The things that will never make it in the baby books and other musings from a stay at home mom

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Here's what I don't understand about my daughter. Today, when she walked into her classroom for the second day of school, she went right over to her cubby to hang up her backpack. "Wow, you already know which one is yours," her teacher chirped. "Do you see your name?" And Julia, who can read her name, spell her name, write her name, you name it, pointed to her friend Jake's name. "You recognized a J. That's great," her teacher praised her. "This one actually says Jake. But here's your name. Look. Julia is spelled J-U-L-I-A." Julia solemnly nodded as if she'd just been taught something very new and hung up her backpack on the correct hook.

The same child who labels every picture she draws at home ("How do you spell 'rainbow flowers', Mom?") rarely even drew a recognizable shape in school last year. The same kid who can tell you without a pause that if 2 of the 15 kids in her class are absent, there must be 13 yellow birds today will never volunteer to count the class at lineup. The same girl who was assembling 24-piece jigsaw puzzles in under 10 minutes at home when school began *last* year is still pausing over 4 piece wooden puzzles in the classroom today.

I'm not saying I want Julia to be ostentatious or show off her knowledge extensively. And I certainly don't need her to perform party tricks. If she wants her teachers to know that she knows how to spell her name (and Jake's, as she ironically demonstrated for his mom in a diner just a few weeks ago), I presume she'll share that information. But I wonder at the vast discrepancy. Is she trying to blend in with the other kids, most of whom she sees scribbling and puzzling over 4 piece puzzles? Seeking her teacher's attention by appearing to need instruction? Simply so shy that questions or attention fluster her into forgetting what she knows? I would never ask her, for fear of making her even more uncomfortable. But it is this piece of my daughter's personality that puzzles me the most. And unlike Julia, there is no teacher hovering at my elbow to help me figure out how the pieces fit together. I can simply watch and wait and see.


At 3:20 PM, Blogger Kristy said...

I'm puzzled, too. Watching and waiting might just be your best answer, though, I know, it's probably killing you to do so. She's sharp as a tack, and you know it. She'll figure out this social thing. You know she will.

At 1:38 AM, Blogger AliceBabylon said...

Maybe she's embarrassed by the attention. Maybe she always hears how smart she is for her age, but what she really wants is to fit in with the other kids not stand out.

At 8:39 AM, Blogger Steph said...

Though watching and waiting will be tough, I think that's the best thing you can do. She just might not want to stand out. She'll figure it out.

At 12:53 PM, Anonymous Gretchen C. said...

Wow, that is strange. It could be that she doesn't want to make waves, or that she is trying to behave in the ways that people expect her to behave rather than showing her brilliance. Why, I do not know. But: Trust her. She has a reason, and if you are quiet and watchful, maybe you will see it, or she will share it with you.


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