Sunday, August 24, 2008

Child Assessment

I was looking for a particular photo of my van since today gave me a reason to purge a brain blog on that subject. I couldn't find it. Ah, well. That blog will have to stick in my brain for a while longer. Instead, I found this old journal entry marked "draft". I think I'll post it as is (minus the rant on DIBELS). But first, here is a recent photo of my mustard-only sandwich-eating son with a certificate for reading from the librarian at his school.

“Parrish does not eat paint.” The horror! All the other kids in the class eat paint, except for my son. Maybe I could put it on the dinner menu one night to prepare him for his next paint eating assessment.

Parrish’s teacher told me that he was her “shining star” and insisted that he had the intelligence to be an engineer. She described for me how he studied each toy in the classroom before he would play with it. He inspected for usefulness, function, and purpose the classroom toys. All the other kids slung the toys around without a care as to whether it was being used properly. Another blow. Why doesn’t my son eat paint? Why doesn’t my son play grab-and-go with the toys? What’s wrong with him?

At that conference, regardless of what the teacher actually said, I heard that my son isn’t creative and carefree. I heard that my son is too linear, methodical, and analytic. That night I asked him why he didn’t eat paint like the other kids. He slowly fixed his big blue eyes, rimmed with long brown lashes my way and blinked. What did I expect? He was only 18 months old.

Why is it that I considered the two days a week my son spent at daycare “school”? Why is it that as a parent I neglected to honor my son’s strengths and focused instead on imaginary areas for improvement? Since birth I did that with both my kids. Due dates, milestones, and so forth were met with my smug pleasure at being ahead of the curve. I’d like to say that I didn’t care what other kids were doing, but I’d be lying. I want my children to be normal. Well, slightly better than normal.


Here is my son then. Clearly, you can force your kid to wear funny glasses and he will still be serious if he's a serious kid. The glasses and guitar lessons and routine screenings of The Muppet Show will round him out either by pumping up his cool factor or providing a depth of issues.

6 comments:

  1. WTF? Are you really that organized, milf? I mean, look at this BLOG?! It's insane to me. You've got photos and updates and lovely decorations and glam and facts...wow. I am super-impressed. I have a blog away from myspace, but it was a big whinefest spot for me during "the break up", and i can't stomache even going there. Perhaps I will clean it off and begin again. It was refreshing and fun, and if you are doing it then perhaps indeed I shall. Okay, enough of this time eater. I am going to make dinner and clean up that darn kitchen!

    Tracy Curtis
    I will reveal the address of my blogspot address once I've dewhined it...a bit.

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  2. OK, I see 'Anonymous' now.

    We consider the time that your kids spent with us to be 'school' too. So he's analytical? Personally I identify more with people who are linear and methodical. That's the definition of me, right there. And look how amazing I turned out, lol. But really, being serious does not mean a person is not creative. It just comes out differently. Wild and crazy isn't always better. And his sense of humor? Clever and witty and thought provoking at age four -- probably even more so now. That's loads more fun than fart jokes. Although fart jokes have their place.

    Naomi

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  3. Heh - funny how people somehow associate "intelligence" with "engineer". Being one, and being around umpteen million of them on a daily basis, I can say with a high degree of accuracy that "intelligence" does not necessarily relate to being an "engineer". "Engineer" is one of those professions that most of the free world does not understand, therefore by some non-existent logic, must be too difficult to comprehend. News flash - engineers are quasi-good at math, and their high school counselors lied to them and told them they could make a potful of money being an engineer.

    As for always wanting your kid to be "ahead of the curve"...the curve is what you allow it to be. I'll never forget taking our oldest to her one-year checkup and the pediatrician asking her, "Can you show me your nose? How about your ear?" - only to receive a blank stare from our child. But wait! She can do *other things* - we just didn't know there was going to be a test! We could have prepared her! Eh...she could read better leaving kindergarten than I could after I finished 1st grade. The fact that she couldn't point out her nose or ear at 12 months didn't affect anything.

    But don't think for a second that our #2 and #3 kids couldn't point out their noses and ears at *their* 12-month checkups...engineers may not be intelligent, but they're not stupid.

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  4. When Parrish was 22 mos. old he felt my lips when I said "frog" so he could figure out how to shape his mouth around the word. He of course figured it out by the next day. A year later when I asked him the name of the dinosaur that was ancestor to the whale, he rolled his eyes and said (putting his hand on my shoulder), "Max, it's Ambulocoetus, and it wasn't a dinosaur. It was a mammal." Need I say more?

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  5. I know only one engineer (the rest of them run in fear when I approach), which is Joe.

    So by my logic, Joe is an engineer. Joe is intelligent. Therefore all engineers must be intelligent.

    Wait....

    Personally, I think not eating paint is a momentous accomplishment... we'd still be celebrating at my house.

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  6. He's soooo adorable, Girl, and very serious looking! The closest thing I've ever heard about one of my kids being told they were intelligent was "he's very smart, we really should consider putting him in the ES classes, but he's also very lazy and would just never do the work"

    Yup...proud Mommy moment right there!

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