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All Puffed Up

It has been eight days since I wrote.  Gasp!  I apologize for my absence, my only excuse is the sixty-five something hours I worked last week.  That darn job keeps getting in the way of the things I really want to do.  Anyway, so I haven’t written as much as usual and my first post back is going to be kind of obnoxious, I’m sorry to say.  There’s about to be a lot of bragging about my kid, but I’m going to (try) to do it in the context of how he impacts my expectations as a Mom. 

In this particular post, I’m talking about my son.  I can’t do that without first taking a moment to talk about my daughter, my first-born, my mini-me.  That last quality is a lot of the reason that she’s not featured in this particular post.  She may look like a female version of her father, but every other single thing about her is all mine.  It’s handy when I need to read her mind and I’m finding that to be a priceless skill as we are plunged into adolescence.  Anyway, she is tremendously intelligent, vastly skilled in art and writing and freakin’ hysterical about 99% of the time, when she’s not in a teenage pout.  She is also very tentatively self-confident and generally shies away from the spotlight, preferring to fly under the radar.  Therefore, she does well in everything she does, but she keeps it on the down low.  That’s the part I understand.  She doesn’t enjoy awards and accolades, so she works to keep things just short of standing out.  I don’t particularly like that, since I believe she deserves all the awards on earth, but I get it and I let her work her way slowly out of her comfort zone.

Now, on the other hand, the boy does not have this issue.  He is also super-smart and he’s perfectly fine with everyone knowing it.  I don’t mean he’s an obnoxious brat about it, because we have lots of talks about how insufferable the “I’m smarter than you” kids are.  I just mean that by no stretch of the imagination is he hiding his light under a barrel.  He’s privately quite sure that he’s smarter than anyone, with the possible exception of Stephen Hawking.  Most of my parental cheerleading for him has more to do with keeping him grounded in reality than building him up.  While we try to keep his ego under control, it has given him the great gift of confidence.  He will walk into any situation without hesitation.  New things don’t scare him.  Heck, even public speaking doesn’t give him butterflies.  He blows me away because I cannot understand him.  I’m proud of him, for sure, but he’s an alien being to me.

With all that said, I need to talk about the expectations that I have for him.  Obviously, first and foremost, I want him to be happy and successful in all that he does.  On a more specific level, I expect good grades, high test scores and everything he does to be done to the best of his ability.  I’m not saying that I’m not proud when he delivers, because I am.  I’ve just recently begun to realize that I’m not nearly as proud as I should be.  My son took two SOLs at school this year, math and english.  He missed only one question on the english and that completely blew me away, because at semester break, he was actually failing the class.  (Let me take a moment to point out that math whizzes sometimes struggle with the ambiguity of general essay writing.  Their brains want there to be a right or wrong answer, no in between.  Also, I think his teacher was out to get him.  For real.)    So the english score blew me away and I was all puffed up about it, so proud of my boy for overcoming his challenges.  Regarding math, he got a perfect score.  Yes, yes, it’s awesome, but I expected nothing less.  This is a child who can’t wait to get to middle school so he can take Algebra.  The day he took the test he told me he got them all right.  He’s a math guy and fourth grade math is well below his abilities, so of course he got them all right.  Duh. 

Well.  Guess what I found out.  The state changed the SOLs this year.  51% of the kids in the state who took this test failed it.  So not only is my kid in the minority who successfully passed, but he got a PERFECT score.  Well, well.  This is a pretty damn big deal.  (It would be nice if the school recognized his very huge achievement, but I guess we don’t want anyone to feel bad for not doing as well, so we’ll just ignore it…blah, don’t even get me started.)  Now, around that same time, he was invited to apply for Governor’s School this summer.  If you’re not familiar with Governor’s School, it’s a regional enrichment program for kids who qualify.  I’m not sure what you have to do to qualify or who nominates whom, but it’s a pretty sweet deal.  We applied and received our letter that he was enrolled in a week of web page design classes.  Sweet, right?  Again, I’m proud.  When I dropped him off for his first day of class this morning, I discovered something rather shocking.  Over sixty kids in our county applied and my kid was one of twelve who was selected for class.  What the….  again, a pretty damn big deal.

So here’s my dilemma, as this kid’s mother.  I feel that I’m cheating him by not realizing how extremely, ridiculously, super proud I should be.  Of course, I am proud, and I tell him so.  But I also need him to continue to work to his abilities.  He sets the bar so high for himself that I don’t feel like I can cut him any slack, because he is happy with nothing less than the best.  How do I continue to push him, and still make him understand how amazing he is?  How do I make watch him achieve honor after honor without coming to expect it?  Is it even okay to expect it?  Does that make it less special?  I don’t know, I’m just learning it as I go.  All I know is that our county chose a representative who recently stuck Gobstobbers in his nose just for shits and giggles.  I am so proud.

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  1. Jeremy
    June 20, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    Rock on, ‘son’! All I can say is he probably has some awesome parents!

    • June 20, 2012 at 7:09 pm

      Oh yes, his parents are legends in their own minds. 😉

  2. June 23, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Big congrats are in order here!!!!
    I get where you’re coming from. My son is the same exact way – he had has his IQ tested when he was six and he came in at 134. He was one of 6 kids in his school to be in erichment in 1st grade. Its pretty damn scary some days. I struggle with it too – I keep pushing him but try to remind him that others are smarter so he can keep his ego in check.

    • June 23, 2012 at 9:18 pm

      Thank you…and back at you! It is scary and hard raising a kid like that. I don’t know where he came from (well, literally, yes I do) I’m just trying not to break him. LOL 🙂

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