Up until I opened this page a mere minute before beginning to type this, I wasn’t planning on writing anything today. I was going to sit and stew, and maybe wallow in a cupcake. I was going to keep silent about my sadness today. But I suddenly had the urge to say something. To put words to what I’m feeling. Here goes.
I want to begin this with “Of course I’m biased.” I know that will be one of the first thoughts in my readers’ heads, whether intentionally or not, and so I want to just lay that out there ahead of time. I’m going to be writing about my kids, my son in particular, and of course I will be subjective. But my biases and subjectivity in no way impacts my deep sadness over today.
Let’s continue now that that’s out of the way.
My boy is in Pre-K, in a school that’s not entirely awful, but not the best there is in our district. But he has a great teacher, and he seems to enjoy school most days. We’re happy about that. But because he goes to a different school than his sister, and because we know he’s incredibly bright, we wanted to get him into the same Gifted and Talented program as his sister. He went through two rounds of testing–yes, testing a four-year-old–and I found out today that he didn’t make it in. Obviously this makes me sad for him because he’s missing out on a program that really is great, and he really wanted to be going to school with his sister. But this is not why I am as distraught over this as I am. Let me explain.
Bubba is bright, curious, creative, hilarious, stubborn, and wonderfully kind. His level of empathy goes far beyond his age. He is sensitive, loving, and shy. He is an amazingly beautiful, gentle little soul. Anyone who meets him loves him. He’s just one of those people that you can’t not like.
But what comes with his gentleness and sensitivity is a lot of tears sometimes. And worrying that he’ll be left alone when I leave. And feeling confused or unsafe when he’s with someone he doesn’t know. Some kids have no issues running off into the great wide world and being with new people. My boy has never been like that. And so when it was his turn to take his IQ test, he immediately began crying and shutting down when he was led off alone with the school psychologist. Might this be a good time to remind you, dear reader, that he is 4? A four-year-old, who until September, a month before his tests, had never been in daycare or any place unfamiliar without family. He was suddenly asked to leave his father and go into a room he’d never seen, in a building he was unfamiliar with, with a person he’d never met before. And he didn’t take it well. He stopped crying eventually, of course, but by that time, his test had already begun, and the effects were noted.
And so, on his IQ test results, he scored 112, which is still on the high side of average, but not high enough. And his score ended up that way due to his verbal response score. Though his non-verbal score was a 117, very high for his age according to the GT teacher, his verbal score was a 107. Averaging the two together, he ended up literally one point lower than the cut-off score for entrance. One. Fucking. Point.
Now I’m not trying to be one of those parents who demands their children be treated differently and be the exception to all rules. But I am the parent who believes her child should be given the opportunities and education that is best for him/her. And knowing that he scored above average on every category–reading, math, reasoning, problem-solving, non-verbal, and a few others I can’t remember–but scored average for verbal responses because he was scared and shy, and thus was rejected, makes me so fucking furious. Because of who he is as a person, regardless of the fact that it was obvious that he is bright, and clearly of above average intelligence, he was denied entrance into a program that was made for kids like him. Because he is a young child who may be more sensitive than others, he was seen as not good enough.
I say fuck that. He is good enough, and more. And I will not tell him he didn’t have a high enough test score to get into a school. No, not at fucking four-years-old. It will crush his little soul, and I will not do that to him. He is a rarity. His love for people and animals, and his frustration at unfairness is not something you find in everyone. His passion for treating everyone and everything with kindness and consideration is only a part of him because he’s so sensitive. And I will not let some arbitrary number and determination define who he is or cause him to change.
It just reinforces that this type of schooling is not a fit for him, and that there needs to be another option. Something needs to be done that my boy can continue to be sensitive, and shy, but goofy, and rambunctious, and still receive the challenging education that he will thrive on. And clearly it will not be in this school. And now, come to think of it, maybe it’s a blessing in disguise. Because now I absolutely have to push for what’s best for him, even if it’s not what everyone else does. I have a lot to think about in the coming weeks.
But today I will just hug and kiss him dozens of times until he feels he’s had enough. I will listen to his silly stories, and praise him for his creative Lego creations. I will continue to encourage him to be exactly who he is. Because no matter what, he is fucking perfect just as he is.