Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Guest Post - Bossy Betty

For the next week and a half I will be hosting a whole slew of guest bloggers (or is that a gaggle of guest bloggers? A herd of bloggers? Whatever!) I will be immersing myself in the final days of packing, moving, unpacking and breathing deeply that the move is over. We received news that we will possibly (98%) be closing on the dream home, but until I get the keys in my hand and see something in writing...I am a little doubtful. I will still be posting on Twitter and will be doing a Saturday blog post on what the outcome of our housing situation turned out to be.

I want to thank everyone who responded to my "Call To Arms" with guest blogging. I had a fabulous turn out and can't wait to introduce these wonderful blog ladies to you!

Today's Guest Blogger is Bossy Betty. This is what Betty has to say about herself:

In my old age, I plan to become the crazy cat lady in the neighborhood--the woman both pitied and viewed with a strange sense of fascination by all. That life of fame will have to wait though. These days I am a hard-workin' teacher and mama to two boys. I've been married to a man--a real, live man-- for 27 years. He's real nice and he's clean too! In the mornings I go Nordic walking around my neighborhood and at night I sleep the sleep of the happy.
Gifted and Talented!

Hyperactive parents that we were, we were more than ready for Evan to take to the wilds of academics and be the little Super Star in school we knew he could be. After all, hadn't we filled his crib with educational toys? Didn't we have hundreds of books scattered around the house like wild flower seeds? The boy couldn't even go to the bathroom without encountering some author or another staring at him from the rack of books beside the toilet. Meal times were not just times to eat. They were times to learn! learn! learn! with place mats featuring State Flags and a Map of the World Flags. The lettering at the top of these place mats commanded our children to "Eat and Learn!"

Sonny Boy, who had always had a healthy fear of authority figures, jumped into school, did the work, no questions asked. Evan, however, viewed his teachers as impediments to recess. When his soft-spoken second grade teacher said softly and mournfully, "Evan, it makes me sad when you don't do your work," he viewed her as having some sort of mental problem that made her even more unsuitable for the classroom. "Why should that make her sad, Mom? Don't you think that's really weird?"

So in third grade we were more than ready for the ignition switch to be flipped on. Regular readers of Bossy Betty will recall that at a parent-teacher conference a year earlier, the teacher had been excited to tell us of Evan's progress in the class in the form of this high praise: "He doesn't fall out of his chair as much any more."

So third grade started off with more frenzied excitement (by HOB and I) at any progress being made. He was doing fine in his class, but I hung out with high-performance mothers whose high-performance children were building models of the Eiffel Tower out of toothpicks in their spare time and preparing to be "Gated." GATE (Gifted and Talented) was the program in our school to which selected children were admitted and so all of these mothers liked to use "Gated" as a verb in their conversations as much as possible. "When Eric gets Gated this year...." "You know, we've promised her a new computer when she gets Gated. Of course, she'll probably build her own before she gets Gated." (Readers: Stop here to make retching sound of vomiting.) Obnoxious? Oh yes. Bossy Betty jealous? Oh no. Not at all.

One fine afternoon it happened: Evan came home and immediately opened his backpack. He withdrew a brightly colored xeroxed paper and began working intensively. Now, I had read the "Parenting a Brilliant Child" books and one thing the books recommended was to not to interfere in moments like this. When the child takes ownership of the work, the child is encouraged to do more of the same, leading to a Nobel Prize in Science in the future.

I watched from afar as he worked with different colored markers. His concentration level on this project was intense. He worked on this opus, this masterpiece for ten or so minutes. I stood back, knowing this was the pivotal shift we had been waiting for but still curious. Was it math that had sparked this new found fervor? Was it a love of science? Was it (ohpleaseohpleaseohpleaseohpleasepleaseplease) a love of reading?

Finally, he stood back, finished, drained, but very, very pleased. I stepped forward as he unveiled his work to me.

He had annotated, decorated, and edited the lunch schedule for the next month.

There were clouds over Fish Sticks day. Sloppy Joe day had been crossed out and the words "Boo! Boo!" written above it. Pizza Day glowed with yellow sunshine and happy faces.

I looked at this boy of mine at the table--a happy, proud and exuberant little soul--and knew I would not change one single thing about him. He was (and remains) a singularly unique and wonderful person. Gifted and Talented? You bet. In so many ways.

