We held the dubious honor of attending man-child’s parent-teacher conference last week. As we were walking down the hall, I see all the posters for the 1st Grade Geography Awareness Contest. These kind of assignments are extracurricular in nature, and seriously…I barely have time to work on his spelling words for the week, so we never participate. After viewing the submitted posters, I don’t see the work of 1st graders. I see the work of adults! I can’t believe teacher’s let a kid submit these posters passed off as their own work. Seriously, if you have a 5-7 year old, ask them these questions, and give them some crayons and a poster board and show me what they create on their own, without your supervision or help. Here are the questions:
- How is the world connected to the pencil you hold in your hand? (Man-child’s response: “This pencil? This stinkin’ pencil?” Then he jabs it down on the paper until the lead breaks….I don’t think we’ve ever let him watch mafia movies, but I won’t swear to it…)
- What materials or natural resources do you think make up a pencil? (Man-child’s response: <sigh> “Can I play the X-box now?”)
- How does your clothing illustrate global interconnectedness? (Man-child’s response: “I’m wearing incredible hulk underpants” then begins giggling uncontrollably)
- How does what you are wearing connect you to the rest of the world? (Man-child’s response: “Can I have snack?”)
They want you to use maps, graphs, photographs, drawings or charts to illustrate the physical and cultural processes that keep us connected around the globe, and how these connections shape your daily life. I don’t even know what “global interconnectedness” means unless it’s tweeting? I asked man-child what country he lived in and he said “Texas!” Now, some Texans would argue that we should be our own country, but for the sake of argument, let’s all agree that Texas is a part of the United States. These posters were illustrated with world maps and ecosystem charts and environmental graphs…either I have the dumbest kid in the 1st grade, or a crapload of 1st grade parents with too much time on their hands. My personal opinion, you may have to accept it but as a judge of this contest, if it doesn’t realistically look like a kid did most of the work, then it shouldn’t win. I realize for this type of assignment that some parental involvement is necessary, and it’s probably a great learning activity, but unless the winner gets a million dollars or a car or a new house…it should look like 1st grade work!
So, long story short…I was annoyed before even walking into the classroom.
Keep in mind, man-child is the youngest of our brood, the only boy and the age difference between them is vast (our youngest daughter is 15, and he is 6), so nothing we learn at the parent-teacher conferences surprises me.
I found out daughter #1 lost her virginity after she woke me in the middle of the night to tell me her vagina had fallen out. We rushed daughter #3 to the hospital when she was about 3 because she puked poop. Yes, you read that correctly. She refused to potty train. I refused to put a diaper on her. Puking up poop is the result. We thought daughter #2 was a prodigy because she started reading at 3 years old! Turns out, she made it almost to 2nd grade before we learned she really couldn’t read at all. She had just committed to memory all the books we read to her. Different kind of genius perhaps. We went through speech therapy with daughter #2, apparently saying “poon” instead of “spoon” or “kool” instead of “school” stops being cute when you’re almost 8. I got in a verbal altercation with a teacher after she accused my daughter of “staging a coup” and “turning the class against her”. We’ve been through periods, boy drama, girl drama, driving, fighting, failing, drama, tears, etc… So, when it comes to man-child, we are either beat down or more relaxed. I’m too tired, you decide.
It’s a rough week for man-child when all of us “girls” are on our periods at roughly the same time. He’s probably a little spoiled. Okay, maybe more than a little. The girls will say that they could be lying on the floor with a leg half hanging off and bleeding to death, and I’ll leave them lying there to attend to a microscopic paper cut on man-child’s finger. Clearly, they exaggerate. However, we are probably more lenient with him at this age than we were with the girls.
Probably = mostly.
By mostly, I mean all the time.
We sit down (in trepidation and fear) with man-child’s teacher. Here is what we learned:
- Man-child oftentimes needs an escort to the bathroom. Apparently, he likes to play and linger instead of pee and go. He also likes to turn off the lights when other kids come in. He’s been seen (allegedly) reaching inside the girls bathroom and turning off the lights, he doesn’t actually go inside, just flirts at the doorway (again…allegedly). He hasn’t yet figured out how to “game the system” by appropriately spacing out his bathroom breaks to avoid suspicion. We are hopeful he will learn…in time.
- He struggles with words that sound the same but are spelled differently. At this juncture, the teacher actually started with the example “come” but then quickly changed it to “some” versus “sum”. I am now forced to keep my eyes focused on a spot behind her left shoulder, and I cannot and will not look at my husband. I may be the only person in Inappropriate Town, but I’m taking no chances. Somehow, I make it through the next few moments. I almost died.
- Apparently, when others are speaking, he struggles with his “listening ears.” Did I mention he has 3 teenage sisters? It’s survival of the loudest in our house. He’s so used to be interrupted or interrupting, that observing conversational niceties is like a foreign language to him. I’m just relieved he hasn’t dropped a “sh*t” or “hot “d*mn” or God forbid the “f-bomb.” He also hears more about boobs and va ja ja’s than your average 6-year-old. It’s a woman’s world in his house and he’s just fighting to stay alive.
- He’s not organized. Considering my husband thinks I’m a hoarder in training, this wasn’t all that surprising.
- He actually signs his real name to his work now. Last year, he signed all his work with the moniker “Silver Surfer”. He refused to use his real name, stating that super heroes all have hidden identities. We were excited by this news! I was briefly concerned he might legally try to change his name one day.
- My own flesh and blood threw me under the bus by telling his teacher that I sometimes fudge his reading log. I know! Can you believe this?!?!??!!? Oh son of my womb…why? WHY? Now, I’m going to actually have to fill it out honestly. The girls never did this to me. He loves to rat me out. Little bastard (I say this with love).
Here is a picture of his spelling test. Is it wrong that I find his mistakes adorable?
I have no clue what that sentence is supposed to say.
On a completely unrelated and random topic, I had this conversation with little man at the grocery store yesterday:
Man-child: “where is daddy?” (man-child was asleep when we arrived at the store, so he missed it when we decided we’d split up and daddy would go next door and pick up the dog food, while man-child and I got started on the grocery shopping)
Me: “I think we lost him.”
Man-child: looks confused. “We lost him?”
Me: “No not really, he went to buy dog food, he’ll be back in a minute.”
Me: “What if we did lose him at the store and got a new daddy (aka Adam Levine)?”
Man-child: “No. I like our daddy. We should keep him. You should give him better directions. Then he won’t get lost.”
Me: “ok, I like him too. That’s probably a good idea.” (husband – 1; wife – 0)
I tell husband about our little conversation.
His response: “Nice. Real nice.”
This anecdote has no point really, maybe just illustrates the kind of conversations man-child is subjected to on a daily basis, so you can understand why the parent-teacher conference strikes fear in our hearts. We never know what he might repeat.
Can’t wait for the next one!