Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Anonymous Conference

It was at the end of February when I attended Cael's conference, my proverbial tail tucked between my legs and and a makeshift apology note stowed in my purse, just in case. As it turns out, things were better than I thought; Cael shows signs of his brilliance everyday but is tarnished by a seemingly uncontrollable need to talk and be boisterous.

After a series of incentives (bribes) and consequences were put in place at home, however, he seems to be doing better at school and I've been able to breathe a sigh of relief.  That was, of course, until Graham's conference yesterday... the day I'd been dreading for weeks.

Just kidding.

Graham is about as easy-going as kids come, and while he can turn on the mischief when he's playing with his brother, for the most part he is very quiet and keeps to himself, especially at school.  When I arrived for his conference, I was handed a paper that assessed his progress in preschool and also included a brief write-up of my boy.

"Graham is gentle and kind-hearted.  He is well liked by the other children.  Graham is a sweet boy and we enjoy having him in our class!"

The brief assessment included gross and fine motor skills, interaction with other kids and more, and time after time he scored consistently.  But there was (only) one category in which he was proving to be inconsistent. 

Gives personal data:  first name, last name

That was odd.  Graham knows his full name, our address, most of our birthdays and is well on his way toward having an airtight memory full of personal details.  So why wouldn't he share his name with his teacher?

"Graham, what is your full name?"


"Because I want to make sure you know it.  Can you tell me?"

"I know it."

"Okay, let's hear it."

"I'll tell you later."

"No, I'd like you to tell me now, please."

"Fine.  It's Graham."

"...and the rest?"

"I don't want to say my second name, Mom.  It's weird."

"No it's not, I love your first and your middle names!  Why do you think it's weird?"

"Because a boy in my school said 'Elliott' sounds like elephant!  I'm not an elephant."

"Oh, honey, no one thinks you are an elephant.  You're much too handsome and too little to be an elephant.  A monkey, maybe, but no elephant."


"So next time your teacher wants to know your name, will you follow directions?"

Graham and his elephant trunk.
"Yes.  Graham Elephant Foreman."

Close enough.  And I guess that if I end conference season with one child who talks up a storm but has the potential to make things happen, and another who is a pachyderm full of hugs and snuggles, I've done my job.

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Leave your own "ism". Cael and Graham double-dog dare you.