Sunday, September 25, 2011
A Kid at Heart
Sara is 7 years old going on 17, 37, or 67, depending on her mood and the circumstances. Sometimes it is hard to remember that she is 7. When she was 3, her preschool was relocating and we needed to find another one. The director recommended that we have her tested. I stared at her blankly and wondered what were we testing her for and why? She thought Sara might be "gifted".
See attached link here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellectual_giftedness
Basically, gifted is defined as having higher than average intelligence. Of course, as parents, we thought she was amazing, spectacular, fabulous, wonderful and miraculous. Turns out, the little rugrat really does qualify as a "genius". We had her tested and her IQ is off the charts. But, the doctor was quick to explain to us that in many ways, she will always be her age - physically and emotionally, specifically. So, life with her is a balancing act. She started kindergarten at a school for gifted education at age 4. She thrived and loved her classmates and everything she was learning. She was challenged and engaged. The other kids didn't mind that she was younger.
Fast forward to age 7 and living in Indiana. We placed her in the public school and everyone is constantly asking her why she is in third grade. She is at the top of her class but also painfully aware that she is, by far, the youngest in her class. It was a choice we made. If we kept her in the 'age appropriate' class, she would steam roll over everyone, including the poor, underpaid, overworked teacher. So, we kept her on course and she is thriving academically in third grade. She is reading on a fifth grade level but we monitor her content. She still loves Tinkerbell, the tooth fairy and Santa.
Today, we saw "Dolphin Tale". She read all about the dolphin and was thrilled to see the movie. All day, she regaled me with dolphin facts and information. She told me the differences between a dolphin and a porpoise. She explain how 'Winter' got injured, how she was rescued and recovered. Even before seeing the movie, I learned that a dolphin's spine is much like a human's and controls everything, including breathing. Winter lost her tail and learned to swim by swishing her body side to side which damaged her spine, making a prosthetic tail necessary. Yes, this font of information came from my 7 year old who can barely tie her own shoes and just learned to ride a 2-wheeler.
In the movie, a soldier got injured. Sara asked me how. I explained that he was injured serving in the military during a war. She looked at me with huge eyes and asked why anyone would want to fight in a war. "War is bad, Mom". See? She can absorb information like a sponge. She has the memory of an elephant. She has the reasoning abilities of a Rhodes scholar. Yet, she is still a 7 year old she cannot fathom someone going to war because war is bad. She has the mind of a grown up and the heart of a kid. It makes life with Sara very interesting.