Yeah, I'm that parent; the one with the iPhone zoomed in as far as possible to get the blob with bent knees and a pony tail being accosted by an unidentified school official with what turns out to be a silver medal for something yet to be properly identified.
I got a text message yesterday. YES-TER-DAY.
There was a letter from the school apparently about a National French Concours test that I took back in March. There is an event tonight I believe but I never saw any letter. Did you see anything from the school?
No, but I could have missed something. When do you need to be where?
I'm not sure. I'll need to talk to my French teacher because it was a letter in the mail, and the event tonight might be the only way that I'll get my score.
Well please find out
Okay I will - I'll go see her during my lunch period
Do you know about French yet?
Not yet - my lunch is about to start though. Payton says it's an award ceremony.
Sigh. OK for that you should go IF you are getting an award. If you are not, you need to be at rehearsal.
Okay I'm going to see if I can see the awards list.
Just tell her you have a conflict.
My French teacher? Okay I just need to see my score because it was a competition. So yes, I have to go because I placed second for National. I think it means I got the second highest score in the class. In all of French 2. So I have to be there because only some people were invited.
AND I WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So I have to be there at 6:45
And so we'll be there.
I did not think I was going to place. I am actually really happy.
And Payton will be there too because she also placed.
Text your dad. This may not be enough notice by try.
IDK if it's a parent thing? Would it be?
It's not? Find out.
Payton says her mom is coming but she's not sure.
Are we supposed to be there? Alison says congratulations and no worries (about missing rehearsal).
I think it's up to you if you want to be there. Okay so we're good! (about missing rehearsal)
6:44 PM - Cletus and I have been banished to the auditorium because she won't be seen with us.
Auditorium. Stay! Apparently this is for all languages. Wow. Apparently there are only 10 French certificates in the whole school.
So we aren't to be seen with you?
No, I don't think so.
Well alrighty then. We'll pretend we don't know you. It's dark in here.
OK, cool. Mr. P. is here! I feel like an awkward chicken.
No one will know.
Sarah T. is here.
Come sit with me. I am in the lower right section.
DO YOU SEE ME?????
I can't see you.
Small blond girl waves hands wildly from front, right corner of auditorium where she sits with Payton and Payton's ENTIRE FAMILY. They are sitting directly behind the Latin Honor Society or them which are about to be inducted this year. Payton and Elizabeth are not going to be inducted into the French Honor Society because they have not applied for membership. I think you have to have 1. known about its existence and 2. probably completed your freshman year. You also have to have maintained an average of 90% or better and I think the other requirement is, uh, something about being a good citizen as Elizabeth and Payton discussed the cost benefit analysis of lighting peoples hair on fire (cost = one unhappy, slightly singed person, benefit = many happy people possibly finding this very funny as long as no one is ACTUALLY HARMED BUT ONLY SORTA SINGED in the process) next year when they get to have candles to light from the eternal flame...
I need to have a word with her French teacher...
Later we are released after all of the inductees are inducted and all the awardees are awarded and all of the candles have been extinguished and the lights are back on.
Elizabeth has had ENOUGH. Cletus has been forced to sit through the entire event before she heads back to her boyfriend in penance for missing the spring performance (in which Elizabeth dances one last time outside the company except she doesn't know she's actually got herself an invitation to the company next year and they aren't going to tell her until AFTER the last performance which is the performance CLETUS IS MISSING) because she won't get back from Italy in time.
So what is Le Grand Concours? It is the National French Contest run or sponsored by The American Association of Teachers of French and is open to student grades 1 - 12, home-schooled, public, private or magnet. I'm going to guess you can get yourself in there unschooled too if you fall into the right age group. I'd sort of dare them to tell you no. This year it looks like 90,913 students chose to take the test and of those students just under 20,000 of them placed in the 7 - 12 category and 2,009 of them in the US placed in the Silver category which is in the 85 - 90th percentile.
I have no idea what this really means because I didn't see the test. I only know a competition ranks just under 100,000 students nationwide who chose to take a test. She, as usual, expected to have crapped out on it entirely and as she put it so succinctly, as soon as I think I've aced something it comes back crap but if I think it really is a piece of garbage, it's all shiny and stuff. What's up with that?
