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The New Stage Moms/Dads

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I’ve written this in my head about twenty times today and then decided time and time again to not post it.

When you talk about intelligence and kids in the same sentence, people tend to get their panties in a wad.

First off, personal experience.

I was always the child who preferred adults and much older children to kids of my own chronological age; I was always the “mature” kid.  I can distinctly remember adults asking for my advice on relationships and such when I was eight and nine.

I was tested in Kindergarten for our school system’s Gifted and Talented Program and tested off of the charts.  I participated in Gifted and Talented until 6th grade when the program was disbanded and replaced with an “every one’s special” program where all of the kids were tested and then broken up into “color groups”.  All of the kids who I had been with during GT were still together but all the kids now were participating in more enriching activities.

Our GT program wasn’t really anything special and I feel that all kids [not just the “gifted” ones] should have been getting that kind of stuff on a daily basis as part of the curriculum.

I always finished my classwork early and did my homework in class while everyone else was working on their classwork.  The result was that I was the stereotypical bored smart kid and I know now that I also had/have ADD.  To combat my boredom, I would talk to the other kids in my classes.

Literally every single report card from my grade school years show very good marks accompanied by “Amy visits too much” or “Amy needs to learn to work more quietly” or my favorite “Amy is a disruption to the class and should not help other students”.

Since I had already been labeled as highly gifted, my teachers were at a loss as to what to do with me and their only recourse [they thought] was to dock me on my “citizenship” score on my report cards.  I got tons of grief for this at home but never learned to keep my mouth shut.

During seventh grade, I took the ACT through Duke and scored better than a lot of the graduating high school seniors.  In high school, I took AP classes and recieved a full ride to one of our state’s universities.

My path to academic success was set!  I was smart.  I was going to school for free and life was good!

And then, I lost my scholarship.  My grades were mediocre because I didn’t have to do anything to get B’s and C’s and I had never learned how to study since I had never ever done so.  I ended up having to drop out of college because I couldn’t pay for it.

The point of all of that isn’t to show you how damn smart I am or to whine about how things turned out for me.  My life is pretty damn good [mainly because of Tucker] but I present to you my “smart person” story  illustrate a very important fact: intelligence is just a piece of the whole puzzle.

Being smart does NOT automatically equal success.

I see a lot of myself in Cara and I hear a lot of the same things said about her that were said about me.

Cara started crawling at like three months and walking at nine months or something.  I forget dates and would have to go back and look at pictures to give you exact dates.  She’s a remarkably quick study and picks up on things that you wouldn’t expect the average two year old to pick up on.  She started “pretend play” WAY earlier than the books say that she should have and she has moments of scary smarts.

Example: When we were in Millington stopped at a stop light, she was saying something from the backseat.  Quite honestly, Tucker and I were ignoring her since we were deep in our own conversation but Cara wouldn’t be ignored.  As the light turned green, I finally turned around and asked her what she was saying.  “PHONE STORE!!” as she pointed in front of our SUV.  My first thought was “what the fuck are you talking about?” but I looked in front of us and sure enough, there was an AT&T store in one of the shopping centers in front of our SUV.  We’ve been into the AT&T store twice with her and we’ve never mentioned that we were going to the “phone store”.  So, she made the connection of the logo and the fact that they sell phones there.  Maybe that’s not amazing, but it freaked us out just a bit.

I don’t consider Cara “amazing” or even “gifted”.  She’s just her.

Oliver is a much “happier” baby than Cara was.  He isn’t as advanced as Cara was at this age but he rolls from front to back and from back to front, has started scooting and crawling [FUCK!] and he developed his “social smile” way before he was “supposed” to.  Oliver examines things whereas Cara just dove into something.

I shy away from calling my kids “special” or “gifted” or whatever because I know what it’s like to have that label and what it’s like to not “live up to your potential”.

A disturbing trend that I’ve noticed starting to appear on message boards and on blogs is the “my kid is smarter than your kid” or “listen to how BRILLIANT!!! my kid is” and it scares me.  Let me be crystal clear here to minimize the hate mail that I’m already going to get from this.  I’m not saying that being proud of your kid is bad.  I’m not saying that bragging about your kid is bad.  What I AM talking about are the parents who are living vicariously through their kids and their intelligence.

These are the new stage moms/dads and I think that it’s sad and wrong.

