Here it is FAAAANGSGIVING again and I have decided to let myself off the hook some this year. I was plotting and planning how to make an exact replica of Thanksgiving, but gluten- and dairy- and corn-free and I said you know what? I am just going to do what I’ve been doing here and play to my strengths. I bought a nice rib roast and it has been sitting in the refrigerator for almost 24 hours coated in salt.
I was that asshole at the store last night who was going “Sooo do you have any more oxtails or what?” No, they have TURKEY. I’m basically doing a very nice Sunday dinner, and I did a half-assed clean, and I feel very good about that. I enjoyed doing the big ten person thing last year, and this year I like the idea of having Morgan and her boyfriend and that’s it! It’s noon and I’m basically done.
This gives me time to recount the horror that was parent-teacher conferences on Tuesday. I am VERY VERY excited about Strudel’s teacher this year. She’s really pushing Strudel to do well. We were expecting to hear that there were behavior issues–the usual thing, talking, not finishing homework, but what we got was pretty over the top.
First there were the coffee cups. I’ve been enjoying a cup or two in the morning before I jump on the bus, or I even take some with me. I even program it to be ready by the time I wake up–such luxury! I can smell it in my dreams. Every day is a fucking coffee commercial. We have three travel mugs and a thermos, but generally the thermos gets used for soup. Two of the travel mugs are kind of crap, but we keep them because one is from a contract agency that P. was indentured to some time ago when we had a tiny baby and barely had two sticks to rub together. The other one has the name of the student org I was VP for in grad school. Memories.
My go-to, non-crap mug was dirty, so I opened the cabinet for a backup mug. There was nothing–the two old crap cups were gone.
“Why did you take the travel mugs to school?” I asked Strudel.
There is no “did you” or “what happened to” needed. I know what happened, and that yes, she did, and I don’t even want to know why. She started making mouth noises about what she was doing with them and that she knew where they both were–probably–and…I cut her off.
We are pretty fatigued by her elaborate stories lately. We had another talk about asking to borrow things, and even if objects appear to be sitting around for years the adults probably still want them. I so did not get that when I was a kid. My sense of time was so short and impatient. I didn’t understand that tools, etc, that sat around collecting dust were still wanted by their owners. So I kind of get where she’s coming from on this. I borrowed things if I thought I could get away with it. After about a week of nagging, both mugs came back home again, were cleaned, and went back to residing in the cupboard, waiting for a road trip or to be called upon as backup.
The mug issue reared its head again in our conference.
“She came in one morning,” her teacher said, “and she had a coffee mug, and was drinking out of it. Of course all of the other kids were shocked that she would be drinking coffee. I figured it was water.” (I knew it was coffee.) “I decided to just ignore it.”
“A sound plan,” I said. I spend a lot of time ignoring small stuff as well.
“Then the next day she brought in another mug. She left it on a table and went out to recess and I smelled it. It was coffee!”
I was completely unsurprised by this one, and to be honest, the biggest issue I had with it was borrowing things without permission, and causing a disruption in the classroom, because it’s a bunch of ten-year olds, not a tech start up. She drinks coffee at home sometimes–it’s not a big deal.
But her teacher wasn’t done.
“And then there was the day she came in with a ring in her nose.”
That one got me. “WHAT?”
“Yes, she had this ring attached to her nose somehow.” Her teacher pointed to one nostril. “Everyone was talking about it, of course. There was a rumor that people were saying: ‘Her mom MADE her pierce her nose.” My jaw dropped. “The other teachers were all talking about it, asking me about it. I just ignored it.”
“Oh jesus. Well that’s good,” I managed. P. was turning crimson and looked like he wanted to die. So basically he looked exactly how I felt.
“By lunchtime it was gone,” her teacher said.
The teacher had some nice things to say that were pretty much in line with what we already knew. She’s a good reader and a good writer and mather…but also has this unfortunate tendency to spontaneously fall out of her chair, which I’m sure is a big hit with her peers. She says she wants to be an engineer, but I am worried she’s going to grow up to be Amy Sedaris.
He and I were pretty subdued on the way home. “That wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be,” P. said. I thought someone was really enjoying having the watchful eyes of her older sister at another school across town.
As we parked the car, we decided not to bring up the nose ring, and the coffee cups had been dealt with to our satisfaction. I made dinner and the three of us and Franny sat down. I couldn’t resist–I had to tease her a little.
“Your teacher told us EVERYTHING you’ve been up to, you know,” I said, shaking some hot sauce onto my food.
“Everything?” Strudel said in a small voice. “Like what?”
“I don’t want to embarrass you in front of your sister, but let’s say it had the RING of truth. Some of her observations were RIGHT ON THE NOSE.”
Strudel turned a crimson shade and grimaced like her father had been doing hour or so before.
“PLEASE don’t tell Franny what you’re talking about!” she begged.
“I won’t,” I promised. “If you can be good for the REST OF THE YEAR.” She agreed eagerly.
“I have no idea what’s going on here,” Franny said.