Friday, December 12, 2008

Always and Nevers

Yesterday, when I arrived at Jackson's school for his first parent-teacher conference, I was early and Jackson spotted me in the hallway. Well, once you've been spotted there's no going back so I joined him on the floor while I waited for the apt.
As the new grown-up in the room, I was smothered with babies. Jackson sat in my lap and all the children rushed forward with comments, gestures, smiles, toys and silliness. Sweet Bella, Jackson's almost twin, came forward to sit on Jackson's lap (while he was sitting in mine). Blond-haired Dane brought a toy truck that did entertaining things. Tiny Sawyer brought us a Sesame Street piano that no longer worked. But that didn't matter as all the children pressed the various keys and knobs and levers while I held it out.
What surprised me the most, was my ability to understand them. Jackson has schooled me in toddler speak, so when each little face would grunt out a syllable I knew exactly what they were trying to communicate. Sure, the majority of it consisted of "Melmo," but still it was nice to be able to talk and play with all of the children.
I think Jackson enjoyed getting to sit in his mama's lap and watch his friends circle around him. I remember loving it when one of my parents showed up at school. It always made me feel so special, and what kid doesn't like the extra attention?
Sadly, when it was time to leave, Jackson was not happy. But we had timed it just right. It was nap time, and as he trotted off to get some rest I joined his teacher.
She told me, and I am quoting, that Jackson "is the smartest kid I have seen since I have been doing this."
She told me he is very friendly, curious and that the teachers "are his best friends." She said she speaks to him like he is older because "I know he understands." She said he loves when they bring out the puppets, could dance to music all day, his vocabulary was incredible and the fact that he can do all of his animal sounds was amazing. (He really is like a walking zoo.)
She also said the only thing he does a bit too much of is eating.
My boy does love his food.
Just like his mama ... and several other of his relatives. His love of cookies? he can't help it.
He was born with cookie-fever. We all were.
He always wants more. We keep an eye on it so he doesn't get too full and they watch at school as well. With some food you have to dole out the portions or else it will all go into the mouth at once. But this is something his teacher feels is age appropriate.
Jackson and his classmates are about to transition into the next class. He is currently a duck and will be a monkey the week of Dec. 29. His teacher feels he will adjust well, and I agree. But just to ease my mind I asked for a meeting with his new teacher and to observe the new class for a bit so I can get an idea of what he will be doing.
I was most pleased to discover that his new teacher will actually be a teacher he had when he was 8 mos. Her name is Pam and he remembers her. I really like her and her grandson is in the program as well. His next room is like a classroom with several learning centers and big windows letting in tons of light. The best part is even if the weather is bad and they can't go outside they can go to the gym down the hall. He will love it. The part he will not love is that this class slowly tries to break a child from his pacifier. This is, however, the part the mama loves. I was actually there when I saw one of the teachers trying to break a child of his pacifier just before nap time and I was relieved to see how gently and soothingly it was done. And that it worked as the child drifted off sans pacifier.
I also received Jackson's assessment sheet which states several kinds of behavior and then identifies if your child does them "Always, Sometimes or Never."
For example:
Can do his animal sounds: Always.
Listens to music: Always.
Uses a utensil: Sometimes
He only received two Nevers and one was "Catches the ball: Never."
Unfortunately, Jackson appears to have a lot of my genes - in which case that task may always be marked: Never.
Eats his cookies, however? Always.

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