We want them to be perfect. And if not perfect, than as near to it as possible. When they are infants, this mindset works really well. We can dream of their future and nothing dashes those dreams. When they are toddlers, we can chalk up tantrums to personality traits that will serve them well as adults. Every time they display a strong sense of curiosity, verbal acumen or excellent counting skills we are impressed and convinced of future greatness.
Then grade school happens and most of us are told that our children, while quite lovely and engaging, are average. Perhaps they lean more towards the right end of the curve, or the left, but they are on the curve. Which, hey, totally makes sense in my kids’ case because I have always been, well, average. I have also always been well rounded, ethical, motivated and empathetic – traits that I hope to pass on because those are what makes my average-ness different from those around me who I, um, don’t admire. So. Average (on the right side of the curve, natch) is fine, right?
Unless you start to worry that maybe one of your kids might be on the left side of the curve.
Early in the school year I got a form letter home from Mare’s teacher informing me that she qualified for extra help with a reading specialist. As I posted previously, Mare quickly advanced to a higher level and I thought my worries were over. Throughout the year, though, I have continued to receive notes home telling me about new things we need to work on. Her addition skills were lacking. She was writing her letters backwards. Yesterday’s note said she is having problems writing a number sequence up to 65, couting groups of objects and reads and writes numbers backwards (for example, when looking at “14” she says “41” and the same with writing the number.)
Here is the thing. Maybe this teacher is isn’t a warm/fuzzy teacher who sends home all sorts of notes telling how great my kid is doing. Maybe she is a teacher who is all business and wants me to know exactly what needs to be worked on. Or maybe there is nothing great about Mare’s performance right now.
Or maybe there is something more going on. Maybe the fact that she didn’t test well in reading at first wasn’t because she didn’t care to, but because she couldn’t focus. Maybe she is loosing count because she can’t focus. Maybe she isn’t easily distracted because she is bored but because she can’t focus. Because she can’t pay attention. You see where I’m going…
Average (on the right or left of the curve) isn’t sounding so bad right now.
All these things add up to a sever case of “mommy-anxiety”. I emailed the teacher today for some perspective. Hopefully it will be a quick cure.