It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...
Jake has a problem with self-discipline. Buckling down, if you will. The kid is smart as a whip. A whip who prefers not to study his multiplication tables. You should have seen his report card. It was insanely impressive. All As, and a B in math. So, why am I miffed? Why am I befuddled? Because I know without a shadow of a doubt that B could have been an A.
I'm surprised Betsy's brain hasn't exploded based on the amount of effort she puts into everything. I'm waiting for the day that streams of steam shoot out her ears. The amount of signs she's learned in the last couple of months is mind blowing. Her overall communication abilities are still lacking in the verbal department, but this girl is an innovator in the field of creative compensation.
Jake had a tween style, over-emotional break down last night when we had him take 3 practice time's tables tests. If it were a test on football plays, or basketball strategy, he would have asked for more. Time's tables, not so much. How can you get it to register with an 8 1/2-year-old that multiplication is a huge component to all other math? I tried explaining to him that I use it all the time. In almost every recipe I make, everything I sew. He just doesn't seem to care.
Betsy brought me the Pops the other day. The whole box. She physically put the box in my hand and pointed to it when I had it securely in my grasp. She had just eaten lunch. I told her maybe later. Five minutes later my mom called. I was happily engaged in one of the mulitple conversations we have daily when Betsy brought me a baggy (her favorite snack receptacle). Then, she took my hand, led me to the pantry, had me open it, and shook her head 'no' to everything I pointed to (purposely avoiding the Pops) until I, reluctanly put my hand on that big, yellow box. We had a winner! Effective communication, I'd say.
Do I need Jake to get stratight As? Certainly not. Although, I cannot lie, it's always been a dream of mine to have National Merit Scholars. But what burns my biscuits is the lack of effort. If that math grade was a D and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he tried his hardest, that would be good enough for me. It's 3rd grade, the ground floor, the foundation of scholarly habits from here on out. When the going gets tough you can't avoid it and stick your head under the pillow. It's 3rd grade.
She trotted off with her baggy of Pops in hand as happy as a lark. I was beaming, I thought my mom was going to start crying. So many emotions wrapped up in the fact that she 'told' me in one way or another that she wanted Pops. For any other kid, such a small task. For her, monumental. Don't even get me started on how insanely cute her sign for 'bus' is.
Tonight we start militant style flashcards with Jake. I wanted him to take the reins on this one (with a little help from me or the dad), but enough is enough. Now, he's going to have all this negative emotion attached to math and studying. Ugh! Just what I was wanting to avoid. Maybe, I'll offer him a baggy of Pops as a reward for a successful study session.
This was a tale of two very different kiddies. One puts everything she has into the smallest of tasks (physically and cognitively), the other the bare minimum into his mathematical endeavors just to get by. Balance, I suppose. Either way, they are both so loved, and cherished. Both extraordinary, both incredible, both so full of potential. Both present different parenting challenges, both make me smile. At their best or their worst.