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Do you care what your kids’ teachers think of you?

Erin Zammett Ruddy

Alex started a brand-new, full-day pre-school yesterday. He couldn’t wait to get there and play with new toys and new friends. I, on the other hand, was anxious. Not because of the separation (he’s a pro) or the fact that my baby is now a big 4 year old, but because I wanted to make a good impression on his teachers. Which was a challenge. I had spent the entire weekend at my sister’s bachelorette party on Fire Island (see me striking a pose at the beach house, above) so needless to say, when Sunday evening rolled around and I rolled in, I wasn’t exactly on top of my game. Nick had taken Al to orientation Friday night while I was at my sister’s shower so post party weekend I was greeted with a giant folder of papers to be filled out and lists of which things gets labeled how and what, exactly, to pack “if you want your child to have a successful first week.” So much for watching the finale of Entourage.


By the time we were ready to head to school yesterday morning, I had packed him a nutritious-but-still-fun lunch (i.e., I threw in some Annie’s bunny cookies to balance out the grapes and strawberries), I gave him cool clothes for his change of clothes box (instead of the slightly-stained stuff I wanted to put in there), I wrote every piece of paperwork out in clear, nice handwriting, I even used white stick-on labels to write his name on all his stuff. I was determined to show up with everything they had asked for. But then there was the All About Me sheet, which will hang on the bulletin board when your kid is the kid of the day or week or month or something. After a few basic questions, it had this fill in the blank:


I can____________________


After giving it some thought, I wrote about the stuff that Alex is currently most proud of…. “I can ride a bike, swim, play football (and arm fart!).” When I took him for his 4-year-old well check up, the first thing he said when the doctor walked in was, “Hey Dr. Davis, want to see this?” He promptly whipped off his shirt and arm farted. He seriously shows everyone this skill so I put it on his little All About Me sheet to show that this is who Alex is. A fun little kid with personality to burn. Also, I’m a writer and those of you who know this blog know that I love my fun little parentheticals (I also don’t like to take this stuff too seriously—it’s preschool for crying out loud not his college application!). Of course after dropping him off and seeing the serious teachers and the quiet, calm kids playing nicely I thought, D’oh! This place is legit.


Making matters worse: When I picked him up yesterday afternoon (he greeted me with, "but mom, I'm not ready to go home yet" which made me happy) the first kid of the day’s sheet was hanging up and the kid herself had written the whole thing out--with pretty damn good penmanship. Her hair color, her likes, her abilities. Alex can write his name but that’s about it as far as I know (we don’t sit around writing…we don’t really sit at all come to think of it). Now not only am I feeling idiotic and slightly inappropriate, but a little worried about Alex’s skill set! Ugh. But will I be the crazy mom if I ask them for a new sheet to fill out? Or if I inquire about how many kids wrote it themselves?! Why do I care? Does anyone else have this kind of absurd anxiety when it comes to your kids’ classrooms and the impression you make as the parent? Please tell me I’m not alone! Also, would love your input re: arm farting. Should I McGuyver my way into his folder with some white out? (I'm only half kidding.)

My kid can arm fart, can yours?!