Before I brought my son to daycare, I had one worry: will they kiss him there? Of course I wanted him to feel loved all day while I was at work, but the germs! I couldn’t stomach the thought of strangers kissing my baby. I lived, I learned. My son is now 3. I laugh in the face of the latest ‘coxsackie is currently in your classroom’ notice. I no longer throw my kid in the bathtub the second we walk in the door from daycare. His grimy, little paws are the least of my mommy worries. I’ve been through it all during the last 3 years at daycare- the biting, the hitting, the early-dismissal fevers, the potty-training, the nap refusals… and I’ve come out a brick wall of motherhood. Nothing shocks me anymore.

So this year, when it was time for my seasonal parent-teacher conference, I hoped for the best, but took most of the noted problems with a grain of salt. I love hearing about everything that goes on at school and appreciate teacher’s concerns, but is it really the end of the world if my kid refused lunch and only ate the dried macaroni during necklace-making? Nah, we’ll survive.

Problem 1: He’s very “handsy”. He always wants to hug his friends and often kisses too much on the mouth. Sorry I’m not sorry? As working parents, my husband and I miss our son all day long and shower him with love every chance we get. Our family boasts love. We tell each other ‘I love you’ multiple times per day and generously provide hugs and kisses. All of us. He is learning to be a kind-hearted, empathetic human and for that, I won’t apologize. However, I’ll be sure to continually remind him that we only kiss our family members on the mouth. Though, once in awhile you may have to accept being the victim of a big wet, juicy smackeroonie (as my toddler calls it).

Problem 2: He’s not good at sharing. Yup, noted. He’s an only child. We try our best to have him practice sharing his toys with us at home, but we also have real tasks to get done after work. It’s not exactly a walk in the park getting home at 6:00pm, then trying to cook dinner, walk pets, pack lunches, bathe, prep for bedtime, and get a kid to sleep before 8:00pm. Sharing lessons often take a back seat to hygiene and hunger. We can’t promise much on weeknights, but we’ll try hard to remember to pass around that Lion King toy on weekends.

Problem 3: When he doesn’t get his way, he gets very quiet and sits alone until he’s over it. Alright…well isn’t that better than giving another kid a knuckle sandwich in the face? I admit it’s a little serial-killerish, but if he eventually joins the class again, I’m cool with it. I understand that you probably want him to talk through his feelings, and we’ll get there eventually. When we’re angry, we all need our space. Next.

Problem 4: He wanders off and peeks into other classrooms. Ok, so he’s curious. Like Curious George, the book we read every single night. Whoops, message received. Perhaps repetitively reading about a curious, mischievous monkey isn’t setting the best example. The Helicopter-Mom in me never wants him to wander off at school, but the Granola-Mom in me wants him to be free and delve into life with no limits, free to experience everything he possibly can. Alas, Helicopter-Mom wins…safety first. I’m with you, teacher. I’ll even provide you with extra stickers to give him every time he stays within your boundaries.

Problem 5: He always needs to know what we’re doing next. I’ll admit it, I did this to him. The Type A in me brought out the toddler planner in him. Every night we talk about ‘the plan’ for the next day. This kid needs to know every single detail about everything coming next. No surprises please- we like order and structure. Be prepared for him to call you out if you deviate from the plan. Perhaps he can be your special calendar helper for the remainder of the school year?

Problem 6: He uses potty language when we’re not in the bathroom. Yes, he does, and holy SHIT so does the rest of the world. Not in front of his toddler ears of course, but let’s be real, the word ‘poop’ is just too funny for toddlers to deal with and I can’t change that. I’ve tried and I’ll keep trying, but at this toddler stage, this battle doesn’t seem worth the effort. Let’s chalk this one up to ‘just a phase.’

Problem 7: He’s always looking around to see who is playing with whom and what they’re doing together. I believe in adult terms he’s called the “Social Chair.” This multi-tasking ability is actually pretty impressive. What 3 year old is busy playing with other toys and also tallying the friend groups and activities occurring throughout the room? I say we let him ride on this one out- maybe he can even schedule a few playdates for us while he’s at it.

All in all, these conferences are definitely helpful to us as parents, politely alerting us as to what we need to work on at home. However, I’m brushing off the smaller problems and saving my worrying for grade school, when parent-teacher conferences and trouble can start getting real. Until then, I’m happy to be the mom of the loving little mouth kisser in class.

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