Later we are released and the lights have come up...
...and Elizabeth BOLTS for the door. Cletus, Elizabeth's dad and I make our way through what has become a very well dressed crowd to the other side and top of the room where Elizabeth is speaking with her French teacher, Payton and someone else who looks suspiciously like an arch nemesis. Yes. Elizabeth has one of those. Elizabeth has two that I'm aware of and this one has no idea. It's better that way. She sees me and I get the look. The LOOK. Hard stop. People run into me. I create a parent child grandparent possibly nice neighbor pile up. Dad says, WTF? Keep going, she's right there.
Turn around and go out to the lobby.
No! I want to get my daughter.
She'll meet us in the lobby.
Out. Everybody out.
On the way out the Nemesis pranced past. Cletus, does that child look disturbingly perky to you?
OK, just checking. She dances at that other school I was afraid I was going to have to move your sister to next year but Elizabeth won't go there because...
She does fouettes in the hallway and pirouettes in the back of the classroom.
I believe this.
I think your sister is afraid she might snap and beat her senseless some day.
This I also believe.
Elizabeth ran past us on the right muttering something about CAKE and OUT OF HERE.
By the time we got to the lobby, Elizabeth HAD a piece of cake on a plate and WAS on the way out the door. Her dad was grumbling about wanting to hang out and talk. Elizabeth was lucky she'd managed to get her mangled hair into a pony tail. She was wearing grubby jeans and something that at least covered all of her upper parts. She had shoes. On the way home, Cletus said:
ELIZABETH, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD AND ALL THINGS HOLY (my kids love that phrase and I'd like to say it's my fault but it's not, some day I'll give you the link), PLEASE TAKE AN EFFING BATH.
AND WASH YOUR HAIR
And she said,
I ALWAYS wash my hair on Wednesdays!
I turned to Cletus in the passenger seat. Cletus who receives a $25 stipend per week for food from me since she's no longer on the university meal plan, and said, the memo on your weekly transfer will no longer read:
WEDNESDAY IS PRINCE SPAGHETTI DAY (took four months before she figured that one out)
It will now read:
WEDNESDAY IS SCRUB THE SCALP DAY
Several weeks ago I changed the text alert tones for Cletus, Elizabeth, and Elizabeth's dad so they were no longer generic. NM has had his own forever. Unfortunately I chose alerts that aren't exactly out of the box and some go on longer than others. Cletus has one that goes on indefinitely but it's not so bad to listen to. Elizabeth's is from Hunger Games and turns out to be creepy as hell (THAT has to go) but her dad's is something called Tubling Note and while it sounds OK for the first couple of notes it sounds like the world might end if it goes on forever. When there are multiple messages coming in back to back, you might be inclined to silence the phone before you toss it out the window. I really do need to handle that.
I don't pick up text messages when I'm driving. Sometimes I glance down as they flash across the screen but that's about it. Swear to god. When I pulled into the driveway the girls got out of the car and I read the 2,500 character string about why his daughter couldn't just stop and spend a few minutes in the lobby with him...
After another 3,500 characters I realized I wasn't going to get him past the concept of death by parent and onto the possibility of death by self so I begged for mercy instead.
Next year she will know why she's there and what to expect. Next year she will be prepared to light someone's hair on fire with her inside voice and she'll feel much better. Next year she may or may not make us wait in the car. No, we'll be allowed to come in, if only to make sure she doesn't have to sit alone.
Kind of how I was allowed to enter the sacred realm of summer intensive auditions I think. Sit quietly on the floor, Mom, and don't say a blasted word.
This is the second time she's done this. She signed herself up, or at least did the research and filled out the application and THEN asked for my debit card before she told me about auditioning for summer intensives. I had no idea. She took this test to find out how she ranked and also because it looks good or something about collecting awards but she didn't tell me. She just up and did it. In a town where the helicoptor mommies do battle with the tiger moms which makes me think of The Awefull Battle of the Pekes and the Pollicles, she just quietly moves herself down (or up?) her own stream.