He was running late again, but I assured Mrs. B that he was right behind me. Knowing we wouldn't need the full half hour, and since we were her last parent/teacher conference for the day, it gave us some time for chit-chat.
Including how Numbnuts is so in awe of Einstein, how he talks about him constantly, or how he already knows how to do something because "he learned it from his brother."
Skinny Ass finally arrived 10 minutes later, just as we were about to get started. I'm really glad he was able to make it... it was wonderful to hear Mrs. B go on about Jacob (AKA Numbnuts).
How competitive he is - with himself - and wanting to be at the top of the class. How he never boasts or brags or tries to make anyone feel bad when he scores better than them.
How disappointed he is if he doesn't score 100% on his math tests, and how quickly he turns the pages to the weekly bulletin to see where everyone stands.
How it kills him that there's exactly one other student in the class, a good friend of his, that has got his AR score beat.
After reviewing his grades and all his school work, she asks if we have any questions. "I don't think so," I smile at her. "That was actually very thorough, thank you."
After a pause, I remember the Timeline Project he just brought back home. A project that required 10 events in his lifetime, events that we detailed with pictures and notes on a poster board. Where we practiced his oral presentation skills and did role play before he took it to school to submit.
"I can't tell you how excited Jacob was, though, when he brought home the grades he received for his Timeline Project," I said.
Of course, Skinny Ass has to mention the bit of drama we had about it. Since Jacob had lost the instructions, and didn't TELL us he had to have a minimum of 10 events until the morning of. And here we are, scrambling to fit everything in during the morning rush.
But all of this just sends Mrs. B into a dreamlike frenzy. It's as if she's stepped back a few weeks, remembering the day the presentations were given in class...
"Jacob, as always, wants to go first. He had his hand up when I asked for volunteers, but there were a couple of people that got to go ahead of him. Most of them were pretty nervous... reading straight from their notes on the timeline, looking up into the audience only because they suddenly remembered that they're supposed to make eye contact. But Jacob...?"
She throws me a knowing look that makes me chuckle before she continues on. "He was so comfortable up there. He followed the timeline, but totally ad-libbed it. He didn't just read from his notes - he told little anecdotes here and there, including stories about his brothers or his life at home. His eye contact and voice projection was great - he had his audience fully engaged."
Then she pauses to tell us that she specifically did not guide the students to clap their hands for each one's presentation, that they'd simply move on to the next one. Except when Jacob finished up and headed for his seat, you heard the sound of someone, a couple of them, slowly clapping their hands together.
"Soon enough, the ENTIRE class was clapping for him," she revelled. "Because even though they're third graders, even they know the difference between a standard presentation... and a Jacob Presentation."
My dumbass felt the sting of tears that threatened my eyes, at the simple joy and pride of this impromptu applause given to my 8 year old son.
This is my Jacob. The same Jacob that sends me love letters when he's happy, and posts hate notes on his door when he wants to be left alone. The same Jacob that surprises me with home made gifts on my desk, wrapped in white copy paper and bundled with scotch tape.
The same Jacob that pulls out the puppet theatre, lays out "programs" on my seat with snacks and beverages while he and The Little Shit put on 7 acts in the living room.
Yes... this is my Jacob. And no, I ain't talking about no werewolf, either ;)