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Explaining your child's personality in two lines

Posted by Kristen on September 8, 2008 at 6:23 AM in Kristen
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The other night we went to the first Parent/Teacher night for preschool. We were armed with 10 pages of paperwork to complete. As is always the case, I find myself hesitating on the "describe your child" form.

It starts out easy enough. Biographical data, allergies, things your child likes to do in his free time. If you haven't realized yet, I'm a bit of a smart aleck. I'm always tempted to add a little "likes to take long walks on the beach at sunset, enjoys casual dinners on Tuesdays." Or, for the eighteen-month-old crowd, "enjoys throwing sand at the beach ANY time, likes those frozen $1 pizzas you get in the freezer section of the supermarket."

What are you supposed to write there? I find myself describing the usual play suspects. Legos, cars, trains, legos, riding a bike at break-neck speed. Does this really explain anything about my child? Will it open the window to his little soul so that his teacher can jump right in and make him feel comfortable in this new class filled with alphabet charts and graphs? Will The Baby realize that this is the coolest thing ever?

This concern is premature because I haven't even gotten to the part of the form that asks how you, the parent would describe your child's personality. Eek. Surprising, The Boy flows from my heart onto the paper. "Gracious, kind and generous spirit. Willing and able to help just when you need it most."

The Baby? I find myself a little stumped. In describing my children, I find that I often lump them together as two of the same. When faced with this homework, I realize that while they both have a tremendously big heart, The Baby is not really like his brother at all. I find myself tempted to use the words "feisty, mischievous and yes, even "soul-less."

It's not that I really think The Baby has no soul. It's just that some days I feel like he is laughing at all of us for our norms and rules and restrictions. It's clear that he finds rules to be suggestions rather than the law. You can tell him a million times and he still looks at you with that look of wonder like, "you don't REALLY want me to do that, do you?"

The words I chose: decisive, committed, caring and spirited. I thought it was a nice way to put the teacher on notice that she'll probably spend lots of time pulling him down off the top of the shelves. But with that smile and determination, you just have to laugh. At least, I hope she does.


Monica writes...

Ha!! I SO used to hand these out to parents, back in the days when I taught full time. Now I'm a parent and I feel exactly the same way you do. Too funny. I wonder how the old me would have reacted to your smart aleck comments. I hope I would have laughed. If I sent that form home now, and got back, "loves $1 pizzas, and long walks on the beach", I would howl. I dare you to do it. :)

jen lemen writes...

this post made me laugh outloud--i love your take on the forms and the way you see both boys. and i'm with monica--you would make those teachers' day to hear the uncensored truth, sand-throwing episodes adn all.

Missy writes...

I have to laugh since I just filled out those same forms. For my middle child, and I used words like "independent" and "determined". On the first day, at pick up time, the teacher told me that they saw her express her independence that day.
Oh boy!

Jess writes...

Nice choice of words. I always draw a complete blank when faced with those forms - you'd think I didn't live with the kid!

Love the $1 pizza idea, especially since my husband recently filled in the "people NOT authorized to pick up your child" line of a state form with "clowns...never clowns." OMG.

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