Last night, the kids’ school had parent-teacher meetings for the 7th grade classes, of which there are 6. Each child was given a sheet of paper dividing the time from 4:30 to 9:05 into 5 minute slots. Parents were supposed to tell their kids which teachers they wanted to see, and then the teachers would sign one of the slots and write it down for themselves. I did this last year and also on Monday, for Elliot’s class, and it’s a sort of 3 ring circus with teachers going over the 5 minutes and parents wandering around looking for classrooms and worrying that if one parent is late it will throw everyone else off, which it does.

The paper is vital. Otherwise you have no idea when you are supposed to see which teacher. Since the twins share a lot of the same teachers, I asked Abel to sign me up for double sessions with French, Math, History, Arabic and Latin teachers, and then to get me appointments with his Physics teacher. At least, I think that’s what I said. I asked Ilsa to get me an appointment with her Technology teacher, also her homeroom teacher. She did, but double-booked me at the same time I was supposed to see the French teacher. I sent a message to the man, asking if I could just come see him next week. Ilsa told me he said, “No problem, no problem. Now, can you wipe down the board?”

Yesterday afternoon, I was drinking coffee when I suddenly panicked because I realized I had no idea where the paper was. Abel had shown it to me and left it on the table and it wasn’t there. I was pretty sure he had tucked it into his carnet de correspondence, but I couldn’t duck an ominous feeling.

Sure enough, when Abel came home, the paper was nowhere to be found. A frantic search ensued, house-wide, but especially amongst the piles of paper that have magically appeared in his room since last week’s thorough deep cleaning (we had visitors last weekend!). No luck. Appointments started at 4:30, and it was already 4:20. “I think I know where it is,” said Abel. That morning, the twins were late and had to go in the small door and have their carnets taken by the surveillant. “I think it fell out on the floor,” he told me.

The only appointment I knew was the double-booked one. I set off early, and stopped in to ask at the surveillant’s office, where the woman laughed and shook her head. I went to meet with the French teacher. She commented on how different the twins are from each other, and I agreed with her.

I knew I had an appointment with the history teacher, so I went there next and popped my head round the door. I explained the situation. “It’s not your time now but don’t worry—let’s just do it,” she said. We had a nice chat about how different my twins are.

Next was the Arabic teacher. It was about 5:20 at this point. “Ah, Madame Jones,” he said when he saw me. Turned out my appointment with him had been scheduled for 4:30! He was very accommodating though, and we settled down to discuss Abel and Ilsa’s differing attitudes towards the Arabic language.

The math teacher looked up my appointments, which were at 6:30, so I went home for a while. By the time I returned he was running late, so I had a nice chat with another mother outside his door. Then we shook hands and introduced ourselves and he told me that both my children were wonderful, but weren’t they different from one another! They are, but I noticed both are doing fine in geometry and terrible in algebra. And I don’t blame them.

And then I went home. Because I couldn’t remember which physics teacher they have, and the Latin teacher wasn’t there, and I was tired of explaining my predicament to everyone. I made home made pizza (yes it was excellent, thanks for asking) and watched Batman Begins in French, and went to bed to dream one of those dreams where you run around the whole time and get nothing done. Hmmm…wonder why?

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