A few weeks ago, we had a parent-teacher conference at Em’s preschool. He was 19-months-old at the time and I assure you, the absurdity here does not escape me. But this is the sort of thing that happens when you combine over-achieving, uppity parents with bloated, private school tuitions. They come up with parent-teacher conferences where terms like “fine motor skills” and “sensory stimuli” are used in place of “he mashed Play-Doh” or “we found him digging through the trash.”
Naturally, I got myself worked up over this meeting. When I was a kid, parent-teacher conferences usually didn’t include the part about how awesome I was.
“Aren’t you nervous?” I asked Toby Joe on the walk over.
“Why should I be nervous?”
“Because this is a teacher-parent conference.” Like that answer alone would sum up years worth of my getting into trouble. “Oh, I forgot, you were an honorable student.”
Em’s teachers started off by saying how great he is. And I’m surprised when the tell me that he doesn’t kick them in the guts and face when they’re changing his diaper. And I’m surprised to find out that he listens to them—all of them.
Then we move on to goals.
“We’re going to work on his pronunciation.”
They had to come up with something attainable for a 19-month-old, suggesting he find Higgs boson is setting the kid up for failure.
“Is there something we can do to help?” I asked.
“Just repeat things to him—clearly.”
Toby and I looked at one another and had one of those silent conversations couples tend to have. Then he continued.
“Now, I realize that the word ‘paci’ is already a bastardization of another word, but what you’re saying is we shouldn’t find his pronunciation more charming than the real one. So using ‘bappy’ instead of ‘paci’ is doing nothing to help him when it comes to pronunciation.”
It’s not like they were suggesting that he’s slow or anything. I know they were just doing their job—possibly too well considering the age group. And I’m not at all surprised given the pressure they get from some parents. But we aren’t those parents.
“I’m not giving up bappy.” I said. “It’s way better than paci. And I’m not ready to give up datadoo either.”
And I’m certain, that after you’ve seen this video, you’ll agree.
Datadoo is going to be hard to let go of.