Parents Evening .....

For four golden years Parents evening was a joyous occasion. I sat happily with my daughter's teacher and indulged in the praise bestowed upon my own marvelous creation. I arrived confident, with a spring in my step, knowing that I'd got one of the 'good' ones and an A* report was securely under my belt before it even began. I saw the annual soiree as a highlight on my social calendar of events. I  dressed for the occasion, wore make up that even included mascara, arranged a babysitter and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It was like an awards ceremony for my very own parental achievements and obviously my skills swept the board. I was smug. I was biased. I was an idiot.

In 2015, my son started school. My perfect parent tiara began to slip a little and within a week, it had completely fallen off. By Christmas, it had been utterly destroyed. Collecting my son from school had become like a game of Russian roulette. Often, I was greeted by the dreaded words, "Can I just have a word?", or, "Can you come inside for five minutes?". I found myself no longer the keen parent hovering at the front like a Teletubbie on speed, but instead, I hid at the back, hoping that If I didn't make eye contact then they might, just might, leave me be. I mastered my exit like Dale Winton in an episode of Supermarket sweep. You snooze, you lose.
The very first time they called me over, my delightful blonde curly-haired, blue-eyed little boy had clobbered his peer over the head with a hammer. He denied completely that he'd done it and refused to speak to his teacher for the rest of the day, turning his cheek every time the poor woman spoke to him. I was totally mortified. He added to his repertoire quite rapidly after that. Intentionally flooding the boys toilets by shoving segments of satsuma down the plug holes in the sink, flooding the room with water and completing his masterpiece by fetching another young boy to 'swim' in it. 

I was crestfallen. Bewildered by the fact that from the very same quality gene pool and carefully tailored parental techniques we had failed him as his parents. There was a crucial flaw somewhere in his genetics, well there had to be. What else could explain it? I convinced myself it must be from his Dad's side of the family. It certainly wasn't from mine!

As I walked into Parents evening yesterday, I was dressed in my scruffy day clothes, complete with a trail of banana rubbed from my ankle to my knee where the baby had pulled herself up earlier this morning. I'm wearing a coat that my Mum gave me when I was pregnant, to fit around my ever growing bump. The bump is now a one year old baby, the coat still fits. Go figure. There's a huge rip under the armpit but its comfy and it has big pockets for all my important crap, snotty tissues, inedible chewing gum, my house keys and a random screwed up carrier bag that I've saved because, 'it's M&S'. I'm paying close attention to my feet, and the neatly laid parquet floor. My aim is survival. 
The teachers are displayed around the room at small tables with two plastic school chairs directly opposite. It feels like a scene from a prison visiting session where you really don't want to be there, but you have to be. Or an interview for benefits at the Job Centre. It reminds me of being at school myself and no one ever wanted to sit head-on to the teacher, God, no!
I silently hope that his teacher is busy, that someone else already has her undivided attention. I've been anxious for this interrogation...sorry, meeting, all day, so a moment or too to compose myself would be just lovely. As luck would have it, she's free, she's looking directly at us and she's smiling. Bugger.

Much to my amazement, the teacher quite likes him. I try hard to hide my surprise, sneaking a cheeky glance at her list of appointments in case she has us down for the wrong child. She hasn't. She praises his ability in Maths and Reading, describes him as quiet and well behaved, oh, and lazy, but I'll take that. For a moment I think she's well and truly off her rocker, maybe I look that bad in my attire that she thinks were a homeless family and she's just taking pity on us. She isn't. I look over at my husband slouched in the chair beside me rubbing his elbow. He's 34 and he's fallen down at work today and bashed it. He's decided now of all moments to start rubbing it and thoroughly inspecting it, nursing it more than he ever did any of our Newborn children. I'm hoping he'll say something, he doesn't. Just bloody great. 
As it turns out, the teacher is pleased with him, my Son that is, not my injured husband. He's achieving, mostly, with a little encouragement. She say's he's "Just a boy," and has no concerns. He's a good kid. My kid, is a good kid. 

I needed tonight. I needed to be reminded that my boy is NOT my daughter and that that's OK. I needed to be reminded to embrace him and his funny little ways. I needed confirmation from someone, anyone, that even though I feel way out of my depth and stretched beyond my limits, we're both still swimming, learning. I'd got myself stuck so easily in a rut that I'd smothered him with despair not stopping to absorb anything but his faults. I needed a gentle nudge to remind me that this boy is perfect just as he is.

I needed Parents evening.

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  1. Admire your honesty. Children are individuals and it is important to remember that particularly between siblings so they all feel valued for their own qualities and skills. I have never found parents' evenings particularly helpful on the whole and now home educate so don't have to bother. #AnythingGoes

    1. Thanks for reading, I'd love to home educate my boy. My girl loves school but my little boy hate's it. Were just going through an Autism diagnosis at the moment so I've seriously been considering home educating if things don't improve. Thanks for your comment. x

  2. Oh I remember this. My eldest was a little star at school, behaved and did his work, and my youngest - at least when he first started, caused havoc! He's a lot better now and in face we just had our parents evening and he's doing very well. I think sometimes boys just need a little more time to settle down. And hey, like the teacher said - he's a good kid.