Recently the fabulous Not Mary P (who I am totally internet-stalking now, I’ll bet she’s bloody relieved we don’t live in the same city) wrote a post about one of the kids in her care and whether or not she is, perhaps, not that bright.
It was written with love, and that’s obvious – but we can’t all be rocket scientists or brain surgeons, and that’s just the way life is.
I am blessed to have two very bright children of my own. Scary-smart. Like, “the school system is already letting the oldest one down because they refuse to challenge him at the level he should be” smart. (I spoke to a teacher friend of mine once and he said that gifted children often fall through the cracks; children with learning disabilities or more severe challenges are generally given appropriate resources & targeted curriculum goals, while gifted children are usually left to their own devices. But all that is a post for another day.)
It so happens that my current crop of kids to watch are generally pretty smart, too. And my nieces are also bright. For whatever reason, most of the kids in my life don’t struggle much with language, or grasping concepts. They react well to challenges and for the most part understand and respond like much older kids.
And then there is Very Quiet Boy.
Sidebar: I’ve written about him before, and a drive-by no-name troll said some very hurtful things in a comment I ultimately chickened out on and didn’t approve. And then I deleted the post, which I have since regretted. If you are a new or random reader, know this: I keep this blog as anonymous as possible, I don’t use any identifying details, and also – my space, my rules. You don’t like honesty, get lost. I’ll take reasoned input but not accusations and insults from someone who doesn’t even have the balls to identify themselves when shitting all over me. Thanks.
So – Very Quiet Boy. He’s actually my longest-term client; he’s been coming full time for a year now. He’ll be three next month. He’s very sweet, loves animals, being read to, colouring books and cars. He doesn’t talk in complete sentences around me (not very often, anyway – when he does it’s such a rarity that the other children always remark on it). He cries loudly but talks so softly when he does talk that I have to ask him to repeat himself several times. I often feel as if we’re communicating at cross-purposes; his parents swear that at home they can’t get him to stop talking, whereas here it’s a major bloody challenge to get him to start.
The kids in my care are loosely divided – in my head – into “the big boys” and “the little girls”. I never know where to put Very Quiet Boy on that spectrum. By age (3 next month) and preferred activities (playing superheroes), he should be with “the big boys”. By verbal skills and ability to follow directions, he should be with “the little girls”.
He needs to be told things over and over again. He doesn’t follow directions well; crafts in particular stymie him utterly, and we do really, really simple crafts. Today was a case in point; we made a simplified version of the ever-popular handprint turkey. Here’s what we did:
- talked about Thanksgiving, and what it means (“we say thank-you for the things we have! yes, like Lego!”)
- traced our hands with spread fingers on a piece of brown construction paper (I did the tracing)
- coloured in the shape
- added beaks & feet (I helped the little kids with this part)
- yay! behold turkeys!