There is a lot of data out there showing that some intelligence is inherited.  So, it would stand to reason that a mom who tested “highly gifted” and a dad who test “genius” would produce kids who are genetically predisposed to be smart.  But now we’re into the “nature vs nurture” land.

Tucker and I gave our kids the genetic stock to be smart and we try to provide enriching activities that they find interesting to foster positive development.  BUT, if either/both [or none] of my kids turn out to be geniuses, that DOES NOT mean that I win mother of the year.  While your children are, to a small degree, a reflection of your parenting abilities, there are severally neglected children who have still tested at genius levels.  I can guarantee you that their parents did NOT receive any parenting accolades and all the parents did was donate a bit of genetic material.

Be proud of your kids.  Whether they’re retarded, normal, smart, gifted, geniuses, whatever!  Life’s hard enough for a kid without having their parents constantly comparing them to other kids because of something that their parents are lacking.

Comments

  1. I just want my kids to be happy and feel good about themselves. I hope that they work hard and do the best they can and make choices that are right for them and their lives. If I can pull of that? I will feel like a success as a parent.

    Loralees last blog post..A note to my children…

  2. Wow.

    Your story looks similar enough to mine. I also had to drop out for several reasons, one of which was academic. In high school, I could skip class for a month, walk into class on the day of the exam, and ace it. Can’t do that in college, as it turned out.

    And I agree 100% with the thing about kids. I believe we’re all blessed with different talents. Some are smart in school, others have common sense. We’re all different…deal with it.

    Love the post! :mrgreen:
    Bubba

    Bubbas last blog post..A New Era

  3. I like your post a lot. (Though I’m still quaking at the thought of a 3mo crawler. Gah!) You make some great points!
    I think it’s natural for parents to be awed by their children’s smarts, they seem to always learn way faster that we’d ever expect! How you guide your child, how you help them harness their strengths, how you support their abilities, that’s where the real parenting challenge lies. And it’s the same challenge whether your kid learns to read at age 10 or age 2.
    That said… good luck with those two, looks like you have your work cut out for you!

    Jessica (from It’s my life…)s last blog post..President Barak Obama’s Inauguration: As seen by a 3-year-old

  4. I know EXACTLY of which you speek. I was called “professor” by class mates and teachers alike for many years. My scores coming out of 8th grade (we didn’t have a middle school or Jr High) placed me in collage level classes. Of course I bolo’d the whole process, went to work my softmore year and never looked back.
    All my kids are very smart and very talented, daughter is a writer, oldest son a very good musician,(plays any instrument he decides is “cool”) the youngest and the only one making a serious attempt at collage is in the “Scary Smart” range. He’s frustrated most of the time with teachers and classes, even in collage.

    We removed all of them from public schools many years ago, for several reason, the top reason being the liberal BS attitudes of the teachers and faculty, the drug issues in GRADE SCHOOL, gang issues and frankly, the teachers could not stay up with them.

    I don’t need to live though my kids, my life is interesting enough, (Old Arabic curse, “May you live in interesting times… I DO) The last thing I would ever want is for one of them to follow in my footsteps. This is no life for a young person.

    Keep writing Amy, I enjoy it all.

    Terry

    Terence Smelsers last blog post..Quick, someone get me a bucket!

  5. My only wish for my daughters is for them to grow up happy, fulfilled, loved and challenged. I would rather they had to work for some things than for everything to come for them easily. You learn from your challenges.

    Twisted Cinderellas last blog post..Shopping

    • I think your point about not having to work at something was/is my biggest issue. School came easy to me and when I found something more interesting then I didn’t have the fact that I had worked at it to keep me interested.

  6. I love you for this. I was the smart kid who never had to study too. College was miserable for me because I didn’t know how to study either. I made it through but only because I feared my parents reactions if I dropped out. I’ve felt like such an underachiever since, knowing how much people had expected from me.

    I fear all of this for my son, who at 5 can read anything, and I mean anything, he wants. He’s already bored in Kindergarten. I hardly ever mention his reading to anyone because I don’t want to look like I’m bragging about it. I don’t want to brag, I just want to know what I’m supposed to do with him to keep the pattern from repeating. ~sigh~

    catnips last blog post..cool cat

  7. wow!Loved that post

    Sorcerers last blog post..< LEMONADE AWARD >

Trackbacks

  1. Amy Tucker says:

    @BizSavvyTherpst Here's my take on the whole IQ thing. I wrote it early this year: http://bit.ly/4hR4K1

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