Friday, March 30, 2012

In Which I Learn My Daughter Does Not Test Well

"I like being told what to do."
-Laura Roecker, Middle Child, survivor of Lisa Roecker's incessant bossy pants machinations

My daughter Mia was born to be a middle child. She spent the vast majority of her first year on this earth alternating between screaming her head off and warding off a variety of illnesses that inevitably landed us in the emergency room at 3 AM. She was born with a smooshed nose which led doctors to theorize that she didn't move much in utero, a theory further proven when she failed to crawl until she was 13 months old. Her complete lack of mobility lead to physical therapy appointments that involved me sitting with Mia around a series of large plastic toys screaming at the top of her lungs while the therapist shouted at-home exercises for us to try at home. True to form, Mia stubbornly refused to participate in my half-assed attempts of home therapy. She started walking at 14 months and I'm pretty sure it was her way of giving the medical community the middle finger.

Since then Mia has continued to embrace her middle child syndrome. She accepts Jack's constant abuse with adoration. She follows around her younger cousin Lydia. Her favorite color changes every week based on what's popular with her friends at school. She trips over her own feet, she runs into glass doors and she screams whenever someone even looks at her the wrong way.

And yet, she remains the sweetest, most loyal little girl on the planet. All of her friends at school shout her name when she walks into the classroom and teachers who she hasn't seen in years rush up to say hello and tell her how much they miss having her in their classroom. As my husband is fond of saying, Mia is like a teacher's wet dream. She loves school, follows every rule and treats everyone with the kindness she wishes her older brother would show her.

So you can imagine our complete shock when we found out she failed her kindergarten entrance exam.

What's that you say? You didn't know they had entrance exams for kindergarten? Well, they do. And apparently they're like super hard. They ask things like colors, shapes, and even ask children to identify their body parts.

After we got the dismal results of this exam I happened to overhear this conversation between Mia and my husband:

Ken: So, how did you like your kindergarten visit?
Mia: Good.
Ken: Did you answer all their questions?
Mia: Yes, Daddy. The teacher said I did good.
Ken: Right, so what kind of stuff did they ask you?
Mia: I don't know.
Ken: Well, where's your elbow? Did they ask you that?
Mia: [Points to her knee]
Ken: Seriously, Mia? That's your knee, how do you not know this stuff?

Whenver I encounter Mia issues I've gotten into the habit of consulting with my very own Middle Child expert, one Laura Roecker.

Laura's response to this most recent debacle: "Oh poor, Mia! She just doesn't test well! Remember that time when I just randomly filled in all the bubbles on my California Achievement Test because my friend told me it didn't count toward my grade? Mom and Dad had me enrolled in remedial classes until high school after that."

Well, lucky for us this situation was easily resolved with Mia's preschool teacher calling the school. She feels strongly that Mia is ready for kindergarten.

In the meantime, I finally broke out the Operation game I bought the kids for Christmas. Mia will be able to identify her femur by the time I'm done with her.


Matthew MacNish said...

Hmm. I'm not sure about anon, but I bet your stat tracker will tell you who that was.

Anyway, I was a middle child, sandwiched between two girls, no less, and I grew up to be just fine. Well, that is after they diagnosed me with Oppositional Defiance Disorder at 15.

Which is is such BS, really. It just means you don't like stupid adults telling you what to do. Which is pretty smart, if you ask me.

I'm sure Mia will grow up to be very creative. Kind of like her mom.

S.A. Larsenッ said...

Ladies, I just dropped by to tell you how fabulous your new cover it!! I saw it yesterday and went all fan-girl over it. :D

Lori M. Lee said...

I totally sympathize. My daughter doesn't test well either. She's in fourth grade, but reads YA books without trouble, and she was so far ahead of her class that her teacher felt confident having her tested for the Gifted and Talented program.

Yeah, she failed it lol. And she tends to consistently not do well when she knows there's pressure--not sure why but there you go =P

Mia is in excellent hands!

Hardygirl said...

Oh my!!! This could be my youngest--every single thing you've said here.

She's now thriving in second grade (but still can't take a standardized test).

