We had Lily’s first parent-teacher conference a couple weeks ago. Lily really likes school and her teacher, Ms. Mary, and so do we. After discussing her progress, her art, her daily routine, and so on, Ms. Mary asked us if we had any questions. We asked about who she plays with the most and a couple other things. Then one of us, maybe me, asked about whether she has any kind of attitude in the classroom.
Ms. Mary cocked her head slightly; she looked confused. “What do you mean?”
“Bossy”, said Jane. “Yeah,” said Linus.
“And kind of stuck up sometimes, too”, I said.
Ms. Mary put her hand to her chest and recoiled slightly. She began shaking her head slowly as she glanced from us to Lily, who despite still only being in the 10th percentile in height and weight for her age somehow now seemed even smaller and harmless. She smiled innocently gazed down at the table, elbows planted on the table and chin in hands.
“Oh, no”, said Ms. Mary. “Lily’s very respectful in our classroom. I’ve never had any kind of attitude problems with her.”
Which is great. Really, it is great. But that’s not the girl we live with these days. The girl we live with does everything she can to be bigger than life, despite her size. Her natural desire for attention, which is perfectly justifiable on any kid’s part, manifests itself in several ways and one of those ways is her refined sense of snark. She can really bring the snark, especially when coupled with a natural talent and inclination for taunting, which is always such an attractive trait in a child. She is an unabashed bad winner, a predictable front runner, and a cheater as well.
And that’s fine. She’s five, and she has to compete with a nine year-old brother. And so she does compete…constantly. Who got inside the door first? Lily, that’s who. Who saw that sign over there first? Lily did. “Race you to the car Linus…I win.”
“I WASN’T EVEN RACING YOU, LILY!”
“You can’t just say you’re racing and that you’re the winner!”
Linus can’t overlook this. Or, he can overlook it the first three times in a day. But that only gets him to dinner most days.
At the end of the conference, Linus, Jane and I all made eye contact. It was clear Lily had won over Ms. Mary, who likely thought Lily was perfect, and Linus, Jane and I sassypants-baiters.