(This isn’t a post about a pregnancy scare, but damn that would be appropriate.)
Dear Ms. H,
I’d like to touch base with you, my daughter’s new kindergarten teacher, now that you have spent 7 entire days with my kid. Of course, we’ve already talked plenty, but I digress….
So obviously things aren’t going as smoothly as any of us would like. That “Poor Choices” checklist that you sent home on the very first day – with as many of those poor choices checked as not- was a pretty good illustration of that. Then there was the phone call on day 2 and the conference on day 5. From what I can tell, Stella’s batting .500 now on the good day/bad day hit list.
Ya know, I’m sorry my kid isn’t adjusting as well as some (most, even). But she is only 4, after all, and you’re a seasoned veteran. Surely you’ve seen this before? Trust me: we are working hard at this at home. We’ve been working on this at home now for quite some time. We keep things regular, we discuss things ahead of time so that expectations are set – even using visual cues and behavior charts from time to time, we watch what she eats, ensuring she gets plenty of protein to avoid any kind of crazy blood sugar crashes. I research. I probably know more about sensory issues than any professional.
The first day was rough. I cried like most moms do when she left the house. I cried harder after I saw your “choices” checklist. When we got our first green smiley face on the daily behavior calendar, I felt like a billion bucks. I rode that high through Tuesday afternoon when I showed up for my conference and found my kid sitting outside of class. It seems she didn’t want to settle down and do her work.
That conference was intensely uncomfortable, particularly since I was half expecting a sheepish apology for jumping the gun and not even giving a 4 year old a chance to get her big school groove on for a full week. Fortunately the guidance counselor was there to insist on some positive feedback – to talk about what was going well. Shit, I may have otherwise slit my wrists and just bled out at the conference table. I left feeling horrible. It was punctuated by having to sit in the car not moving with my daughter screaming at me for 20 minutes when we for bogged down in the carpool lane which just happens to snake through your visitors’ parking lot. Why was she screaming? Well, because it was a “red dot” day, and that means no treat or ice cream after dinner.
See? I try. I’m backing you up. Hell, it’s a good thing for all of us that I’m not a professional ball player. I found myself getting superstitious about what I was wearing on Stella’s green smiley days. Fortunately it only extended to jewelry and not something like socks or underwear.
So back to it. Each day when I pick my kid up, I’m nauseous. I can’t wait until she’s safely back in my car and I can open her backpack and the blue folder containing your behavior calendar to see what kind of day she had. Yesterday we got a green smiley. Today it was a red dot. No other information. Just a vaguely circular red smear covering August 20th.
You know how we girls like to mark our calendars with red dots when we get our periods? Yeah. Like that. Bitch. At least we know why those red dots are on the calendar. This dot? I have no earthly idea. Maybe my daughter was reading “at an inappropriately high level” again. Don’t think I’ve forgotten about that comment. That one’s staying with me forever.
So let’s take stock. I think at the end of the day, you probably aren’t the best fit for my daughter. Not saying she’d be a model citizen for any teacher. I know that better than anyone on the planet. My kid ain’t easy. She’s got some tics. But you know what? SHE’S FREAKING AWESOME. How many 4 year olds do you know who come up to you asking if we can “do science?”
So know this: we will continue to back you up here in the home. Hell, I’d love to bring some cool minerals and fossils in to show your class. I’ll go on field trips to help. I’ll bake shit for bake sales. I’ll come in to read. But I’m done feeling shitty. I’m done feeling shitty about your dots. I’m done having heart palpitations, wondering if my kid is going to have a good day. I’ll talk about issues with you and with my kid. But you can shove the red dots up your ass. They’re subjective and don’t mean shit.
With that I’ll close. Stella wants to read War and fucking Peace.
Love (at an inappropriately high level),
P. S. My daughter loves going to school every day. If your behavior causes that to change? Then we’ll really need a conference.