Personal Statement

Personal Statement

Saturday, August 29, 2009

One Week Down . . . .

The first week of school is over, and the only thing remarkable about it was how utterly unremarkable it was. Notwithstanding the fact that Connor attended full-day preschool, I was a teary, strung-out ball of stress his kindergarten year. Fast forward to first grade: I breezed into the school on parent/teacher night, waving and yelling shout-outs to the other returning parents and smiling sympathetically at the newbies, feeling more than a little bit foolish about the pity party I'd thrown for myself the year before.

Okay, now fast forward to fourth grade: did I breeze into parent/teacher night this year? Noooooooo, because that would have involved ATTENDING parent/teacher night, which DID. NOT. HAPPEN. Justification #1: I was still sort of hobbling after the ankle sprain incident, and I didn't particularly feel like navigating the overly crowded halls that seem to be the hallmark (small - and bad - pun intended) of parent/teacher night. Justification #2: Parnell was in Dallas for a seminar that morning and afternoon and wanted to throw in a business dinner on top of that, to make the trip to and from Big D more worthwhile. Thus, I would be navigating the overly crowded halls sans Daddy. Man-to-man defense is always preferable to a zone in my book, but particularly so when just coming off of the injured reserve list.

Justification #3: We had a pretty good idea of who Connor's teacher would be, but even if they pulled a switcharoo on us (which they did, but we were totally okay with it - in fact, we would have been great either way, which is a testament to our wonderful elementary school staff), after a year as PTA president and a follow-up year as carnival chair, there wasn't a teacher or room assignment that would have thrown us.

Justification #4: Word on the street was that the aforesaid PTA had experienced "a shake-up and a blow-up" (in other words, the first PTA meeting of the year took place on a day of the week with a "y" in it) and was looking to repopulate its board. Um, not just no, but HEEEEEEEEEELL no. I can only be president of one organization at a time and still, you know, like, work, and parent, and sleep and stuff. Plus, I actually LIKE being president of Junior Woman's Club. I would rate my PTA experience as being slightly worse than having a colonoscopy simultaneously with a root canal.

Still, I was slightly worried that Connor would have other ideas, so I waited until we were through the first course of dinner at my parents' house (that was justification #5: hadn't seen the parental units in eons, plus going to their house got me my man-to-man defense, plus a bench!) before saying, "Oh-by-the-way-tonight-is-parent-teacher-night-and-we're-missing-it." Horribly underhanded, I know, but I was 75-80% sure that he would respond as he did:

"Well, what would be the point of going to THAT? It's not like I need an orientation to anything, and I don't mind bringing my school supplies the first day. Plus, they might try to sucker you into being PTA president or room mom or something, and we DO NOT want that. Really, I don't think you should go anywhere near that building until the end of the first six weeks."

Have I mentioned how much I love my incredibly insightful, practical nine year-old? As an aside, I should point out that Connor has been very supportive of my JWC over-involvement - well, that is, once he got over his initial shock: "Um, when you say president, you're talking about being a DEPARTMENT president again, right? You're not actually talking about being president of the ENTIRE CLUB?" Funny, those were his dad's exact words when I told him. Connor was equally supportive of me when I was PTA prez, but he is genuinely concerned about me becoming overextended . . . because he worries that my overextension could compromise my ability to cater to his every whim. Didn't want you to think the kid is a saint - he IS incredibly insightful and practical, but he's still a nine year-old, so it really is all about him.

So Monday arrived, we were delighted to learn that Ms. Carsey, the fifth grade G/T teacher, had moved down to teach fourth grade - and I was over-the-moon delighted when Connor shared with me the terms of her "vegetable pass" program. If you bring vegetables in your lunch and actually eat them, or if you eat the vegetables on your cafeteria tray, and you end the day "between levels" on the conduct scale, she gives you the mulligan. Her theory is that a child who eats his vegetables deserves the benefit of the doubt. LOVE IT!!!!! Mr. "Talks Excessively" is already mulling over his vegetable lunchbox options, and I am optimistic that her philosophy evidences a general understanding on her part that (1) gifted kids don't mean to be challenging - it's really quite effortless and (2) kids, in general, are kids, you keep a sense of humor, and you don't sweat the small stuff.

Parker was rather disappointed to return to All Saints - several of his friends turned five over the summer and began kindergarten this year, and he naturally thought that he should be going with them. He's also been hearing for the last year that Ms. Sylvester, Connor's saintly kindergarten teacher, is prolonging her retirement until she can teach him, too. And, so, the daily questioning began: "Okay, I'm going to All Saints TODAY, but will I go to Connor's school TOMORROW?" We have attempted to explain the concept of a year multiple ways, but IT'S. NOT. SINKING. IN. Currently, he is telling everyone that "my birthday is right before Halloween [at least he's grasped that part!], and the next day I start kindergarten, because then I'll be five [ugh]."

Connor resumes his tennis schedule in a week or so, and Parker will be making his debut as a four-year old "Tiny Tennis Star" this fall. Big brother also will be a Webelo 1 in Cub Scouts and a Junior Worship Leader at church (translation: choir-for-kids-who-are-too-old-to-think-that-"choir"-sounds-anything-less-than-dorky-but-are-too-young-not-to-be-impressed-by-titles-with-"leader"-in-them). He is toying with the idea of being a church acolyte as well, which makes me cringe, because I have heard the stories of how his father almost burned down Aledo United Methodist Church with the candle lighter.

I owe Parker "mommy and me" cooking classes at Young Chef's Academy, having made the suggestion that we sign up in May and then promptly run out of summer. Maybe we'll learn some lunchbox-appropriate vegetable preparation methods?

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