I will never forget when she was being tested for speech therapy (again--we did all of that same stuff that you did with the toys . . .Oh, and did y'all ever do hippotherapy?? Where they put toddlers on horses so they could learn to walk like humans? No?? Well, that's what we do in Mississippi) . . . wait, where was I?

Oh, she was being tested and her therapist spoke to me afterwards with "concern"--she had held up pictures of a ball and a lamp and a cookie--Julia couldn't identify any of these things, "She's just effing with you," I said. "Uh, no. She definitely can't identify the pictures on the cards," she said. I called my daughter into the room who laughed at us as she named everything on the cards and then some. Effing with us.

She still does it--especially on bubble tests. She'd rather make a pretty picture with the dots than answer the questions correctly.

Frustrating. Yes. But she's going to be the writer/artist. And she makes me laugh. Every. Single. Day.

Love her.


Marsha Sigman said...

I'm pretty sure my 3yr old is destined to be a nose specialist considering the amount of time he picks his.

I think Mia was messing with ya'll. Big shocker she inherited your sense of humor. Or this could be payback for everything you did to Laura.

Mary Aalgaard said...

That's great. I'm chuckling over here. When my oldest took the test, he was too smart for the test giver. When she said, "Brother's a boy. Sister's a..." Bobby said, "I don't have a sister!" None of my boys knew what a window was made out of. One of them said, "Curtain." The twins made up their own names for the colors. I'm surprised they didn't say that Windows was a computer program.

Jemi Fraser said...

Every kid has there own personality - sounds like Mia is quite content in her own skin. She's going to be a fabulous person!

Rachel said...

Mia is going to be just awesome.

I've never done well on tests. I am just not a strong test taker. I failed the math section of the SAT twice...but did super great on the writing/reading comprehsion section.

It took a team of doctors/psychologists etc. over more than a decade to recognize the learning disability I have, and I am a 90s child. I can't read facial expressions, put my foot-in-my-mouth more often than I'd like to admit, I have the hardest time learning a different language (learned Hebrew for 11 years thanks to Jewish day school but cannot speak a word it still) and can't do math without a calculator. I used to fail math tests all the time in elementary school, but won poetry awards and almost won a summer writing camp scholarship at John the fifth grade.

The college I now attend rejected me because of my learning disability. They felt they did not have a program for me. I wrote to them every day about how wonderful I was doing in school (I created an Honors English program at school, was student council president, ran an in-school book club, was yearbook editor, newspaper editor, etc), and finally...they let me in. I am absolutely thriving here.

Sometimes the brightest children can also be the slowest. There is no race to intelligence or gifted kids...

I apologize for the novel-length comment, but I feel like learning disabled kids are often grouped in the "oh they can't do this, etc" camp... like kids who suck at testing... :)

I am sure Mia will thrive in school whenever she goes and wherever she goes. She sounds like a bright, silly, wonderful girl who deserves the best education possible and I have a feeling with you as a mom...she'll get it. :)

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Stasia said...

I have four kids. One gets standardized test scores like he was born to fill in those stupid bubbles. He's a great kid but he has, well, a lot of Jean Paul Sartre moments ;) Another child tests average--soooo average--despite straight A's,the kindest personality on earth, and a work ethic to rival Atlas. I'm confident they'll both turn out fine. In fact, they both rock. Mia rocks. You rock. Relax and enjoy your terrific family. PS If Mia doesn't feel like playing that Operation game, I vote she doesn't have to!

Elana Johnson said...

This is so true! I've tested so many kids, and often they are just intimidated by the person or the fact that they don't know.

I'm sure Mia is beyond smart! But I totally want to see an Operation game with a femur in it... We have the Spongebob one, and well, it doesn't have those kinds of body parts. Ha!

Katie P said...

Crying out loud as usual! Loved the 30 days between crawling and walking... And Ken's conversation with her... and Laura's recollection of the California Achievement Test. Too funny!

Dara said...

You know, I actually remember having a kindergarten entrance exam even 20 something years ago. All I remember was sitting outside in some chairs waiting for them to call me and them asking me all sorts of questions, whether I could say my ABCs and read, if I could do a maze...

I don't remember the results but my mom says the teacher was impressed I could read and hoped I'd help the other kids in class learn too.

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