-up. Nobody really tacks up pictures of turkeys or pilgrims in their cubes.
Yesterday we had all three conferences for the girls. Plus we had to fit in a conference with the music teacher to talk about much Rye is rockin’ the violin. Teacher says she’s doing well. Although I really have no frame of reference for this. Best I have is that I can doing fairly well playing “Hungry Like the Wolf” on Rockband. Not to mention my air guitar prowess on classics like Def Leppard’s Photograph and Van Halen’s Panama.
Bailey’s conference is first. Her teacher describes her as strong willed and a bit of a perfectionist. I translated that as “stubborn without a cause.” Bails enjoys being right almost as much as she likes to get a laugh out of people. She does not react well to any kind of a lack of success. Regardless of how trivial that unsuccessfulness manifests itself. For example one thing the kindergarteners need to do one on one with their teacher is listening to a sentence and then writing that sentence down the best they can. They get a point for every sound they get right. They can’t spell yet and the teachers are looking to see if they can identify the sound and translate that to the correct letter. For example, the teacher may say, “I like feet,” and the kids have do their best to get it on paper. Probably ends up something like “I lik fet.”
Here is what happened with Bails. She heard the sentence and got as far as “I” and then she doubted herself. She wrote a “l” but wasn’t sure what to do next because she’s sharp enough to realize that she can’t spell yet and simply writing “lik” isn’t correct. She’s also sharp enough to realize that writing “lik” may be okay but is not good enough for her. Instead of just doing her best, she decided it was a better decision to throw the clipboard on which she was writing in the direction of the teacher and then loudly tell said teacher that “You’re the worst teacher ever! You haven’t taught me anything!”
Needless to say, Bails spent some time in the hall thinking about that as all the other kids went outside for recess. Eventually she slinked back into the room to talk it over with her teacher. But that was only because the rest of kids started coming back inside and she knew that if her sisters saw her in the hallway they’d tell us.
So a good start to the conferences and a wonderful injection of confidence into our parenting egos.
Kinsey’s conference is next. In her class and in Bailey’s class they had to write down what they were thankful for on these little turkeys. For example, if it were me I’d write “Ben Roethlisberger” on my turkey. Or maybe “Nachos.” Anyway, after they wrote it down, the class pinned them onto a bulletin board. Kinsey was so thankful she needed three turkeys. She was thankful for her family, for Jesus and for God.
Excellent. After getting sacked in the Bailey’s room, this was like Donovan McNabb hitting Freddie Mitchell on 4th and 26 against the Packers in the 2003 playoffs.
What was Bailey thankful for?
Not her family. Not Mom and Dad. Not even her favorite blanket. Lunch. Practicality is evidently one of her strengths.
Aside from being a bit chatty, which leads to falling a bit behind on getting her work completed, Kinsey is doing great. She loves her teacher. And with her teacher being a Steelers fan, its easy to understand the fondness. You’d think that a conference like this would have us leaving the room like Patton after El Guettar.
Bailey, however, decided that Kinsey’s conference was just an opportunity for her to demonstrate the level to which she’s developed her aptitude for disruptiveness. And you know, unless you’re a defensive coordinator, disruptiveness is not a positive skill set. First she sat on my lap and incessantly asked if I knew how to spell random words that popped into her head.
November, purple, litter.
This became annoying. Not painfully annoying but more like Katie Couric pretending to be an objective journalist annoying.
Then she grabbed a small pillow, pulled it over her head, and walked around the room bumping into things. She was like Adam Sandler. “Look at me, I have a pillow on my head, I’m crazy pillow head!”
I made a move to stand up, grab her and take her into the hallway. But I was too slow. Sometimes I think Mom has small retractable poison tipped darts in her fingernails. Either that or she’s really Jet Li. She reached out, grabbed Bails on the shoulder and guided her onto the floor next to Mom’s seat. She looked like Spock using the Vulcan nerve pinch.
Finally we made it to Riley’s conference. Riley’s conferences have always gone well. All parents need a kid like Riley simply to buoy your belief in yourself. Like playing the Browns. I mean the biggest problem is that Rye’s teacher is worried that she’s moving to slow and not keeping Rye challenged. I don’t really remember any of my teachers using that or a similar line with my parents so I’m guessing she gets that from Mom.
So all in all our evening was sort of a microcosm of the ’76 Steelers. Started slow, finished strong. Either that or the Battle of Shiloh.
Unrelated Top Three of Day: Top Three James Bond movies.
#1 – Thunderball. Underwater harpoon fight. Sharks in a pool. Awesome.
#2 – Diamonds are Forever. First one I remember watching when I was kid. Mr. Kidd and Mr. Wint are still weird.
#3 – For Your Eyes Only. Best of the Roger Moore movies by far. Plus you got to learn what an ATAC machine was.