Henry and I went to Chooch’s open house last week (yes, we went on the right night this time!) and we learned some cool shit about our crazy kid! I always brace myself at these things because I know he can be a mouthy little brat at times and he certainly isn’t perfect, so there is always that chance that we’re going to get an earful (that’s how it was in catholic school, lol). We went to see his reading teacher first; she was in the middle of speaking with another parent, so Henry and I used that time to wander around the room, looking at the student work on display, and basically looking like creeps.
“Ooh, that was always my favorite when I was a kid!” I whispered to Henry, pointing to a sign on the wall that said Hyperbole. I’ve clearly outgrown that literary device, though.
(I had to explain to Henry what it meant, because he was in remedial English classes.)
When it was our turn, the reading teacher enthusiastically told us that Chooch is basically just winning at life, OK? Guys, I’m not saying that I thought my kid was learning-disabled or anything, but I guess I just didn’t realize exactly how well he was doing beyond the whole grading scale. The terms “gifted” and “creative” were thrown out more than once! She just kept casually kept saying, “Well, you know, because he’s so gifted, he gets bored easily…” and I was like “SAY IT AGAIN. THE G-WORD. SAY THAT AGAIN.” He’s reading on an adult level—second highest score in the class, and hilariously the only person beating him, by a margin, is this girl who is his ultimate nemesis so he is super annoyed now.
My little nerd.
However, my favorite part was when she started talking about his writing. She said that his writing skills have her completely impressed and that now, when he hands in mediocre assignments, she’ll say to him, “This is what I expect from everyone else in the class, but I expect more from you” and he takes it back and rewrites it and then stands there and makes her read it while he’s watching, all smug-like. Henry was just like, “Oh Jesus Christ, that sounds familiar…” BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT I DO TO HENRY! Hearing all of this made me so proud! I really do try to get him interested in all kinds of different things without being too pageant-mom’ish and pressuring him. But he really has seemed to be enjoying writing lately, which is why I try to gently coax him into guest-blogging on here every now and then. I see so much potential in him and I don’t want him to waste it. I wish my mom would have been more supportive, not that I can get away with eking through life while blaming my wasted potential on her. I mean, I COULD, but I try not to! I’m just as much to blame for the fact that I never tried harder to make something of myself; I was the co-star of that story, after all.
The reading teacher also told us that Chooch has a really hard time keeping his mouth shut and that when she told him she was going to tell us that, he was like, “You won’t tell them anything they don’t already know.” Apparently, he is the only kid that got an assigned seat—in front of a teacher—in their free period after breakfast and before homeroom, so yeah, that sounds about right. But she said he isn’t being disrespectful or bullying, it’s just his silliness that gets him busted. As long as he’s not being a dick to anyone, I’m OK with this.
After that ego-boost, we went to Chooch’s homeroom, where his main teacher walked over to introduce herself and literally, I’m not joking, screamed and clapped when I told her I was Chooch’s mom. Henry and I were like, “Whaaaaat is happening right now.” She told us about how much Chooch makes her laugh and how well he’s doing academically and asked us, “What do you want to you want to talk to me for? You have nothing to worry about it!” She had to go and talk to the other parents who were there before us, and Henry was like, “OK, she said we don’t have anything to worry about, so let’s just go.”
“No way! I want to hear her tell us more good things about him,” I laughed.
I really hope he stays on this track and doesn’t end up losing his way like I did. I didn’t just walk off the track—I sprinted, tripped, and plunged head-first into a pile of dead end-jobs and empty bank accounts. Broke my neck and pride somewhere along the well. But unlike my own family, I don’t imagine that Henry and I would let that happen to Chooch without a fight.
I felt so good after hearing all that stuff about my kid, because sometimes I feel like we don’t do enough for him. it made me really appreciate all of the awesome friends I have, because they have really filled the void left by my estranged family, because that affects Chooch, too. All of my friends, whether they’ve been around since he was a baby or only just in recent years, have been so good to him and have always encouraged him to be himself, no matter how weird, different, or outrageous that may be; I know that this has helped contribute to the awesome human he has grown into. Most of his friends since birth have been grown-ups—this is why any time I make a new friend, he steals them from me!
All of this, and he has excellent taste in music? I’m finally doing something right in my life.
“I know this is hard to believe,” I said the next day at work while not-so-humble bragging about my kid to anyone who would listen, “but I was actually tested for the gifted program when I was in elementary school, too. Except that my mom decided to keep me out of it because she didn’t want me to grow up to be ‘weird’.”
“Yeah, that worked out well,” Glenn mumbled.