This week marks my daughter’s second week of first grade.
The first week of first grade was rather tough. They don’t post the list of classes until one day before- of course this is done by design, to avoid the principal being hunted down at her home by hordes of “concerned” helicopter parents wanting to discuss the reasoning behind Timmy’s classroom assignment.
Of course, my daughter was given the one assignment I didn’t want her to have- a combination class with a group of first and second graders. My reaction was so immediate and visceral that I thought I was going to vomit right then and there in the hallway.
I didn’t think I was going to be that kind of parent, the one who freaks out over things that in the big picture are probably pretty inconsequential, but there you go. I guess I am.
Because my daughter is pretty much a younger incarnation of me I was able to pinpoint my concerns right away. I don’t have any concerns about her abilities academically. She’s a smart cookie. Au contraire, I was much more concerned for her social well-being as far and away the youngest kid in the room, one smart enough to keep up but maybe not savvy enough to know she’s being a little nerdy.
I spent the entire night in a sleepless panic, imagining her sitting alone in the dust on the side of the playground while the other girls laughed at her glasses.
“You’re projecting,” said my husband, and of course he is right. But that doesn’t stop me from worrying.
“I’ll just share my concerns with the teacher,” I thought, and got to school a little early that first morning. As did every other parent in the school who has some worry or another. There was already a line in front of the beleaguered principal’s office, and classes hadn’t even begun yet.
I met the teacher, and immediately felt ten times worse than before. My sense of foreboding went through the roof. Fifty red flags were screaming “DANGER!! SHE IS GOING TO RUIN YOUR CHILD!” and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why, as she is actually a very kind and well regarded teacher.
After a second sleepless night spent wondering if I had now blown her chances at getting into a good college, it finally hit me: her first grade teacher is a dead ringer for Charity McKay, the most dastardly internal medicine resident ever to terrorize the halls of Davis during my tenure there. Beneath her bubbly facade was the heart of a rabid killer: lord help you if you didn’t remember the sodium content in a bag of Lactated Ringer’s.
A snotty senior student tried to correct her once. She ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti. We cowered in terror when her 5’1 shadow darkened the corridor, signaling the impending arrival of our doom.
So here I am, still neatly conditioned one decade later to a submissive huddle at the mere suggestion of her, and now her doppelganger is in charge of my daughter’s development.
No matter. I can be reasonable. I can’t imagine she would have gotten very far in her career as a teacher if she actually devoured small children as I suspected Dr. McKay might do on the weekends, so I’m going to be open minded and give her the benefit of the doubt.
But if she mentions at any point she has a sister who’s a vet, I’m joining the line outside the principal’s office.