Monday, October 27, 2014

Trying not to be one of "those" parents

Perhaps the worst thing in all this middle school rigamarole is seeing how precariously close to the edge of "nutso" parent territory I may have been veering.  Acting as if determining the best middle school for N is the be-all, end-all of my existence here on the planet.  Maybe giving it a little more of my energy than it should have taken.

Having been in the classroom and speaking with parents who understandably think their child is awesome but who forget that the world likely doesn't agree with them, I really try to not be annoying.
I try to be 110% supportive of the teachers.  To tell them I am always happy to help, to volunteer, and if they ever have the slightest problem with my child to call me, and I will be up at school pronto to figuratively box my child's ears.

I do attend parent-teacher conferences each time they are offered, even though there is no real reason for me to be.  I don't go to hear the teachers say good things about my kid.  I go to ask questions that generally have zero to do with my kids' grades.

Questions like, "What DRA (directed reading assessment) level are they at?" so I know what books to help the kids select.  Questions like, "Is my kid nice to others at school?  Compassionate?" because there is no category for this on report cards but I don't want a mean girl or boy on my hands.  Questions like, "Do you notice any anxiety?" since N tends to freak out in math, and G is just a bundle of nerves in general.

This year I did introduce myself to N's math teacher when she was having her geometry-related issues in September.  I think the first thing I said to him was, "You know, usually I only drink a lot in the summer when all my kids are at home, but your class may have me drinking a lot this school year."  And then I proceeded to explain how N was acting at home in preparation for the test---crying, moody, confused.  I wanted his guidance on what to do so that I could help her practice more and feel more confident.

This weekend, for some reason, I thought about the spring's written assessment (WA) competition, which N did last year.  I looked on the district's website to find the books they need to read and emailed the WA coach to know whether kids who did it in 4th automatically do it in 5th or if there are tryouts.

As soon as I hit send, I thought to myself, "Oh my god, she is gonna think I'm one of these bonkers parents who expects my kid to make the team because I think my kid is such hot stuff."

When I saw Ms. A today in the hall and she mentioned something about it, I said to her, "As soon as I sent that to you I thought, 'She is gonna think I'm expecting N to have a place on the team and that I have no life because I'm thinking about this in October.'"  The latter is true.  I evidently don't have enough going on to occupy my brain.  But the former is far from the truth.

Fortunately, I think Ms. A knows me well enough to know I'm not a "my kid's stuff don't stink" parent.  She told me I was actually the third parent who had emailed her.  I said, "Well that makes me feel better.  I'm not as bad as parent #1."

I think the one thing that saves me from completely falling into the abyss is that a good portion of the time I don't even like my own kids, so there is none of that "My kids are so fricking awesome and I just know everyone sees this as clearly as I do!"

My kids, like their momma, are good enough.

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