I just finished a trifecta of curriculum nights. By the time the high school one rolled around, I was so confused that when asked what grade my child was in, I said fifth. Usually curriculum night is reserved for teachers to enlighten parents as to what their kids do all day - or, I should say, are supposed to be doing all day. Parents sit at their kids desks, which, in elementary school looks ridiculously cartoon-like. I wonder how the teacher can keep a straight face when she addresses a roomful of adults attempting to squeeze into those mini chairs designed for six-year-olds. Some parents feverishly take notes as they try to maintain their balance, hunched over desks which their knees can't fit under.
One thing curriculum night is not intended for is personal discussion about individual kids. That is saved for parent-teacher conferences when parents sit face to face with teachers and learn if their kid is as much of an asshole in school as at home. But when James and I went to the elementary school curriculum night, each of us representing a twin, there was plenty of personal commentary about the girls. From the first grade teacher to the unified arts teachers to the afterschool care staff, there was one common theme: "your girls are hilarious." And their first grade teacher embellished, "they're so sophisticated." Shit. What made her say that? At six years old, Cynthia and Eleanor work hard to keep up with their older siblings. Princesses and unicorns went out the window years ago. Their rainbow sheets were pronounced "lame" and replaced with solid blue when they graduated kindergarten.
But what troubled me about the sophisticated comment was fear of the inappropriate subject matter that may be coming out of their mouths at school. Just the day before, Paige, one of their older sisters, asked me whether I had been a good or bad teenager. The twins were within earshot, but I didn't think they were paying attention. My answer, of course, was that I was a model student, I never did anything wrong, and I never EVER spoke back to my mother. "So you were a nerd?" she asked (though she used some other word that I can't recall right now - I can't keep up with the lingo). "I bet you didn't go to any parties." I assured her that I went to plenty of parties, but not the kind of parties that the cops had to break up.
That's when Eleanor chimed in. "Did you go to twirking parties?" she asked. Ummmm. For those of you not familiar with the term "twirk," it is defined in the Urban Dictionary as: "A rapid up and down motion of the rear/ass/booty intended to be sexually provocative. Usually practiced by a female, often in close proximity to a male's crotch area."
Paige snarfed as my jaw dropped. "What are twirking parties?" I asked. "It's when you go to a party and there's candy and music and then everyone starts twirking and then you kiss." "And how did you hear about these parties?" Big pause. "I just dreamed it," she replied exchanging a knowing look with Cynthia who was no stranger to the term "twirk". No doubt the content came, not from Eleanor's dreams, but from some YouTube video they weren't supposed to be watching.
So you see why I might be concerned when a teacher describes my child as sophisticated. Sophisticated, I imagined, was a gentle way of saying inappropriate and destined for a future of parties that the cops break up. I made a promise to myself that I would try to rein it in and encourage the twins to be normal six-year-olds. I would unearth the box of My Little Pony's in the basement and read The Very Hungry Caterpillar and play We Sing Silly Songs in the car. I would stifle their exposure to You Tube and warn their older siblings to keep in clean in their presence.
But my grandiose plans were squashed the very next day when I walked in the twins' bedroom to find them in the midst of a film production titled, "The Awesome Eleanor."
All five kids were in on the gig, eager to turn the baby of the family into a YouTube star. They knew she was a little diva and smelled the opportunity to capitalize on her talents. I smelled the opportunity to clean out the fridge while they were all occupied. So I left them to their project and crossed my fingers the video didn't involve twirking. The My Little Ponies would have to wait.