The Old Parent Teacher Conference

It’s that time of year again. It’s cold. Kids are getting out their snow pants (yes, if you live here in Alaska, you know they are) and deciding on their Halloween costumes. Parents are shuffling their schedules to attend parent teacher conferences.

We had both kids’ conferences yesterday. My ten-year-old daughter’s conference was first. She played outside with her brothers while we (her dad, step-dad and myself) heard from her teacher. Up until now, these conferences have always left us worried for our girl. She is eager to please, a delight in class, but struggles with reading. She’s had some extra help these last couple of years and the school she goes to is just awesome with doing everything they can to make sure she excels. All that hard work really paid off! Our fourth grader had her best ever report card this year! The teacher gave us samples of her work and it was just great to hear her teacher compliment her on her writing. They say fourth grade is a really crucial year for kids. I’m praying she’ll keep working as hard as she has this first quarter.

When we went to our first grade son’s classroom, he and his little brother followed us in. Our two-year old had rosy cheeks and a little Rudolph nose going. He was done playing outside, so we let him stay in the class, while we sent out seven-year old out to play. Our first grader also had a great report. His teacher had a rather interesting insight I had to share with you moms of boys. Apparently, when your precious sons are looking into your eyes when you’re talking to them – THEY ARE NOT LISTENING. She said she read a book about the differences between little boys and girls. When girls listen, they make eye contact. When boys are really listening, they are often busy doing something else – playing with something on their desks, etc. His teacher had sent a note home a while back asking if she could give our son gum in class. Odd, I thought, but I agreed – thinking it was for motivation. Turns out, having boys chew a piece of gum is often enough to distract them into truly listening and learning. Who knew?

While we were listening to our son’s teacher, I held my two-year old in my lap. He is very much into the not-listening, even if I gave him gum, phase. He was sitting there – trying to chat it up with me. I kept telling him he needed to be quiet and play with his tractor. He was quiet… for a minute. Then, out of the blue, while our older son’s first grade teacher was talking about what we could be doing at home with him, my toddler made a sound – a sound most parents would describe simply as, “A blow out.” Now – having heard, and felt, this occurring on my lap, I was concerned – mostly, because our two-year old is potty trained and no longer in diapers. Much like when encountering a bear in the woods, I chose the tactic of staying completely still. The sound continued. I, in embarrassment and fear, began to giggle. My husband, ex-husband and son’s teacher all looked at me. Apparently, they hadn’t heard the sound. I said, “he totally ripped one!” To which my toddler – in the way only a two-year old can – mimicked, “I ripped one!” I know you’re not supposed to draw attention to it… but I couldn’t stop myself if I tried. I laughed until I cried. The odd thing? His teacher looked completely unfazed. There must have been a chapter on that in her book.

How’d your conferences go?

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