When I was a little girl, Parent-teacher conferences were pretty much my favorite day. I was almost guaranteed a delicious treat for good (suck up with the brownest nose) behavior. There was, of course, the one unfortunate year when my third grade teacher called me a “social butterfly that flutters from conversation to conversation” in which my mom was less than thrilled with her little chatter box. Even with all that flutter I managed to negotiate a singular piece of peanut butter cup because of my stellar cursive and continued cooperation with the side ponytail and massive white bow every morning, and of all the insects, butterflies are definitely the prettiest.
I had the pleasure of speaking with James’ preschool teacher yesterday afternoon, and the fluttering occurred mostly in my stomach as I wondered what she would say and how many times he pulled down his pants to pee. (The answer is once, which is still infinity too many, and the slide was cleaned.) The report is as follows.
In no way do I mean to inflate your artistic abilities, but when I say your tree trunk was the straightest of all of the other brown construction paper rectangles, I mean it. Your decision to demand a second piece of paper to make it straight seemed to pay off in the form of “it really does look like a tree.”
Additionally, I commend you in your role as line leader. Even though you are on the small side, the way you stuck out your chest, lifted your chin, and walked on your tippy toes so as to effectively guide your peers towards the library and playground was indeed a valiant and successful effort.
I apologize that the number 3 is not in your name, like you think it should be, because 3 is your age and James is your name, and clearly they should be always united.
Your friendship with Bailey, both in an out of the classroom, runs deep. Whether you are flying planes, being planes, crashing cars with toys or your bodies, holding hands, or reviewing the stipulations to your best friend and cousin contract through questions like “will you still be my friend if I push my sister?” its plain to see, you two are made for each other. You take over an entire table at lunch to dump out your boxes and make buffet style trades. Bailey is not likely to take your carrots or sandwich, but you continue to try and pawn off your least favorite items with impressive negotiation skills including, but not limited to, “but my mom packed this for YOU, Bailey.”
You are sure to tell all your friends that hitting your sisters is “NOT COOL, I REPEAT, NOT COOL.” Curiously enough, Josie is also “your sweet baby sister who is your best friend.” I’m certainly proud of you for speaking of her in such kind ways, but if we could address the slight disconnect between your words and actions your mother could possibly retire to a life of peace and happiness for all eternity.
It has also come to my attention that you’ve developed a new type of game on the playground. The teachers refer to it as the “damsel” game. It is created and led by you and you alone. You instruct the two blond beauties in the class to pretend to be in “danger.” Sometimes the danger involves sharks, alligators, or tigers. Other times, there is a fire or thunder. They flail their arms and say, “help! James! Help!” To which you climb the latter or hill in a fury of masculine strength with the words “I’LL SAVE YOU!” You then proceed to carry them down the hill, or the slide and resuscitate. I was unaware of your hopeless romantic persona until now, and clearly, you’ve spent some time with your uncles on your mother’s side. Even though you told me that you want to be “Jesus” for Halloween, may I suggest firefighter, and/or first responder? Also, I think firefighter might be less accidentally offensive/sacrilegious.
I am proud of your enthusiasm and zeal for school and learning. You count loud and you sing louder. You smile and bat your eyelashes in an effort to hoard all of the classes’ toy penguins. You build zoos and racetracks and you love books. This morning you cried because there is no school today and you already had put your uniform on by yourself. May you continue to learn with gusto and excitement all the days of your education.
To James future wife,
You are probably enjoying a nice applesauce snack while combing your dolls hair. As evidenced by my son’s school behavior, you are a blond and you are adorable. Please prepare yourself for some type of grand romantic gesture/public proposal in your adult life. And if you ever do find yourself in need of strong arms to carry you out of somewhere, fear not.
And I will add that meeting with such a wonderful teacher is a #1 comfort for a nervous mom, and witnessing her enjoyment in teaching is refreshing. And if anyone should write a book of quotes, it should probably be her.