You thought the end of your child’s school year was going to be easy: one last Zoom conference to sing songs and show-and-tell. But this hellscape isn’t done with you yet, because you forgot about the final parent-teacher conference.

That’s where this guide comes in. You already know the answers to most of the questions. You know what your kid needs to work on for fall (everything) and where you think they’re succeeding (you can lie about this successfully). That first question is going to be the real kicker, though, and that’s where this guide comes in. Just choose the scenario that best reflects your life right now and memorize the corresponding answer. If multiple scenarios apply to you, congratulations: you are everybody. Just pick one. Nothing matters.

Your kid’s pre-K teacher asks:
“How are you guys doing?”

Scenario A: I am 317 emails behind on work. I told my spouse that I’d order groceries on Tuesday, but Tuesday was yesterday, and now it is Friday? My child interrupted me sixteen times in the last thirty minutes to show me each minute progression in his drawing of Wolverine. I let him watch all three Lord of the Rings movies in one day so I could write up a proposal for an event my boss has scheduled for June, which will be canceled in seven days. The backup plan (in case of cancellation) is due in three hours.

You lie, and say: “This has been quite an adjustment, but I think we’re finally getting the hang of things!”

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Scenario B: I don’t know how to cut my own hair or anybody else’s and things have gotten critical. Every time you have an online class I creep around in the background like the Babadook so I can reach up and mute my kid’s mic for 28 of the meeting’s 30 minutes. I wore jeans today during a staff Google hangouts meeting, and I now understand that I have been eating not only my feelings but all of the feelings existent at any one time in the universe.

You lie, and say: “Haha, we are all a little shaggy around here! Hahaha!” Finish by laughing like a human being would. You need to practice this.

- - -

Scenario C: The art teacher gave less than 24 hours to finish an assignment about Van Gogh and self-representation, including a self-portrait made out of dried beans. The core assignments in Google Classroom are bitmap files, which cannot be resized, and my pre-k child doesn’t recognize the entire alphabet or the word “cat,” let alone know how to type in text boxes. We ran out of printer ink three weeks ago. If I get one more “how to make a drum out of household objects” email from the music teacher, I will begin looking for glitches in the matrix to confirm that I’m actually dead and living my afterlife in a simulation.

You say: “I know this is hard on you, too. Can I help you at all?”

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Scenario D: I asked my daughter to draw a cat and she started crying. Last night she lost a tooth but I didn’t have any cash, so this morning I told her the tooth fairy is in quarantine. I have eaten all of the kids’ leftover Easter, Christmas, and Halloween candy. I made tacos on toast for dinner last night. When my kids won’t stop fighting I make them go in the backyard to look for acorns. (We do not have any trees.)

You lie, and say: “We have been doing so many activities outside. Vitamin D is just great. You can just have so much fun with kids. We are cherishing these days, haha!”