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back-to-school

on tuesday, cam and i worked from home in order to make it to paul's back-to-school night on time. i know that sounds weird, but when you think of how much driving cam has to do and how crazy the traffic is, it makes sense.

since we were home -- and cam's dad was sick -- we took paul to school. it was, as i said to cam, "a rare treat." apparently lots of parents had similar ideas about working from home/taking the day off, because there were lots of parents there. i actually thought that there were normally that many parents lingering about, but cam told me that was not the case (he's gone to school with paul before). a little boy asked paul to play, but paul said politely, "no, thank you." then we walked him to class from the playground (they have to line up there in the mornings and the teacher picks them up), helped him put his backpack on the hook and dried his tears when he didn't want to go inside. we peeked in the room while they sang their morning song, then we went home to work.

nola and my mom made frequent appearances during the day. whenever i'm home, i've noticed that my mom takes one of two positions:

1) i want to reassert my role as alpha female during the week, so i want to give her a bottle. go ahead, tell me no.
2) since you're here, take her, i'm going home.

we had to pick paul up at 12:40 because cam's dad still wasn't feeling up to watching him. we got there on time, but because parking was scarce (i would hate to live in that neighborhood) and the teacher appeared to be a few minutes ahead of schedule, cam and nola dropped me off and drove away in search of parking. paul saw me, got dismissed and walked over my way, but then started to cry and fight me. i felt like saying, "sorry i'm not daddy, okay?" but i bit my tongue. he told me later that he cried because he wanted his grandfather to pick him up, so apparently i got the generation wrong if not the gender. cam and nola showed up shortly afterwards and we walked back to our car. stopped by the burger king drive-thru for lunch.

once home, cam entertained paul while i tried to work (both with and without nola). after a while, i took over the entertainment of paul while cam worked. a little before five, cam's mom came over to watch paul (my mom was still on nola duty), and cam and i went back to school.

the first fifteen minutes were spent in the auditorium. from 5:15 to 5:30, the principal spoke to the kindergarten and first grade parents (other grades came later). then the parents were sent off to the individual classrooms for half-an-hour. paul's teacher had folders per kid for the parents -- included were forms, schedules, kindergarten standards and a laminated sheet of words the kids were expected to know how to read and spell by the end of the year (none of the words were longer than four letters, i think). she talked about classroom policies and took questions. one thing she mentioned -- that we had already read about in the school bulletin -- was that birthday cupcakes (any food at all, actually) were now forbidden due to the large amount of allergies in the student body. although i was a little sad about this at first, it was also a relief because while we could make acceptable cupcakes for a boy, we couldn't say the same for anyone else. dairy and egg substitutes are just a part of our lives. but this creates a whole new host of problems because gift bags with trinkets are a bit more expensive than cupcakes, and i have to wonder if there will be some competition at work amongst the parents. (there was a birthday on thursday and paul came home with a goody bag with playdoh and a "high school musical" pencil -- nice to be the first birthday kid. less pressure.)

one thing that surprised me was the focus of so many parents on getting their kids into the magnet program. people were OBSESSED. (oh, and one mother was a little too proud of her daughter because she had already read all the books (her older brother had just finished kindergarten) and would clearly be so BORED this year.) cam and i talked about it later. our focus is more on making sure that paul is happy and well-adjusted, but it might be a different story if he were a little less whiny and a little less obviously bent on world domination. if he wasn't already reading and throwing out words like "invertebrate" on a daily basis, maybe i'd be a little more of a school stage mom, waving the flash cards and blasting the beethoven.

the teacher had everyone write a note to their kids and leave it on their desks. she would be reading the notes to the kids the next day. for the kids whose parents were unable to attend, she would write notes for them. (very thoughtful.)

we talked to the teacher a bit after the session. she told us that paul was improving and having better days. cam mentioned to her that paul wasn't eating (his lunch had been coming home a bit grubbier but still essentially all there), so she promised to look out for that because hunger might be contributing to his sleepiness (he had been oversleeping during naptime) and general grumpiness.

it was a good back-to-school night, i thought. the teacher and the principal really stressed being involved in your child's life and i appreciated that. i don't really remembering my parents doing a whole lot with my school work when i was a kid, but i chalked that up to the fact that they worked odd hours (plus i wasn't even really sure my dad could read until i was a bit older) and that they expected us to not need the help. i liked school, but it was pretty stressful. i'd like paul's school experience to be as positive as possible, and i think this place is off to a good start.

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