Sunday, December 03, 2006

That is BRAND NEW information! (Or not)

Last week we had our first of about 60 parent-teacher conferences. You wouldn't think that a child two weeks shy of two-and-a-half would need a 20-minute tete-a-tete,* but we’re paying a lot for this experience, so we'll just roll with it.

Believe me, I have nothing against parents getting an inside track on their children’s schooling.** The thing that got me was the way the information was presented—like we were probably not aware of facts “a, b, and c” about Miss M. It would be one thing if this were a boarding preschool, or even a full day, but honestly, she is there for 10.5 hours a week. That's it. So when her teacher leaned in and said, sotte voce, “You know, she really doesn't play with the stuffed animals and won't take the doll that we pass around at circle time. It's fine, though,” all I could say was, “Oh, just like at home.” Duh!

Another brilliant observation: “She loves the art projects and the sand table and the playdough. Tactile things.” Really? Is that why she pesters me to “Play playdough!” seven days a week? And wants to dig in the sand every time we go to the park?

Taxman was with me at the meeting and ran to work afterwards, but that night he turned to me and said, “You know what the most surprising thing was? That at school she only eats bread and pasta.”*** I agreed, but added, “Plus that they'd love more just like her.” I know she is a “smart young lady,” to quote, but she's willful and a bit of a whippersnapper, so I wasn't sure how that was going over in a classroom setting with a dozen other two-year-olds. I suppose everyone is fine with it.

What I wanted to know—if Miss M has any particular friends playmates—was dismissed with, “Oh, at this age it's only parallel play.” (Although playdates outside of school are strongly encouraged. Why, if it's “only parallel play”?)

The two other families we are friendliest with have their conferences next week. I am dying to find out if they have any revelations from preschool. I'm betting...not.

* I have no idea how to make the accent marks. Sue me.

**Geek alert: One of my absolute favorite parts of the school year when I was in junior high and high school was Back-to-School Night. I sent my mom and stepdad to school with a super-secret packet of information, with my snarky observations of each class and instructor. They always filled in their own comments, and my stepdad usually included a crude teacher caricature or two. Other parents could never believe that I spent time acknowledging that my home and school worlds were colliding for a night, but it was a lot more fun than math homework! Plus, I was a total dork.

***And dessert, it should go without saying. She's not a great eater at home; I'd classify her as "good."

No comments: