The Tovsky Tribe

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Friday, May 13, 2011

A Politician, A Rock Star, and a Mother Weak for her Boys.

Last week we had parent/teacher conferences at the boys school.  For some reason, standing outside of the closed door waiting my turn almost felt as if I was heading into the Principal's office.   There were no surprises about what I would come to hear, yet for some reason I felt a bit nervous.  Turner's conference went as I posted here.

Chase and Ryder's conference was interesting.  As they are finishing up their Pre-K year and getting ready to head out into the real world of Public School I sometimes, OK maybe a bit more often than that, get nervous.  Since they day I gave birth to boys with Summer birthdays I have been asked the question of "Will I hold them back?"   At first I was unsure to what all of these nosy and inquiring minds were referring.  As I had mentioned, people seemed to ask me, a new mom to twins, some really absurd and personal questions.  Hold them back as they started to crawl?  Push them down when they started to walk?  Had I known then that Ryder would climb walls and dart through parking lots maybe I would have held them back on such obvious milestones.  But, it seemed, they wanted to know if I would hold them back in school.   I was just hoping to get them off of formula first, perhaps get them out of diapers, before I started thinking about kindergarten cut-offs.  But, really, the world thought I should I start thinking about these things.
So, with the peanut gallery constantly whispering in my ear, and the apparent new trend of red shirting kindergarten making headlines (and here, and here), the question began to sink in.  And, there I was, ignoring the obvious signs of readiness, and instead debating the smaller things.  They are really little.  And, it would make a huge difference in sports.  And, they were premature, you know?  Besides, are they ready for such a big school, such a big world?  They are little, Jewish boys, heading into the Non-Jewish world.  Will their charm take them anywhere?  This is all crap.  I know that.  I am only half crazy.  The other half tells me that every five year old boy and girl sets out to the world of Kindergarten.  They all survive.  Even if they don't like it.

Of course, Chase and Ryder will do more than survive.  They are ready for the big school.  They are mature beyond their young age, and despite being nearly 9 months younger than some of their classmates, most of the time you can not tell. Academically, socially, emotionally, they are ready!   I guess the big question is, am I?

So, I set into Miss Liz's classroom and this is what I was told:

She likes to call Chase the Mayor.  She is convinced he has a future in Politics.  Or Negotiating.  Or both.  He is a "person of the people" who will greet each and every one of them, make sure they are all happy, speak for them when (and even if not) necessary, and will make his rounds to everyone in the classroom.   He does this at parties, too.  Actually, he does this everywhere. He gets this trait from Todd.

He showed a good amount of improvement in almost all areas being assessed.  Chase listens intently and has astounding recall, for both concepts and details.  He loves the game hangman (and is pretty good,) does really well with rhyming, knows all of his letters, their sounds, and can name a word that starts with each letter, and can also count to 100.

There are some areas he continues to need development in, in addition to some gross motor skills, such as accepting constructive criticism, not always being the center of attention, and tattling.  None of this came as a surprise.

That aside, Chase always has a smile, a laugh, and a hug to offer.  He is well-liked and likes everybody, though he does seem to play more with the boys.  He is eager, loves to share his knowledge, and above all else he is driven and determined like she has never seen in an almost five year old little boy.   Miss Liz believes that Chase will be successful in life not because he is smart (which he is) or charming (which he is, as well) but because he needs to be the best, he needs to be number one, he doesn't like losing.  Although I was aware he was competitive, I was a bit surprised to hear that it was to this degree.   Admirable, perhaps, but it sounds a bit stressful.  Clearly, he did not get the trait from me.  He must get that from Todd, as well.  Or my dad.  Or Todd's dad.   I never liked being number one.  Not because I couldn't or because I didn't want to try that hard but because number one meant a whole lot of attention.  I was not interested in attention.  At all.  The more I write this the more I realize that maybe Chase is not my son.

Ryder is a different boy, totally.  One of the things I was most happy about Miss Liz as a teacher was that right from the very beginning she knew the differences in the boys and never expected them to be the same.  She knows them, she understands them, and for that I am so grateful.

She describes Ryder as the handsome boy, leather clad on a motorcycle.  Untouchable yet desirable.  Mysterious yet so sweet.  A budding rock star and poet.  Though this description is accurate it makes me a bit uncomfortable.   She described the guys I crushed all of growing up.  Sorry, I just threw up in my mouth there.

Ryder is a free-spirit who is independent and not influenced to conform.  He is creative, and imaginative, and thoughtful, and deep.  He is well-liked and likes everyone but tends to form strong, deep, friendships and show a favoritism to those friends.  He enjoys the company of boys, and particularly those that share his interests.  He sounds a lot like me!  He laughs, he smiles, he is kind, and though rambunctious, he is also sensitive and caring.

He did show improvement in most areas evaluated since the assessment in the Fall.  He knew all of his letters, completed all of his rhymes, and also has pretty good recall, when he wants to.  Surprisingly, he could not count to 100, which both Miss Liz and I believe he can (know he can) but figure he may have lost focus along the way.  He has a tendency to do that.  Did I mention he reminds me of, well, me?

He has very well developed fine motor skills, and is an agile and flexible boy.  He has beautiful handwriting, and enjoys it, always wanting to write everything.  He loves art, and seems to have a developing talent.  He is passionate and faithful and loyal and yet, still, easy going enough to mix in with anyone.  He loves to laugh and to smile and a karate chop to the head is often a sign of love.

He could use continued improvement in the areas of listening to what he is being told, focusing, and making choices that don't just benefit him, but the class as a whole.  Unlike his driven brother, Ryder doesn't get bothered by being less than the best.  He likes to do the best he can, for him, not for anyone else.  He has talents and he uses them but not for the purposes of recognition.  He is much less interested in that sort of attention.  Yes, it turns out, Ryder is clearly my son.

Overall, it has been a great year for both kids.   We believe they will both benefit, even if at first they struggle, by being separated at school, where they can hone in on their individuality without the pressure of the other one.   I know that they will always have their special bond and being a twin will always be a huge part of who they are, but they could each use a chance to be one without the other, at least during the school day.

Miss Liz believes they are both ready for Kindergarten and despite their being a late birthday or smaller than the average boy, they will fit in exactly where they belong.  So, to answer the question of all those nosy strangers, red may be Ryder's favorite color but this is one red-shirt he won't be wearing.  "NO!  WE WILL NOT BE HOLDING THEM BACK IN SCHOOL!"

There is about three weeks left in the school year, at the safe haven of a Jewish Pre-school where the teachers and students alike find them funny, and adorable, and smart.  I will spend the summer preparing MYSELF for my little guys to ride on a great big bus, in a great big school, surrounded by great big kids.   Lucky for me, or for them, I am sure they can handle themselves with those bigger kids because this mama is not sure she ca.   Mistreat my boys and those silly bands you wear on your wrist will become a weapon which I will use against you.  Oh, I will.   I am weak for these boys.

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