Sooooooo...it is THAT time of year. If you are a parent of a school-aged child, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Midway through the first semester, you will inevitably be presented with an email or piece of paper that has a date and time on it which will ultimately determine your worth as a parent for months to come...maybe even the rest of the YEAR.
Well, not really. But it feels that way.
I'm talking about parent/teacher conferences. Literally, one fifteen-minute conversation that causes palms to sweat and anticipation to build for days before. And we're talking kindergarten here, people!
I don't usually worry TOO much about parent/teacher conferences because, due to my unique position as a teaching colleague in the same school, I have a pretty good idea of what is going on in the class and how Kaia is doing. Pretty good. But you never know.
Maybe her teacher doesn't tell me everything. Those tantrums she so freely throws at home when, god forbid, we cruelly give her oatmeal with raisins or dried fruit in it? Maybe she DOES throw them at school, too, and her teacher is too embarrassed to let us know. The arguments about...well, everything that keep going and going until finally one of us just snaps, "Because I SAID so, that's why!"? Maybe they AREN'T location-specific to our house.
Anyway, last week, we got the magical time and date and tried to quiz Kaia on exactly what kind of information we were likely to receive. She, of course, was convinced that there were going to be nothing but glowing accolades spoken in her presence, as she is clearly the nicest, smartest, most polite and helpful student in her WHOLE class.
I didn't suppose that we were going to be enlightened about her low self-esteem issues. I was pretty confident about that, in fact.
We got to the classroom right on time with Kaia in tow and proceeded to listen to her teacher rave about her for the next ten minutes. She can read! She can write! She participates well in class! She's helpful and compassionate to other students!
Yes, well, you know....we've raised her well. Clearly.
The teacher concluded the conference with a comment about how impressed she was one day when Kaia and her friend decided to open a restaurant in class, and even wrote menus themselves! THEY WROTE MENUS.
Glossing over the fact that clearly our family may spend too much time eating out and not enough eating healthy, home-cooked meals, we beamed with pride. Yes, our kid was innovative, imaginative and creative. Yes, yes...we know.
As a reward for her wonderful feedback, we took the kids out to dinner that night, and that sentence....should surprise exactly no one. See previous paragraph.
Finally, I got around to asking Kaia exactly WHAT she and her friend included on their awesome menu, and she answered, "Pizza."
"OK, pizza, that's good! What else did you include?"
"On your restaurant menu?"
"Yes, pizza and wine."
I could feel my worth as a parent slightly lowering. Slightly. I was now feeling a bit less like The Parent of the Kid Who is an Awesome Reader and Caring Classmate, and more like The Parent of the Kid Who Puts Wine on the Class Menu.
Well, there's always next year.
Besides, who wants to eat in a restaurant that DOESN'T have wine on the menu, right?