Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Night and Day

I had my first parent-teacher conference with Grace's teacher. Unfortunately, I had to bring Emmy.

 The conference starts with what they call a "student-led conference," which was actually a binder-led conference, where I read the directions and looked in Grace's notebook for her. She's a smart kid, but initiative is not her strong suit. I would ask her the questions I was supposed to ask her, and she would stare at me blankly. 

"Grace, what leadership duties do you have in class?" 

*blink* *blink* 

"Is there something you're supposed to lead?" 


"Do you have a job in the classroom?"

"Ooooh! Yes. I put the pencils away"

She gets this from her father. 

He has Rainman-level abilities to store and retrieve information, but if I do not phrase something in exactly the correct way, he cannot understand me. It has been the root of many an argument in this household. It's gotten better. I have learned that this is the way he functions; he has learned to at least *try* to hear what I was thinking, and not what I actually said. It's been a slow process. 

Did you ever play the old King's Quest games, or any like them? You know, where you're locked in a dungeon and you have to come up with exactly the correct words and sequence of actions to pick the stupid key out of the pile of straw and unlock the door? If you type "lock" instead of "keyhole," too bad! The guard has noticed you trying to escape and now you are dead. This is what it is like to live with Jeremy and Grace. Minus the executions.

While this is happening, Emmy is doing the potty dance. We live one minute away. In the hour before we leave, she knows we are leaving soon and has free access to our fine bathroom. But of course, the moment we get into the school, there is a bladder emergency. How could we possibly have foreseen this? Ms. M, Grace's teacher, recognizes the situation and offers to take her to the bathroom for me. 

Grace and I continue through her binder. Grace meets all her goals. Grace is performing well. Grace burps rainbows. Ms. M comes back with Emmy, looking a bit incredulous. "She was singing the whole time!"

"Yes, it's probably part of a musical from her native planet."

"I thought she was taking a while, so I went in, and there she was, singing away with the water running!"

I imagine there was a complete story structure to go with it, along with some dance moves. This kind of thing no longer surprises me.

We sit down, and immediately Emmy begins to mess with everything. I tell her to sit still, and she gets her legs tangled in the table and chair.

"Grace sits well in class." "Grace listens."

Emmy falls on the floor. I send her to retrieve my keys and our jackets that we left at the other table.

"Grace is polite and compliant." "Grace loves to read."

Emmy spells everything G-Q-U-R-C-X.

"Grace understands easily, but she cries a lot when frustrated."

Emmy is tangled in the chair again.

Everything with Grace is going pretty well. We commiserate over the problem of her looking and sounding so much older than she is, yet still having the emotions of a kindergartner. Emmy begins to writhe in agony from sitting still(ish) for three minutes.

We get up to go, and I say thank you. I pat Emmy on her bobbing head. "You might have this one next year!" I say, and walk off. What a lucky woman Ms. M. is.

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