Everyone knows there’s a big difference in how you handle the first born, the middle child, and the youngest. Recently, I went to 8th grade Open House and had to laugh at myself as I saw the difference so clearly.
It’s significant. And I started to make a mental list…
Open House Experience for First Born Child
I arrived early and brought a pen and notebook and took copious notes. On everything.
I introduced myself to every single teacher, wanting to make a good impression and create a strong home/school connection.
I worried about my kid’s credits and weighted grades and asked questions. (I know. I’m sorry. I was that parent. Meanwhile, everyone else was just wanting to hurry up and get the hell home.)
I questioned personalities and teaching styles and wondered if they were a good fit for my child.
I stressed over the thought of detentions and policies and school protocol. High School seemed so complicated! And everyone looks so serious about everything!
When I got home, I grilled him: “Mrs. So and So said you should be reading 20 minutes every night. Are you? I don’t think I ever see you reading?! And did you know Math help is available every single day after school? No excuse for low grades! There’s always help! And by the way, join a club! There’s hundreds to choose from! Pick something. You’ve got to do something besides sports to be a well-rounded student! These things matter!”
I was a lot. But it didn’t seem that way at the time! It seemed CRUCIAL to my kid’s success! I was on every committee and super involved and super– well, just super. I was a school district’s dream. Free work! Professional volunteer! Call me! I’ll do it!
Five or Six years later and a Middle Child in there as well, I was pretty entertained by my own transformation. Things are a bit more… relaxed, shall we say?
Open House Experience for Last Child
Crap! That’s tonight???
Quick glass of wine because… well… because.
Running a few minutes late, but show up just in time. I think I’ve got a pen here somewhere.
Listen to chorus teacher but feel very distracted by the woman next to me and her boyfriend. Discreetly jump on Twitter and tweet about the awkwardness of bringing your BF to Open House. It just seems excessive. But maybe that’s just me. #IDontThinkHeWantsToBeHere
Decide there is nothing here, in any of these classes, I need to take notes on. Who does that? I’m pretty sure all of this info is on the website.
Mr. Math Teacher is kind of hot. Just sayin’. I think she’ll do just fine in here.
Why does this same mother keep asking so many questions? Why doesn’t she just chat with the teacher afterward? Schedule a conference, Lady. Nobody cares about your kid’s credits but you.
This computer teacher has now talked for fifteen solid minutes about the importance of typing and building a strong foundation with the Home Row keys. Honestly, I just had a broken wrist and collarbone and still managed to “type”. Pretty sure the kids will fight through it.
Of course when I got home, my child wanted to know all about it.
“It was great! I loved your teachers–especially Math. This is going to be your best year yet!”
And I believe it–I love my kid’s school. I love teachers. And I mean no disrespect. Also, I forgot to join the PTO, but that was a complete oversight. It’s just that with a little more parenting under my belt, I value a more balanced perspective this time around.
Rookie parents: It all works out somehow. Everything’s going to be okay. Even when it seems like it won’t be, it will. Of course be informed. Of course be involved– but cut yourself some slack, too. And as you already know, the ride goes light years faster than you think, so try to enjoy it while you’re on it.
And DJ, sorry bud. I was trying to be Super Everything, which also included Super Annoying.