Monday, April 20, 2009

15 Months (part two)

Quinn is in the shy phase. For her that means that when first meeting someone she checks them out, then and when that person tries to get her attention she buries her face into the arms of one of her parents. She'll even do this with someone she knows, such as a grandparent, if she hasn't seen them in awhile. When this phase occurs in your child it's very adorable and a secret smile finds a way onto your lips. They're so aware now and are recalling memories, learning so fast about the world around them but it's almost as if she recognizes in these moments that she's supposed to remember these people but her brain just can't quite grasp it. She gets embarrassed by this and a little embarrassment in a fifteen month old is cute, after all.

I wonder at what point in our lives that our embarrassment seems to become a horrible burden. I know that now, at thirty-eight, it doesn't really bother me that much but there was definitely a period in my life when if I did something embarrassing, I would've prayed and hoped for a quick death. I guess Lucas is beginning to have more trouble with it when he deals with something difficult and can't quite understand certain feelings that are rushing through his growing body, and he's only four. I suppose that it's something each of us have to face on our own. Eventually our sense of self becomes our very own responsibility and not even our parents can help us with their protective shield. We come to face the naked light with either confidence or shame and either grow or shrink. Although I must admit that I find it extremely cute when Xtimu is embarrassed by something or other and the redness swells on her cheeks and the awkward smile reaches for her ears. But that doesn't happen very often with my sweet and confident comandante.

And it doesn't happen very often with Quinn either. Yes, she has much of her mother's personality and she's as confident as hell. When she's comfortable in her environment she smoothly navigates the air around her. The other day at the park (which she loves the park) Quinn was wandering around borrowing toys from everyone then she and Lucas began digging in the sand. Another child's parent came over and wanted to borrow a discarded toy that our kids had borrowed. The woman asked Lucas if she could use it and he just looked at her and wouldn't respond. The woman was in a rush so she turned to Quinn and asked her if it was okay if she borrowed it. Quinn gave her the biggest smile and said "Okay". The woman was laughing as she took the toy over to her son who was about Quinn's age. I don't know if Quinn actually said okay to the woman or if she was simply mimicking responses that she hears around her every day but that girl was completely at home, so she had no problem talking to a complete stranger with a big warm smile on her face.

The feeling that I have when I watch her is that this shy phase that she's going through won't last very long. She's going to collect friends with natural ease. She has a such a warm demeanor and an eager personality that reaches out for others. She wants to go out and experience the world and is disappointed when we don't take her everywhere. Just a week ago, she walked around the entire block, making everyone smile at her and attempting to pet every cat in the neighborhood. I finally had to lead her along home because I didn't want Xtimu to worry about us.

Quinn is a little dynamo and she keeps us on our toes. She doesn't make it feel cumbersome though, doesn't make us feel like we're never going to be able to keep up with her. She wants us to be there with her when she conquers the world. She wants to share it with everyone.

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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

54 Months

The day when Lucas heads off to school for the first time is looming before us and we keep hearing about horrible experiences regarding the state of our current public education establishments. This is leading us to question our plan to send him out into the world. Would it be better to keep him near us (home-school) so that we can guide him with our personal touch? Will we be disappointed with his experience within the public education system?

Both Xtimu and I had fairly mediocre experiences while in school. We both managed to learn that we were advanced enough to dominate the system early and without much effort at all. So, even though we excelled in school, it was an environment that didn't actually help motivate us sufficiently. Now, looking back on it, we both wish that there was someone or something that would have pushed us to use our massive potential rather than just allowing us to get good grades and cruise through the process.

And all of that was twenty, thirty years ago. It seems like the focus on public education has only been whitewashed further into streamlining these kids straight through like cattle. Everything that we read or hear only makes us afraid for our children. We don't want our kids to have a similar experience to the ones that we had and we definitely don't want them to get lost in the shuffle of stamping out cookie-cutter minds so that they can work efficiently in our capitalistic world.

Egad! Now you can see some of the drama that constantly goes on in our heads and since we share a brain on so many topics (definitely on this one), well, it's becoming quite a dilemma. Throw the fact that we are both profound perfectionists when it comes to doing things and that makes me fear the day that Lucas comes home slightly unhappy with his learning environment or has to deal with some ridiculous bureaucratic nightmare. That's when we'll pull him out so quick, like we're throwing him a life preserver or something. Yet, as I contemplate the long-ranging consequences of any action that we might take, I don't know which one will be the most detrimental to Lucas and what will be the most beneficial.

I guess the best thing about all of this is that we care deeply...possibly a bit too much some times, but at least we truly want to be involved in these important decisions. So far it seems to be working. Lucas is a fabulous kid and he just keeps surprising us with his abilities.

Someone I know was asking me about Lucas and school a few months back. This was when we were first checking out the magnet school program here in San Diego. I told this person about what we've found and Lucas' capabilities. Then this person proceeded to tell me about an experience with their step-son who was one year older than Lucas and who should've already been in school. The reason that he wasn't was because he couldn't do any of the basic developmental exercises that most five-year-olds need to do in order to start kindergarten. Everything on the list that this person told me about were things that Lucas could do already and he was barely four-years-old! Now I don't know if this child was developmental disabled or if he just watched way too much teevee but I was both sad and proud at the same time. Sad that a child is so stunted at such a young age and proud of the environment that we've provided for our son.

All I want is to continue along the path that has helped him advance so far ahead. Until now, we've been in complete control of how he travels along that path but every day brings us closer to the day that we relinquish some of that control. I'm not so sure that I'm ready for that.

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