I Know I Can't Be Objective

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Categories Attitude, Bureaucracy, Co-parenting, Development, Difference, Divorce, Education, Mommy Issues, Parenting Twins, School, School-Age, Unique needsTags , , , , , 3 Comments

My 6-year-old daughters are being evaluated for the Talented and Gifted program at their elementary school. If they qualify, they’ll get to participate in more in-depth study of certain subjects than their peers. The dual language program at their school, in which they participate, already incorporates components of the Talented and Gifted curriculum, and their teachers do a great job of giving them assignments that keep them challenged and engaged. Still, I really do think that they’d benefit from the additional small group environment of TAG.

Every parent knows that their child is special. I think there are very few parents out there who’d describe their children as average, even though the average child is, well, average. I’m not even going to pretend to be objective. In my eyes, J is the sweetest, most thoughtful child to ever grace the earth. M is the funniest, and it takes every iota of self control not to spend every second of every day kissing her most kissable nose. They are both brilliant. It’s a good thing that the people evaluating them for Talented and Gifted services aren’t their parents.

But, wait.

J and M both brought forms home from school yesterday. I’m supposed to fill out these “Scales for Identifying Gifted Students” comparing them each to their age peers. Under Language Arts, one criterion is, “Reads or speaks with expression to create meaning.” Under Creativity: “Is an excellent improviser.” Leadership: “Is sought out for peers for advice, companionship, and ideas,” and “Is viewed as fair or caring.”

I cannot be objective. I just hope that the teachers reviewing these forms know that no parent can be, and are looking more at the examples I provide than the rankings.

I also struggle not to compare my girls to one another. They’re incredibly evenly matched, but J is just a little more interested in current events than M. J was the one who cried every day of the Arab Spring uprising in Libya, while M merely listened to the news and commented. M is just a bit stronger in math. While J is content to work on multiplication and calculations of area, M has leapt ahead into volumes and higher exponents. I imagine that if I were the mother of just one of them, I wouldn’t pause to mark their abilities in those areas as “Exhibits the behavior much more in comparison to his or her age peers.” I’m not the mother of just one. I’m a mother of twins, and I can’t help but compare them to each other. I know I’m not alone in this; my friends who have several singletons frequently talk about how a younger child compares to how the older one was doing at the same age.

The girls’ dad gave me the pep talk I needed soon after I photographed each page of the forms and emailed them to him. “It is important,” he wrote to me, “not to compare our daughters with each other because is it not an accurate measuring stick. For this, I think we need to try to compare them to the other children we see and are familiar with.” He talked through with me some of the areas I was waffling on, and some of the areas that he was uncertain of, not having been around the girls very often this year. He was pleased to learn that J has developed an interest in World War II, and that M is started to want to read more about Native American life before European contact.

I was pleased to have his thoughts, his perspective, and his partnership in co-parenting our children.

Of course, my ex thinks our girls are even more brilliant than I think they are.

Do you aim for objectivity in parenting? How do you achieve it?

Sadia tries to stay half a step ahead of her genius 6-year-old identical twins in Austin, TX. She is assisted in her efforts not to spend all day kissing her daughters by escaping to her full time job in higher education technology in Austin, TX. Her ex-husband is currently stationed 900 miles away with the US Army in El Paso, TX.

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The Twin Card

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Categories Family, Mommy Issues, Other peopleTags , , 9 Comments

My husband and I love to whip this little puppy out as much as we can. And I know you all know what I’m talking about. It’s called the Twin Card and I hope you all use it as frequently as I do.

I used to be the type of person that wouldn’t dare ask for help, let alone accept someone’s offer. I never felt “entitled” to anything that I didn’t earn, meaning we all live in this world and some days we get some special lovin’ from others and some days, to put it nicely, we don’t. I just never felt that I deserved special treatment over anyone else. That is, until I had twins.

When our boys were first born, I was shocked by how much it just naturally came out. “We have 3 week old twins at home, do you think you could _______ (fill my prescription right away, open up another cash register, let me cut to the front of the line, etc.).” I guess at first I used it more or less out of sheer desperation. And it was amazing how well it worked! I was astonished how people automatically said, “Oh you poor thing. Of course!” and then how many of those also said, “My sister/friend/cousin has twins so I know what you are going through!” I’ll admit it, part of me resented (and still does) the whole “poor you” sentiment. But it’s out there no matter what, so I figured I might as well milk it for all it’s worth.

I’ve been diggin’ the special treatment ever since. After all, having twins I’ve actually started to feel like I do deserve it. We have used the twin card when making plane reservations and requesting seats across the aisle from one another, and better yet, getting a whole row to ourselves. We’ve used it to get out of a late payment or two (I know…shame, shame!). We use it to haggle lower prices and get discounts. And you just never know what can happen when you whip out your twin card. It’s like flashing your automatic entrance into a secret society, and other members of that society (for the most part), just know how to treat you right. It opens doors, gets you clients, introduces you to new and fabulous people. You just never know.

Of course, there’s no need to flash the card when you have your kids on hand – it’s a given (well, to most). And it’s remarkable how much extra help I’m offered when out and about with them. Doors are opened, cashiers and baggers ask to take my groceries to the car, even strangers offer to load bags into the trunk. I used to NEVER take people up on this kind of help in the beginning (because, damn it, I could do it all! And having twins isn’t really that hard!), but now I relish it. Because every little bit helps and gosh, it sure is nice watching someone else do the heavy lifting for a change.

So if you find yourself in a situation where you just need a little help, try pulling out your twin card and see what happens. It’s just one of the many “perks” we get being parents of multiples. You might be surprised what happens when you’re a card carrying member!

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