Friday, February 26, 2016

The Dreaded Spring Conference

It's the conference that comes after they really get to know your kid. Not like that sweet fall conference where your kid is new and still on their good side.

I really, really never thought about what it would be like to be a parent in those chairs. Ever. Out of the hundreds of conferences I held pre-kids, it never once occurred to me what it would feel like knowing the teacher would analyze your child's behavior and development in front of you.

It's like opening that report card or getting your test handed back to you, unsure which way it could go. And it could definitely go either way.

This morning was Benjamin's conference. His teacher is wonderful and lovely and the speech pathologist that works in his class with other kiddos was out and around and is always so wonderful. His teacher personally has 2 daughters herself and is younger than me (because you know I stalked her teacher profile and found her on all the social media outlets). Which also makes me wonder what exactly the parents of my former students knew about me! Oh, that young and naive (touche) woman who doesn't even have kids yet. She won't know what's coming to her when she finally does.

The teacher seems to genuinely like Benjamin and thinks he is "so sweet" and "so funny", so at least we had positive marks there (or maybe being a preschool teacher means you find these little sociopaths to be cute). She's seeing progress in areas of counting objects (that dang #15!) and cutting along straight lines and retelling story sequence for comprehension.

He mostly plays by the rules (and not so much with peers), but recounted an incident when he wanted to be at another center instead of the one he was at, so he calmly grabbed his velcro face and walked to the desired center and swapped it out with another kid's face. Clever. Except she was quick to correct and he took position on the floor, uncooperative. But as far as behavior goes, he hasn't had a tantrum to speak of in her presence. So he doesn't share well. And he doesn't always want to cooperate. But we've come a long way from the kicking, spitting, biting and throwing that ruled his everyday just 6 months ago.

His fine motor is lacking and we discussed the possibility of him seeing an OT if it doesn't improve soon. He can trace his name (with bribery), but writing it freehand just isn't happening well. I can't tell if he just doesn't care to please (true on other accounts) or just can't. He can draw a picture of a person, but only with prompting on what to draw next, and there's no guaranteeing your ears will not be positioned on your legs. He holds the pencil/pen/crayon limp and uncertain. We're working with playdough to strengthen hand muscles and practicing more, but the kid simply has negative desire to be drawing or coloring or writing a thing. Gross motor and dramatic play all the way. He doesn't even like stickers and even has trouble peeling them off while 25mo Claire peels them easily and loves them abundantly.

And so, the bell sounded and the principal came on the loud speaker to announce the conference had ended and I breathed a sigh of relief as I exited the door. And then went home and immediately printed out more storytelling sequences and busted out that playdough and had him draw a picture of himself and write his name.

Being a mom on the other side of the table is way harder than holding that conference. Pass the wine.


Kari Wagner said... [Reply to comment]

Friend, as a mom who has an older child who was "just a joy, no problems at all, I don't know why I even had you come in for a conference" to having a child who has ADHD, I feel you.
It has been an experience.
This spring, the teacher told me on the phone that we don't even need to do the spring conference because we talk so much that there isn't anything new to tell me.
This isn't a bad thing, just that with her needs, we are in touch weekly.

Caroline said... [Reply to comment]

Sounds like you're doing a damn good job, mama. Cheers!

Brie said... [Reply to comment]

As far as fine motor skills, were right there with you. Sal will trace but won't even attempt on his own. His people only become people when I ask him to draw a face, eyes, mouth, arms and legs...I feel like it will come in time. It's hard to be patient ! We haven't had conferences yet, but I'm curious to hear what his new teachers have to share with me.

Laura Jane said... [Reply to comment]

I will say this- I have no real idea whether Grace can write her name, draw accurate faces, or cut on a straight line... I feel like I have a lot of work to do. :|

A Few Good Eggs said... [Reply to comment]

Sounds like you are being the best mama. When I read these posts, I think about all of the challenges (and, of course, the fun) that is to come for me and B.