"Well, I said, hugging him, "I am so proud of you! Let's just put this right on the refrigerator where we can look at it every day."

And we did.


*Thank you so much Bossy Betty for contributing this wonderful piece of the pride we have in our children!! I was honored to post this!

22 comments:

Old Kitty said...

Well done Evan!! And Sonny Boy too of course! Two different siblings both equally talented! Evan is a true artist, not only thinking outside the box but giving it bright and breezy colours and motifs! Good for him!

What a great post, Bossy Betty! I can't believe the pressure parents and kids are under with that "Gated" thing. Good grief. So good on you and good on Evan!

take care
x

Theresa Milstein said...

Great guest post! When I read "Gated", I did make wretching sounds. We had "Gifted and Talented" when I was young. My sister was in it, but I wasn't. Boo hoo.

And I bet your children are doing fine now.

Madi and Mom said...

I love it Bossy Betty!!
Sonny Boy and Evan are lucky to have you and your hubby for parents!!
Madi and Mom

Sniffles and Smiles said...

I LOVED this!!! And so delighted to find your blog...Came here from Betty's place! Your blog is beautiful!! Such style!!! ~Janine XO

Cheeseboy said...

Ha ha! You know I teach a first grade class FULL of Gifted and Talented kids in a magnet program. You wouldn't believe how often the "gifted kids" in my class spew out very average to below average work, even for "regular" first graders. And yes, I have "gifted" first graders that fall out of their chairs daily too.

I was hoping for doughnuts.

Ann said...

This makes me feel much better about my children's lack of educational brilliance...lol

Ann said...

This makes me feel much better about my children's lack of educational brilliance...lol

Lady Ren said...

Great Guest Post!
Gifted! What the heck does that mean- Children are our gifts.
What talented offspring you have!
And way to hone their creativity.

Have a great day- Ren
www.ladyofthearts.blogspot.com

Carrie said...

Loved this! Great blog post.

Joann Mannix said...

Beautiful, as always, Betty.

It is a testament to how to love these kids of ours, all so special and gifted in their own individual ways. Mine are 3 very different spirits and I have learned to acknowledge their uniqueness as their own along the way.

Aging Mommy said...

Betty that is just brilliant! My three year old daughter is not at all interested in learning her ABC's, reading books etc and I hear all the time from the other pre-schooler Moms about how their children are now reading to themselves, know all their letters and numbers etc etc. I worried about this for a long time but like you, I have now fully accepted that my daughter is a true gift and gifted in so many ways that matter to her and me regardless. She is happy, she is loved and loving which is what matters. So thank you for a wonderful reminder of what really is important in our children.

Feeling Just Right said...

Awwww Betty! I know that i respect you a lot lot lot lot lot more than i ever did before. A very warm hug.

This boy btw sounds just like moi :)

liz said...

I smiled the whole way! And how did you either not strangle nor laugh at the parents using it as a verb?!?!

You must have the patience of a saint!

Jimmy said...

I don't think any of ours were Gated but we did have cool stuff on the fridge too.

Great Post Betty.

Ally said...

i believe i've said this a bunch of times already, betty rocks and is the best mama ever! her family is so blessed to have her.

ps i'm following this blog now :)

FourthGradeNothing.com

Susan Fields said...

Great guest post, Betty! You really are a party animal when you guest blog, aren't you? :) Your post has me laughing, as always ("Why should that make her sad, Mom? Don't you think that's really weird?") I love it!

Muthering Heights said...

This is just so sweet!!! :)

Marlene said...

I LOVED this story!!! Best one yet! I seriously smiled (a huge smile) when I got to the part about decorating the lunch menu. I'd have given that boy a huge hug right there! LOVE IT!

The Empress said...

We parent the same way, Bossy.

"Accept a child for who he is, and watch him blossom."

anna @ frosted petunias said...

I love this Betty and smiled all the way through! Aren't kids the best? I wouldn't trade being a mom for anything!

Peggy K said...

What a good mom!! What a good kid! My heart sings when I think about how, if we let them be, our kids will shine in the best way FOR THEM!! And if we stop with any expectations, we can shine right along with them!! And coming from a Grandma's point of view, I doubly endorse how you handled his lunch menu art!!

Pat said...

OMG, I laughed out loud when I read that the "project" was the lunch menu! TOO FUNNY!

Not all our children can be the smartest, cutest, etc. But they are the "best" in our eyes!

Great post!

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