Today we have Max’s IEP meeting … quite possibly, 3 of scariest letters in the English language for much of mankind. I will dispense with the definitions and restrain myself from giving a dissertation on the subject in lieu of a light-hearted look at the inner workings of my brain.
I don’t know what to wear to the IEP meeting. I’ve got the goals, and placement and related services all under control – but the outfit is still undecided. You see, I have determined that I can control the outcome of Max’s entire eduction if I just select the right clothes, and accessories. The goal is to ensure that one looks professional, but not too professional. Too professional might portend an eventual Due Process hearing at some point in the future, too scary for the District. Too casual and unkempt conveys a parent who has not memorized every section of N.J.A.C 6:14 and therefore unaware of the law. Too stylish conveys too much wealth and therefore less likely to obtain enough services.
For the very first meeting ever – one that required me to convince the Edison school district to do a feat never done before, I wore a pink flowered skirt that made me look like I was a descendent of Marian Cunningham, invited the IEP team to our well-appointed home, and fed them homemade chocolate cake. It worked!
Then, for quite possibly the most important moment of all time, our first meeting with the Metuchen School District, the stakes were very high. I planned out a wonderful breezy combination of white linen pants, a navy cardigan and high, but not too high espadrilles… comfy, serious and stylish. I needed to convey that I had my act together, but that I was approachable, informed, and easy to get along with. Shortly before the meeting….tragedy struck. I spilled an entire cup of coffee on my white linen pants! Gasp! Could I still go to the meeting and laugh it off? Heck – No! I believed that if I were perceived as clumsy as I actually am, my child would not get the services he needed. I ran, fast as the wind, to the closest store… TARGET. I sprinted through the women’s section looking for comfy, serious and stylish… not an easy task when one has 15 minutes to spare. As luck would have it, I happened upon a black linen empire-waist sundress. Grabbed a smart white cardigan, kept on my shoes, and actually bought new earrings and a cute necklace to complete the look. Got to the meeting on time and was able to secure a life-time of good services for my boy.
Last year, things looked as if they might take a turn for the difficult, so I added lipstick and even higher heels to the mix. All was well and we have had a wonderful and productive school year. This year, we are moving into more complex specifically-tailored services, academic groupings and technological evaluations. Max is moving on to 3rd grade and in Metuchen – 3rd grade hold some sort of mystical clues to one’s potential in life. We need to get it right. I am thinking of going with dark jeans, a white shirt, nice black sandals, and a stylish silver earrings.
I could always toss some lipstick in my pocket in case things take a turn for the worse.
p.s. In all seriousness, I couldn’t be happier with the services we have been receiving – and with the support and collaboration of Max’s team and teachers, he has been very successful. Nevertheless, a few carefully selected accessories – just for good luck – can’t hurt either.