We had school conferences tonight. Or rather, Rob had school conferences, since he unilaterally changed Rory and Wy’s conferences to a time I couldn’t make, and then, because they filled, couldn’t change them back–but then, he couldn’t make the time I’d chosen, so who am I to talk?
In any case, Rob, armed with my questions, went. My questions boiled down to: “is Wyatt interested enough?” And “is Rory managing to learn anything?” My perception being that Wyatt, who does Lily’s math enrichment (he’s 4 and she’s in first grade) needs more opportunity and that Rory prefers strongly to stick to what she already knows, besides not being nearly as on top of “school-y” stuff as Wyatt (she’s whip-smart, but hey, she has some catching up to do).
My perception being: WRONG.
The upshot of the conferences was that Wyatt is lazy. He’s the one who likes to stick to what he knows. He may be more “ahead,” but he’s not doing nearly all he could, and they know it. Rory? Her teachers are thrilled with her. She knows all her letters and sounds! She’s a willing worker! A few more steps through the Montessori letter/sound building structure (whatever that is) and she is ready to learn to read! Perfect, for someone in her last year of pre-K.
I do believe I was in danger of pigeon-holing them both. I know I wrote about family roles from the kid perspective a few days ago, but this is about my perspective. I have always had trouble, with my kids, in not thinking that how ever things are today is not how they will always be. If baby Sam missed one nap, I was convinced he would never nap again, and so forth. I’m going to guess that this makes me especially prone to labeling my kids–Sam, the helpful one! Lily, the difficult one! Wyatt, the smart one! Rory, the behind one!
Because they don’t fit this labels, of course. Sam can be difficult, whiny, lazy. Lily smart, helpful. Wyatt is the baby and behind in plenty of things. And Rory–come on, self. I could have been a little easier on myself and said Rory, the athlete! But I’m past that phase of thinking–they’re all athletes in different ways. I’m trying to pinpoint why I worry about Rory at school when apparently there’s little to worry about. For decent reasons–like because she still mixes up he and she (I know they’re the same in Mandarin, although I don’t know if she ever spoke Mandarin–but I do know). Or because she doesn’t seem to want to read, or even always listen when we read, at home?
Or is it because I’m still behind myself, still seeing Rory as she was a few months ago and not giving her the chance to be the kid who changes like lightning? Maybe even because the same Rory who wants so desperately to live up to my expectations–emptying her lunch, getting ready for school, helping in the kitchen–is likely to be equally desperate to live DOWN to them, and because I treat her like she can’t do much in book department yet, she just … Doesn’t?
I’m revising my perceptions as fast as I can.