Wednesday, February 5, 2014

So Different: Tale of Two Kindergartners

I've mentioned several times throughout the school year how jarring it is to see Bay's work come home and compare, though I shouldn't, to where Morgan was at that same age.

The handwriting is different- Bay's is neat where Morgan's barely existed. The coloring is different- Bay is in the lines, where just this year Morgan finally colored an entire picture. The drawings- Bailey draws everything he sees or imagines and in great detail, Morgan still draws mostly in trains.

My children are so different, it's nearly painful. There is not a favorite son, there are just two different sons, as if they are each from different parents.

In Morgan's kindergarten, we were speaking of him being behind, not communicating, melting down, scripting, and playing "inappropriately." There was the fear of him not retaining information. Basically, there were a lot of deficits to work on and not a lot of strengths shown except his love of patterns and math.

In Bay's kindergarten, we have a child who gets into trouble for talking, who is easily bored and blows through assignments, and who "contributes a lot" to class discussions as his teacher told me after a talk about MLK went a bit sideways with me. He absorbs everything and starves for more. There is no talk of deficits unless it's about his speech impediment. He has a hard time making friends because he blurts out God knows what, usually something he's overhead me say.

I requested Bay be checked for gifted. It hurt, for some reason, to ask. I felt like I was betraying Morgan and all of those years of "well below benchmark," "well below average," and "borderline intellectually disabled" marked on so many tests.

I felt like I was slapping my special needs mom friends in the face somehow.

So I couldn't say anything when I was told that Bay "flunked" the test by 2% . In kindergarten, a child must make a 99% on the test to be considered gifted, Bay scored 97%. I'm not upset by any means, I'm kind of relieved. It means that he won't have advanced classes this year. It means he'll be "regular" a little longer.

But then I felt like I was shorting Bay for not being upset. Am I supposed to be upset? I was told that kids his age rarely score this high, they normally are in the lower to upper 80s, maybe lower 90s. That next year, he'll be retested and likely be placed in the gifted program.

I wonder if the woman telling me thought me strange for not being excited. Or if my terror showed on my face.

There is irony in having Bay tested for gifted while ordering Morgan's three year evaluation to be done for autism, and everything that entails- IQ tests, etc.

There is also pain in that I worry about both of them, but I worry for entirely different way. I like someone is pulling me in opposite directions and it hurts my heart. What happens if, by encouraging Bay, I hurt Morgan?

I'll always encourage my children to work hard and do their best. But what happens when their best makes the other one feel awful? And how do I manage this?


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Oh man Jessi, this is so true! I worry about the same things with my boys...and they are both spectrum. Parenting them is so different...and I am always worried bout hurting Drew while praising James for something Drew can't do. I get it.

  3. Yes ...I keep telling them they both have their special gifts. There is something one does well that the other can't do at all. What's really, really hard is when they become teenagers, mean and grumpy and the younger one calls the older one dumb, or stupid when he's angry. I want to throttle him! And then he says thing like ...well people treat me like crap at school, and I take it out on him. Some of it is just sibling stuff. Some of it is just ugly. And makes me cringe. I just pray that it will all come out in the wash one day. And that they will be there for each other when it really counts.

  4. Oh, I was thinking like this today. Hitting my head against the wall trying to get one kid to understand how to find the area of a triangle while the other one was stimming his face off. And I thought, if I complained about my NT problems, would my ASD friends kick me out? ;)