Thursday, April 03, 2008

Brainiacs

Warning: This post contains copious amounts of mommy-blogging, maternal pride.

DH and I have continued to be successful at raising the next generation of brainy geeks. Our kids really never had a chance to be anything else...poor souls.

The Rationalist has been selected to participate in a Math Bowl for the second grade. He and four other children were tested and chosen out of the entire second grade to represent their school against a few others by the end of April. He stayed an extra hour after school yesterday to practice with his team. He is very excited about it, and sees it as the first step in getting on a game show in real life, something that would totally rock his world. Go Math!

Intuitive Monkey was sent for gifted testing last week by his kindergarten teacher. In a surprising move, the counselor actually tested him the next day. This was surprising because it took two years of teachers hounding the counselor to test The Rationalist. Time after time they had been put off by him until he probably got sick of hearing from them and did it.

What's funny is that Intuitive Monkey actually scored two points higher than The Rationalist, a secret that The Rationalist must never discover. His competitive spirit would overtake him. He relishes that he knows so much more than his brother and usually seizes any opportunity he can to correct Monkey. Upsetting his psyche in this area would probably cause his universe to implode.

The whole thing reminds me of that Frasier episode where Niles and Frasier try to discover who scored higher on an old, unlabeled, IQ test from their childhood.

Hilarity and Hi-jinks ensue.

It brings me great pleasure that our kids like school and seem to thrive in a learning environment. I am even happier that they are just as content to wrestle around the living room, or dig in the dirt in our back yard.

Although they sometimes drive me crazy, I love watching the continuing evolution of their personhood.

2 comments:

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Words of caution. I imagine you are aware of the potential difficulties, but I'll highlight a few anyway. I was an exceptionally bright child and grew up rather arrogant. God had to allow several humiliations along the way for me to lose even half of that conceit. With my own children I was determined to spare them that if I could. It is an impossible balance, being encouraging and rejoicing in their gifts, but also inserting the frequent notes of caution about how they look at others and value them. One technique we used was to help them rejoice in the intelligence and accomplishments of their friends. That carries its own risks or group snobbery, of course, but it's one way off the pedestal.

Another assist to you in this impossible task is to always bear in mind what their spouses are going to think of you. We would even banter that openly with them, narrowing our eyes at a boy and saying "I want my daughter-in-law to like me. Knock it off."

They all turned out nicer than I - certainly less full of themselves - so perhaps it had an effect.

I wince for the competitive one. It's a good quality, but it's painful to learn that there is always a faster gun.

terri said...

Yes....well, we have had many conversations about the fact that other children have different talents and that The Rationalist is not to compare himself to other kids in his class. Being a terrible handwriter and having almost no interest in drawing/painting/things artisitc, unlike some of his very talented friends, he usually grasps that other people are better at some things than he is in the same way that he is sometimes better at things other people aren't.

Many years ago I read a book(fictional) about a young jewish teenager whose father, an Orthodox rabbi, ceased speaking to him directly. He never addressed him, asked him anything, or participated in small talk with him. This was a crushing blow to him. His friend, from whose perspective the story is told and who is a less religious Jew, can't relate and spends much time discussing this with his own father.

The story develops the friendship between the two boys. At the end of the book we discover that what the rabbi did was an attempt, probably misguided, to try and teach his incredibly smart son some humility. That sounds really cruel when I type it out, but it made a compelling impression on me....I can't remember the name of the book.

Anyway, I totally agree with tempering the focus on academics, yet I have had to stop myself from constantly trying to put qualifiers and reminders about humility and graciousness in at each success....that is equally bad. I wouldn't tell a star athlete, "Well, just remember there are more important things than making such an incredible goal at the last minute," right after his game.

The main issue will be the sibling rivalry that seems to be developing between the two boys rather than competition with their friends. Monkey could care less about proving his intelligence. He's very laid back. The Rationalist is the much more competitive one.

Anyway, I hardly ever brag about my kids so give me some lenience. :-)