So, I am happy to report that, as expected, Phaedra is indeed brilliant and kind and sweet and wonderful.  Her mother, however, while perhaps rather intelligent and extremely patient, can sometimes be found slightly lacking in common sense.

Friday morning, everything is running according to schedule.  I get up, drop Bella off at preschool, return home and get Phaedra and Surrey up, ready, and out the door with Grandma by 9:00am for Bella’s preschool party.  Rob and I leave the house by 9:20am to make it right on time for Phaedra’s 9:30am conference appointment.

We stroll up to her classroom door, where a small crowd of people are congregated in the doorway.  At this point, my husband (who, admittedly, has me beat in the common sense department), realizes something is wrong.  Not me.  I’m thinking, “Huh.  It must be like a group conference, where two or three sets of parents are scheduled at the same time!”, which WHY WOULD THEY DO THAT?  “Mrs. Smith, Angela is so smart!  Mr. Jackson, your Jennifer…not so much.  And I don’t even know where to start with your kid, Ms. Lockwood.”

As the people head into the classroom, I start to follow them.  Thankfully, Rob realizes the epic stupidity that’s going on in my head and grabs my arm, but not before I make eye contact with Phaedra’s teacher and give her a big “Hey, it’s me!” smile.  He just looks at me and says, “Dude, what are you doing?”  As I turn and start to form the thoughts needed to explain my cockamamie theory of what’s going on, my mind instantly realizes that the explanation I’m preparing to give makes zero sense.  In the middle of my confusion, I look up and see a schedule of appointments posted next to the door.  There is no 9:30am appointment.  There is, however, a 9:00am appointment that has Phaedra’s name next to it.

Oh goddammit.

I just stand there looking from the sheet, to my husband, to the classroom, and back to the sheet.  My brain is still stuck in that confused stage where it can’t accept what’s going on, it just keeps insisting there’s some kind of mistake, because that’s how sure you are of your position.  Therefore, my first reaction is to be pissed off.  I take a seat in one of the tiny chairs in the hallway.

“What are you doing?”


“We missed it, man.  Let’s just go.”

“No way.  We’re here.  That’s the time the teacher sent home on that note.  I wrote down the right time on the calendar, I know it.  I checked it last night.”

“So, what, we’re going to wait here and make someone else wait so we can weasel in and see her teacher?”

“Yes.  Yes we are.”

Rob knows enough to just step away for a minute and let me put all the pieces together in situations like this.  Slowly, I realize that oh shit, the whole reason I originally asked my mother-in-law to take Phaedra and Surrey to Bella’s preschool party wasn’t because the party and her conference were at the same time, but because I wasn’t sure how long the conference would take and I didn’t want to be late and miss the party.  Meaning yeah, I wrote down the wrong time.  We’re thirty minutes late to our first parent-teacher conference, and it’s all my fault.

“I think I did write down the wrong time.”

“Ya think?”

“Shit.  I feel like I’m sitting here out in the hallway, and I got in trouble at school.”

That’s exactly what is going on here.”

Our life is just so busy.  It’s nonstop, no room for error, who’s-going-where, who-needs-to-be-picked-up-from-where-and-at-what-time busy every single day.  Between two work schedules and four different school schedules to consider, I can only worry about the coming day’s events and schedule.  Otherwise, I would lose my fucking mind trying to keep it all straight.  So, I write everything out of the ordinary on the calendar so that I don’t miss important things like this.  That sounds completely normal to most of the population, but for me, that calendar keeps me in control.  When something goes wrong or pops up unexpectedly, I’m unsettled and out of control.  Plus, I feel a deep need to get these kinds of things right and not come off like a total asshole.  Because we’re really not total assholes, and her teacher should know that.

We finally see Phaedra’s teacher, who squeezes us in after the next (prompt) parents’ appointment.  She graciously pretends that we’re not extreme fuckups, and explains to us what skills they’ve been working on this fall, and how great Phaedra is doing socially and academically.  Which, of course we already knew, but it’s nice to hear confirmation from someone who’s not blinded by intense adoration and irrational annoyance.

When we get home, I check the calendar.  Right fucking there, clearly written on the calendar, it says “9:30am — preschool party”, and, right next to it, “9:00am — conferences”.  I WROTE IT ON THE GODDAMN CALENDAR AND STILL READ IT WRONG. I don’t even know.

Common sense < book sense.


This entry was posted in Debbie Downer, half-assin it, kindergarten, Phaedra, professional slacker, things that don't make sense, what dude?. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Conferred

  1. Shawn Corlew says:

    Oh, Janel….DO NOT take all the responsibility here. You are worrying me, girl. Did you not learn anything in our 2 1/2 years of working together? Personal accountability is important, but come on, it’s not 100% all you. Put the blame where it belongs

    Teacher – She should anticipate parents to be late…she is not the center of their universe.

    School District – do they not look at all the calendars for all the schools??? Pre-school included. Now, how unfair is it for the district to make you pick favorites. I see a lawsuit in the future, based on the emotional/mental abuse/neglect the school district FORCED you to dole out on poor little Bella. You know what happened to Jan Brady…”Marsha, Marsha, Marsha”. I should have been a parent advocate in the 70’s…I have the fro.

    Pre-School Teacher – Seriously, she couldn’t set the party back a bit??? Is she OCD. They are pre-schoolers…concept of time is all jacked up anyway. Sylvia says “the day after this day”. Now exactly, what day would that be?

    Teachers Union – everything to accommodate the teacher. Why doesn’t the MEA negotiate longer time frames for parent-teacher conferences. I could have at least 4 hours to hear about how perfect my kids are AND give my recommendations about how the teacher can put my ideas into best practice and keep all the other kids on task, so many isn’t held back on her accelerated learning. “Yes, she is THAT smart and has good home training to boot B****, did you check out those MEAP/NWEA scores”.

    I could go on and on, but my professional counseling advice is pass the buck if ou can. It is so empowering!

    Our kids are some lucky M Effers…Ralph doesn’t like me to swear about the kids;)

  2. I definitely need a refresher course in the Shawn Corlew School of Parenting, especially now that I’ve entered the elementary school years! I miss these rants!

  3. Arnebya says:

    I knew it! Well, I knew you’d get good news on Phaedra, but I didn’t know you were like me with random dyslexia. Huh. I’m glad you were squeezed in to see the teacher. Did that mean you missed the preschool party though?

    • Yes, but it’s cool. We were planning on missing it anyways, and Grandma was there. Plus, it’s just the Sharing Soup party. They have a party once a month, and this one is pretty lame — they make soup from everyone’s vegetables they bring in from home. Guess how much soup the preschoolers eat?

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