You know that scene in "A Christmas Story" where Ralphie writes an essay about what he wants for Christmas and then there is this fantasy sequence where the teacher is moved to tears and people throw flowers at his feet etc. but then he gets a C+.?I had an experience today that reminded me of that scene.
Today was Kindergarten registration at Skyline Ranch Elementary and I took Jack down there to get him signed up to start school in July. The paperwork that I filled out before hand explained that there would be an assessment done at the registration to test the kid's school readiness.
We all know that I think Jack is a genius. I was totally ready for him to blow them away with his advanced knowledge. Just this morning he was accurately describing a black hole to me. He explained that the gravitational pull was so strong that it sucked in everything, even light. This is pretty advanced quantum physics, people. Last week he drew a me a picture of what he described as "ancient Egyptian cultural dance that would be drawn into petroglyphs." He has such a large vocabulary and such an amazing interest in science. I am a total sucker for all of this stuff and I spend hours feeding his interest. We do science experiments and read astronomy textbooks and make charts and graphs out of things we find on nature walks. Not to mention the two and a half years of preschool and hours a day of reading books and practicing reading and writing. So here I am toting my supposed genius five year old to kindergarten assessment expecting him to shock and amaze the school faculty.
After testing his hearing and eyesight they took him back to a room away from me and I could tell that he wasn't expecting it and he got a little nervous but went along anyway. A few minutes later a woman came out of the testing room and asked, "Is your son's name John or is it Jack?" I explained to her that his given name was John but that he goes by Jack and has never ever been called John in his life. She seemed a little annoyed and went back into the room. Ten minutes later Jack came out with a male teacher who told me that he did fine.
Fine? That's all? No one was moved to tears?
"Yes. He is fine. He did have a problem with writing a few of the numbers backwards but that's pretty normal. Also, when we asked him to write his name and he wrote Jack instead of John we were all confused but we got that sorted out."
Is there anything else? (he didn't happen to tell you about recent advancements in the US military weapons technology, did he? Because usually he goes on about that for hours)
"Well, there is something else, but I wouldn't worry too much about it since he is only five. When we asked him what his last name was, he didn't know. So you might want to review that with him, but I'm sure he will figure it out with time."
Well no wonder he didn't know what his last name is, he just got the news that his first name is John. I can see that this would be a little confusing.
So apparently in my efforts to prepare my son for Kindergarten I should have been focusing more on the basics like which way the number 5 is written and what his last name is instead of the mechanics behind an internal combustion engine and the migration patterns of blue whales. Who knew?
What is funny is that my mom recently told me that when I started Kindergarten I could already read and she was so proud of me. She couldn't wait for the teacher's assessment so that she could hear glowing praise about how smart I was (keep in mind she was a kindergarten teacher at the time and knew that I was a genius). Instead the teacher brushed over the fact that I could read like it was no biggie and went on and on about how my handwriting was poor and I needed to work on cutting straight lines with scissors. My mom brought the topic back to reading and the teacher said, "Yeah she's a good little reader but her handwriting really has me concerned" My mom still gets irritated by this memory 27 years later. For the record, I am still a good reader and my handwriting still sucks.
I got out the camera to take a picture of Jack and Ella while we were waiting in line in the school office to document the occasion. Ella didn't want to pose and a spontaneous fist fight broke out right before I snapped the picture. This is a good illustration to explain why we asked the registrar specifically to put them into different classes.
I did finally get them to pose for the picture but you can see that Ella was not totally on board. Jack scolded her "You have to let my mom take the picture so she can blog it." He has been trained. The smile is fake but he knows the drill.