This was not destined to be a good day. As another day of gray drizzle settled in, a friend e-mailed the Parent Imperfect this morning with the offer of a ticket to a Red Sox-Yankees game at Fenway Park next week. The PI dropped everything to be the first to answer, but then realized that he ISN’T GOING TO BE HERE!!! Is there no justice? There will probably be freezing rain for weather, anyway…
Both Connie and Vince have been taking the MCAS test at their respective schools this week. The PI wouldn’t even have known that this was happening at the nation’s oldest public school, had not Vince rejoiced at the fact that something had finally lessened his homework load. Connie, on the other hand, was all about being ready for her first bout with this test. Three days in advance, she had her pencil box ready with precisely what the teacher had told her to prepare. Two days in advance, she produced a list of what she wanted for snacks on MCAS day (strawberries and canteloupe). She set her alarm on the morning of and was already tying her shoes when the PI went into her room to wake her up. Can’t be late on the day of the MCAS. Just whose child is this?
After the first day, she had only a single comment. “Thinking makes me REALLY hungry!”
The PI couldn’t help but ask, “Was there something different about today’s thinking that made you hungrier?” Without hesitation came the answer…”I always think, but R. told us that we really have to think for the MCAS. It was that extra thinking that made me so hungry.”
On the night before the MCAS, both third grade teachers would probably have liked to be home relaxing, but, instead, they were at a meeting called for third grade parents to talk about behavior issues that have existed all year long. Because Liz passes by the Hernández on her way home from work, she went to the meeting and the PI took the homework patrol.
The meeting left Liz impatient. Neither the Principal (who has announced her upcoming retirement) nor the probably-soon-to-be Principal, nor the Assistant Principal was there, so the institutional commitment to make something change wasn’t clear. No one expected the Principal to be there, but one of the three leaders of the school would have added a lot to the meeting. The invitation to the meeting promised pizza and child care, but neither materialized, so the children who came had to hang. There was much talk about the sorts of behavior going on and the role of parents in changing the school behavior of their children, but precious little in the way of a plan to act together to address what could easily become a serious problem as this group grows older. It was as if the school sensed that it needed to do something about this, but wasn’t quite sure what it wanted to do.
Through it all, Liz and the PI continue to struggle with the decision about where Connie will be next year. Everyone has an opinion about AWC based on their own experience, but those can only go so far in helping Liz and the PI with this decision. Liz left the Monday meeting frustrated with the Hernández, but far from clear that changing schools is the solution.
On the heels of the MCAS, Vince’s class will take a field trip tomorrow to see the film, Alice in Wonderland. By coincidence, they were reading the book just as the film came out. In response to an assignment, he wrote quite a nice diary entry that featured Alice, on the occasion of her 18th birthday, reflecting back on her days in Wonderland. It ended with him putting words in Alice’s mouth that might just as well have come from his own.
In Wonderland, I could be who I wanted when I wanted. I did not always have to be this Alice. Now, here in the real world and as a young adult, I must always be Alice – pretty Alice, sweet Alice, but always still Alice.
Having to always be Alice can be hard at any age.
From Alice, the scene shifted quickly to tonight’s Latin translation of The Cat in the Hat. Are they really doing a translation of The Cat in the Hat? Assuming his old copy of the book had to be around, V. waited until the last minute to check. NOT! Google Books to the rescue. NOT!! (The Dr. Seuss estate is having no part of Google Books.) Undaunted, the PI scurried to the phone to get someone to read page 4 into the receiver. As the evening moved from ridiculous to absurd, too many people answered that they were sure they had it, but not a single one could lay a hand on it. In a strange way, that made the PI feel…less alone. He considered calling the Children’s Room at some library on the West Coast, but then let it go.