Monday, November 5, 2012

Parent Teacher Conferences

I wanted to record this for posterity.  I had parent-teacher conferences for the kids on Thursday.  This year they have two amazing teachers.  The whole family adores them and it has been such an incredible learning environment. 

However, as you may have read from time to time, the terrible twos did not magically disappear on the triplets third birthday.  In fact, while there is less running off willy nilly into danger, there is more defiance and boundary testing which Bray and I are befuddled on how to manage.  We want respectful kind children that are independent but also obedient. 

Apparently, that's what we have.  The teachers regaled me in nothing short of glowing terms of the children and their manners and their learning.  They said they were the only kids that clean up their snacks and cups after snack time without being asked and then go back to help the other children.  They said they are confident and smart.  They showed me the numbers games they play with everyone to teach them number associations and described how the kids have it mastered.  They said the trio read all the time, especially the baby, and all listen attentively during story time.  The kids even all play well with others and are obedient and each have their own group of friends. 

I am not sharing this to say my kids rock.  Well, my kids rock, but that's totally not the point.  I have felt like the biggest failure of a mother lately.  Our house is complete bedlam.  Table manners are abysmal.  When Bray told the eldest he couldn't sit at the table with a ball cap on, you would have think we murdered his pet.  When we put the baby in time out because he wouldn't sit down at the dinner table, he burst into the most insane temper fit you've ever seen and I thought he was going to hyperventilate.  We all tried to go to the grocery story yesterday, but they would not sit in the cart and grabbed everything out of the vegetable bins.  Bray had to take the eldest out to the car meanwhile I was inside with the other two and the little lady was pulling my hair out and knocking things off the shelf.  As we loaded the car up, the three simultaneously wailed like we were beating them and I looked around to make sure no one was calling the cops.  It is warfare people. 

Yet on Thursday afternoon, I sat with these amazing women who teach my children every day, and they said, "Whatever you are doing, it is working.  Your kids are such a delight to have in our class every day."  One particularly precious gift was how they went on and on about the little lady.  Sometimes I worry because I feel like she doesn't have as big of a champion as the boys.  Bray and I love the kids equally but the eldest has an incredibly close relationship with Bray's father, which I love watching grow, and the baby has an incredibly close relationship with my mother, in part because he reminds her so much of me, but the little lady doesn't really have that.  I think some of that stems from the fact that she IS so independent and fearless and dances to her own beat, literally and figuratively.  But the teachers shared how loving and bright and joyful she is.  They shared that when they do the alphabet song with the phonetics on the wall board, she stands up and "teaches" the class.  They said she is so incredibly confident presenting and she loves to serve as a teacher.  They talked about music class and how our little bit dances with every ounce of energy in her body - from her toes all the way up to dancing with her eyes.  They said her face exudes this joyous passion. 

There is so much that we don't see at home as parents.  There is so much of what we pour into our children that they pour right back out into those they encounter and we never know.  Except for parent teacher conferences and grandparent reports and friends' moms sharing. 

I want them to know, if they read these post twenty years from now, that from an early age they had such passion and strength and courage and self-initiative and intellect and humor and joy and curiosity and compassion and fortitude.  I want them to know that even on the hard days they were so so so loved.  And I want to remind myself of what a gift this whole chaotic journey is. 

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