i take my school-related concerns to the next level

Internet, today I sent my boys back to school after spring break. And I hated it.

If you’ve met me [online] or my children [in real life] you know how odd it is for me to want them in the house more. They yell. They chase. They maraud. They fight. They plunder. I reupholstered my dining room chairs in December, and the new vinyl is already shredded. Yesterday my son yanked the pull chain out of a floor lamp because he was angry. Someone stabbed a hole in my (p)leather ottoman just to see what would happen. Life with my kids at home is non-stop destruction.

My boys got haircuts over the weekend, and they wanted the same thing. Afterward, they fooled their sisters. A bit later, they confused their dad. The next morning, in my early-morning sleep haze, I had a brief conversation with P but thought he was G for most of it. Sending them to school looking identical didn’t mesh with my primary objective for the day, which was to contact their principal about my concerns.

To review:

  1. I suspect the boys might have been switched during placement testing.
  2. My boys told me their teacher mixes them up all the time.
  3. The school asks parents to provide a photo of their child along with any medication, to ensure it’s given to the right child. As if that would help.
  4. The combination of these three things irritated me quite a bit.

So this morning I called the principal. Because I’m one of the most awkward people not officially diagnosed with Asperger’s, I stuttered and stammered through the call and I’m not sure she knew what I wanted. So later I wrote her an email to make sure I communicated effectively. I totally sucked up at the end of it because I’m really worried this will turn into their teacher not liking them as well and therefore not being as nice to them.

Tonight at bedtime I asked G if anyone had said anything about he and his brother looking more alike today. He said no, they just said, “Griff-Peter.” [For this example, pretend my boys' names are Griffin and Peter.] I quizzed him, and according to him everyone called them a hybrid name all day long. I’m not sure that’s true, but it’s what he said.

Jen is a work-from-home mom of 6-year-old twin boys, and two girls ages 4 and 8. She also blogs at Minivan MacGyver, where she alternates between waxing nostalgic over her children’s toddler years, and despairing over the amount of work still required for their upkeep.

9 thoughts on “i take my school-related concerns to the next level

  1. I am so sorry you are having such problems with P and G’s school. I recently acquired 3 stepchildren, ages 11, 13 and 16 (I’m 23 and 6 months with di/di girls, ack!) and I have to waddle into the girls middle school Friday and discuss why I am not putting the child on Ritalin and why did her teachers feel it was appropriate to evaluate her for FIVE months, come to the conclusion that she has ADHD and not once call to tell us that she is consistently interrupting, getting out of her seat, etc. They however felt it necessary to call and ask me to bring her a change of clothes because her shorts were too short and the black leggings she wore to cover the rest of her legs were against “school policy” (really? Come on people) .

    Dont get me wrong, I am sympathetic to teachers for having to put up with an entire generation that has been parented by television and computers and have to do so on a limited budget. I could never ever in a million years be a teacher. I just dont understand why it seems that the schools are never really willing to work with parents who DO actually care about how their children do in school. Anyway, good luck with your meeting!

  2. Oh boy. I’m a little scared. There’s no way that teacher’s going to know or try to care who’s who. Mine are startingto pull the ‘i’m my sister’ crap. School is going to be bad for us

  3. I posted this on your blog but thought I’d also post it here, slightly edited.

    Was either boy hurt by it or are they just matter of fact about it? I think I’ve mentioned before that people often made no effort to tell me and my sister apart and the best thing my mom did for us was to tell me to remind them who I am and if they still did it not to worry because the people who matter to me would know who I am. She was a big believer even in first grade (we were in the same room then) of letting us figure out how to handle the situation but gave us a few skills to do so (point out that my hair was shorter (we had given up on colors by then)). She’d tell you that was a lucky call but it is one I am trying to imitate with my kids. My sister and I did spend many angsty years trying to be different and then once we went out into the world (college) we loved how much we had in common and what a great surprise it was to our respective circles of friends. You are right to be angry on their behalf but I might counsel that it is probably not as big a deal to them as it is to you. Let us know what happens…

  4. My kids didn’t seem affected by being called “twin”, but now that they are in a school where the kids call them by name I can definitely tell that they appreciate it. Mine are in different classroooms so the kids know them seperately. Sometimes, one of the kids come up and ask me if one of them is “E” and then are very happy when I tell them that they are right. Though, one of them caught on to how to tell them apart, and STILL got it wrong, but I like that they are trying. Is it possible to put them in different classrooms? Wishing you the best!

  5. I’ve been following your story and haven’t commented yet, but I think I need to at this point. I am shocked at the nonchalance that the school seems to be showing you about this situation, especially regarding their testing and telling them apart.

    If they were not siblings and two classmates’ test results were mixed up, especially if there was a discrepancy between the scores that affected their placement and education, heads would roll! And if it’s a standardized test, the school could be in legal trouble with the state (depending on where you live)… In fact, if you started any of those scenarios with two different classmates instead of two identical twins, it would be a huge problem…

    I’m a teacher, I teach a ‘special’ which means I see all the students in the school and I work HARD to know the names of all 532 of my students. It really hurts their feelings when I don’t remember someone’s name, even though I only see them for 2 half hour classes each week (and some only once a week!). What is wrong with this teacher that she can’t keep two of her own, small class straight?

    I went over and read the email you wrote, well done. Do your boys also dress alike? If not, she could just be asking them in the morning to double check who is wearing what color/shirt etc. And don’t they have assigned seats? As long as they are sitting in their correct seat, shouldn’t that be the obvious tell? And then she wouldn’t even HAVE to ask who was wearing what.

    I know I’m preaching to the choir here but it gets me fired up on your behalf. I know it can be hard but there is just NO excuse for her laziness.

    (Just a little added note: My girls are fraternal and do NOT look alike. But daycare still managed to get their foods mixed up one day despite them being clearly labeled, and fed something to A that I had sent for B. And A had previously had a mild allergic reaction to that food, which is why I hadn’t sent it for her. I was really mad and the daycare was hugely apologetic. Nothing like that has ever happened again.)

  6. I’m so sorry — I just found some of your comments in our “pending approval” folder. I will check it regularly from now on!

    My boys do not dress alike, but they also had way different haircuts until this last week. I would have flipped out if anything like what happened with your girls’ food getting switched. Again, would NOT happen if they weren’t twins. A large number of people are just incredibly lazy.

  7. I’m so sorry you have had this problem. Even if the the boys don’t seemed bothered by it, being confused with each other is de-moralizing. My twinkies are fraternal & at one daycare they actually put a piece of duct tape with their names on it on their backs. It probably upset me more then them. I do dress them alike, but they do not look alike. It made me crazy. Now they correct everyone who gets them mixed up, which makes me think that all the confusion really did affect them-even when they were too small to vocalize the issue.

    Likewise, with my older set of twins who are boy/girl their 5th grade teacher (the one and only time they were in the same class) used to refer to my girl as “the little professor” and the boy as “the professors assistant.” Three years later and he is still sore about that daily comparison. Sometimes teachers are just plain, old dumb about this stuff. Seriously.

  8. Pingback: From the Archives: Back to School - How Do You Do It?

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