Parents and Teachers Square Off…

November 27, 2008

Well folks, another meeting of the parents and teachers has taken place and Connie and I are happy to report that both boys are bordering on normalcy.  Cayden and Mack’s conferences were back to back so the 40 minutes of face-to-face educator interaction was a lot to absorb, but we survived.  Besides, both of us think it’s kind of cool to get third party input on our childrens’ academic agility and general demeanor.

Cayden’s report-

Cayden’s teacher loves him.  His grades are solid- most of them lie between Progressing (PR) and Consistently Demonstrates (CD).  To give you a sense of what this means a CD is akin to getting an A++, what can I say the kid’s a genius.  His teacher also went on to say that Cayden displays a lot of personality, in fact, he demonstrates multiple personalities- sort of like Cybil coming down from a Prozac-induced high.  No news to Connie and I, we’ve been dealing with Cayden speaking in tongues and morphing his facial expressions for several years. His teacher, on the other hand, is always a bit surprised when Cay answers a question cross-eyed while speaking in his Darth Vader voice.  The kid’s a kick- always willing to entertain.

More news on Cayden:  The first couple of weeks of school were dedicated to teaching Cay and his classmates to quit loving on each other while standing in the lunch line.  Seems the little ones can’t keep from hugging and touching each other whenever the opportunity arises.  It’s not like a creepy old dude squeezing your thigh when you’re riding the metro (I am not speaking from experience), so I don’t see the big deal- after all, they’re just kids, right?  Obviously, the school administrators feel differently.  I’m a bit aggravated by this. Has sexual harassment become so prevalent in our society that we need to start educating our kids about the evils of sexual harassment before they have any idea what sex is?  Should the sight of two 6 year old boys holding hands in the lunch line be labeled as yellow zone behavior, or can we just chalk it up to the fact that they’re buddies, and sometimes buddies hold hands?  I kept my mouth shut, but tonight I plan on encouraging him to stage a love-in during homeroom, Mack can make a guest appearance and play Kumbaya on his guitar and the rest of the class can hum along.  I’m not a hippie or anything, but I like the fact that my kids aren’t afraid to be affectionate and I don’t want the school system to crush that prematurely.  And “oh, by the way” they assign too much damn homework. There, my daily rant.

My Bully…Cayden’s teacher also went on to explain that Cayden’s bully is no longer in the school system.  Seems the little bruiser stole a car or something and went upstate to do some time. Cayden is both happy and sad. He’s happy because name calling really bothers Cayden and his bully will be too busy sharpening his toothbrush into a shank to give him any of that negative attention. Cayden’s also sad. I think he’s sad because his dreams of retribution will never be realized.  I believe that Cayden was just waiting for the perfect opportunity to open up a pint-sized can of Whoop-Ass.  The little hooligan will never know how lucky he was that Cayden never got his chance.  Cayden would have put him in a hurt locker, after all, the kid has no fear and is harder than collegiate trigonometry.

Mack’s report:

Mack’s conference was enlightening as well.  Mack’s teacher started off by telling us that Mack will most likely work for the United Nations brokering peace talks and cease fires between warring factions.  According to his teacher, Mack is Switzerland- impartial, fair and nobody wants to attack him because he’s such a damn nice guy.  I also learned that everyone seems to know my son- when he walks into school each morning he’s greeted with a hearty “Mack!” from the entire 2nd grade, sort of like when Norm walks into Cheers- the bar from one of my most favorite 80’s sitcoms.  That was the positive side of the conference.

The other part of the conference centered on the fact that Mack cannot stay on task for more than 6 seconds.  Connie and I looked at her in disbelief. We’ve known Mack his entire life and have never gotten him to stay on task for half that long- what was her secret?  We honestly thought she was rewarding us with another positive comment, but it turns out she wasn’t. From what Mack’s teacher tells us, there are some kids who can remain focused for longer periods of time, like the entire school day! What kind of freaky little kid pays attention all day? I think that is extremely lethargic behavior and those kids could really benefit from a triple espresso and a pound of M&M’s.

Another interesting piece of Mack’s conference was that his teacher couldn’t tell when Mack “was really present”. This means my son is capable of appearing to be in the now, but in all actuality, the kid is a million miles away.  Mack can be staring you right in the eyes and not hear a thing that’s coming out of your mouth. Conversely, the kid can overhear you whisper the word “fishing” from 7 nautical miles away while submerged in a vat of pudding, it’s friggin creepy.  Combine this little attribute with the fact that Mack never appears flustered in class and you’ve got the makings of an 8-year old enigma.  According to his teacher, the kid never loses his cool- he is as comfortable giving the right answer as he is the wrong one.  Maybe Mack is going to be a surfer, because he kind of has this “all’s I need are some tasty waves and a cool buzz and I’m fiiiine...”(Jeff Spicolli) type of demeanor.  Whether creepy or pure genius, he’s got his teacher completely baffled.   Interestingly enough she wasn’t mad about Mack’s laissez-faire attitude, instead she was interested in learning how to master it so she could use it for the power of good, namely helping Mack conquer the academic obstacles which plague the 8-year old demographic. I liked her a lot for that. Some teachers would have given up or labeled him as being attention deficit.  On a side note, I don’t think Mack is trying to be a pain in the ass- it’s just that the guy marches to the beat of a different drummer- he always has.

We did see Mack’s grades, they were not as encouraging as Cayden’s.  In third grade, they actually assign letter grades very similar to what I remember in elementary school.  The only difference in the grading scale is that they no longer award “F’s”.  I guess the “F” created to much of a stigma for the little ones so instead they award an “E”.  Okay what the hell is the difference?  I know that an “F” stands for Failure and that’s a harsh term for any age bracket, but isn’t an “E” the same thing?  What does “E” stand for anyway Enigma, Enchanted, Enema- I honestly have no idea. For the longest time, I was encouraging him to get more “E’s” because I thought they stood for excellent.

In case you were wondering, Mack did not receive a single “E” on his report card.  He did produce several “E’s” on homework assignments, but luckily he produced an equal number of “A’s” and when you average them out, they equal a nice fat pile of “C’s”.  We can live with “C’s” for now. Mack will grow into his brain and, with a little help, crush the next reporting period.

At the end of the day, I am extremely proud of the manimals.  Neither of them had the best grades, but at this point that’s not the yardstick by which I would choose to measure them.  What Connie and I found encouraging was the fact that our boys were seen as kind, respectful, funny, compassionate and all around decent human beings.  These are the traits that we worked so hard to instill in them, and selfishly it felt good to see the fruits of our labors.  Maybe Connie and I can take a night off from all that hard character-building stuff, get a sitter, and treat ourselves to a mile-high pile of sushi. What do you say, Babe, you in?

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Pammy posted the following on November 27, 2008 at 1:45 pm.

How could they be anything else? My youngest is a lover too. He’s into the big hugging and cuddling with his buddies too. Not that there’s anything wrong with it…

Chris posted the following on November 29, 2008 at 8:38 pm.

The metro times are supposed to be our alone time. Why are you sharing that with all these people?! I’m taking a day off from you on Monday and taking the bus.

admin posted the following on November 29, 2008 at 10:48 pm.

Chris, no one had any idea it was you who tried to grope my thigh on the metro until you opened your mouth, what kind of lawyer are you? Remind me that if I ever need legal representation to go else where. Glad you finally made it to my site, we need to get together next time you’re in town.

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