Originally posted Oct. 25, 2009
My daughter's third-grade teacher at H.C. Storm Elementary School in Batavia had each of his students complete a fifteen-question survey about their likes and dislikes. The parents were to be quizzed on curriculum night, all in good fun, and my little girl, Holly, couldn't wait for me to take it.
She figured I'd blow it.
She figured right.
Parents who answered all fifteen questions correctly achieved the dubious distinction of being labeled "Parent of the Year," while those who managed to get between eight and fifteen right were deemed "normal parents." I was stumped by a couple of the questions but figured I did well enough to at least earn "normal parent" status.
Uh, let's just say that Holly gave her red pen a workout when she graded my quiz at school the next day. No "normal" for me.
Turns out I'm one of those clueless parents who didn't manage to answer even half of the questions correctly. Nope, it seems I'm such a slacker that I'm best relegated to that "Oops, I must have the wrong child" group of parents.
Oh, for Pete's sake.
For the record, not only do I know Holly's teacher's name - Mr. Stanczak - I even know how to spell it. That should count for something, right?
I did get her favorite color right, knew her favorite food, and even knew what type of book she likes to read ("Captain Underpants"). I dropped the ball on the question about her favorite subject - writing, of all things! - but knew that her favorite sport was soccer. In my defense I wrote that she wants to be an "author" when she grows up but that's not how she answered that particular question. No, it seems that now she wants to be a soccer coach. Go figure, since she passed on playing soccer this fall.
As for the rest of the questions, I didn't stand a chance.
After all, have you ever met an eight-year-old? An eight-year-old girl, specifically? They are truly magical creatures, in my opinion, but fickleness is their hallmark characteristic. Their preferences shift with the wind and their 'best friends forever' are dumped in a flash - until they reunite at recess the next day.
I was pretty sure at least one thing hadn't changed, though. For years, much to my chagrin, whenever anyone asked Holly what she likes to do in her free time she answered "watch TV." I always cringed, wishing she'd say something else - anything else - but she never did, so I figured I had this question licked. I didn't care what anyone thought, I was gonna get over myself and put it out there: my daughter LOVES to watch television. She'd watch it 24-7 if I let her.
Yes, I was sure I'd gotten this one right.
You see, Miss Holly changed her mind.
Aargh! Foiled again.
Seems she'd rather "Play with my friend Rachel K." than watch TV. The nerve! What's wrong with TV?
And the place she'd most like to visit? From the time she first heard of 'Holly'wood, Holly has wanted to go there. But no, it seems she'd rather visit Rachel's house instead. (Rachel does have a Wii and a great backyard … but it's not Hollywood. I'm just sayin…')
Her favorite animal? A monkey. It's been a monkey since she gave her "Hello Kitty" clock to the Goodwill, but then I bought her a Puma-brand hoodie for school and she quietly decided that pumas are way better than monkeys.
By the time I got to the one about what she likes to collect, I was in my slap-happy guessing mode, so, in spite of the hilarious directive to "Do your own work," I snuck a peek at the other parents' papers hoping for some inspiration. They were all scribbling furiously and a few showoffs even stood up and handed in their quizzes - while I still had five more to go.
I wanna know who got them all right. "Parent of the Year," my foot.
Thanks a lot, Mr. Stanczak. We'll just see about that teacher gift at Christmas time…
Since my pathetic performance on curriculum night, Holly has taken to quizzing me at home on a nearly daily basis, "To make sure you know me, Mom."
Newsflash: Holly has decided that now she wants to be an artist when she grows up.
Anybody up for a re-test? Game on, Mr. S.
Before she changes her mind again…
Jennifer DuBose, M.S., C.A.S., is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in Batavia.
See more of Jennifer's stories here.