Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Baby Einstein

Yesterday when I got in from a run, Christopher told me he'd videotaped Julia reading out loud an entire Richard Scarry story. "Huh, wow, great!" I'd replied distractedly, thinking she'd probably said a few pages worth of lines for the camera, or paraphrased the main plot line of one of her books. Little did I know. This morning while I was feeding Genevieve her rice cereal, Julia stood at the couch with her "What Do People Do All Day?" book open on the cushions. Then I heard her reciting every single word of the multi-page episode about Abby the bunny going to the hospital to get her tonsils out. I just about dropped the spoon. This story is no short-phrase toddler board book. It has a LOT of words, and discusses ambulances, the operating room, and Abby's mother giving birth to Abby's baby brother. (On the same day as Abby's operation! Yikes!) Julia said every single word verbatim, even the most complicated sentences.

Understand here, I'm not bragging about my child. My point is, I know she's very smart, have known it for a long time, have had toddler teachers take me aside to tell me how amazed they are at some of the things she does and says in baby class. But I also have many unpleasant memories of being a too-smart kid in elementary school, where I felt like I didn't fit in and hated being singled out by teachers and other kids. Julia's truly amazing; she astounds me just about every day with her perceptiveness, empathy, verbal skills, and creativity. But I can't help but wonder: is this kid going to struggle to find her place in her childhood, because she's bright and overly verbal and easily bored? And what in the world is it going to be like, getting this kid an education in a setting that doesn't bore or stifle her? Somehow I think the local "gifted and talented" program might not quite cut it.

I know, I know: she's only two. Save the worries about third grade for later, right? OK.


Grandpa Jim said...

Here's your chance to charter a school in Northfield for those kids like our little reader!

squab said...

I totally get those worries, but you know, the thing is, there's really no way to avoid it. She IS going to be smarter than most of her classmates, and she WILL get bored sometimes because of it. But she'll also learn to amuse/distract/entertain herself just like you did and like Christopher did and like all us "gifted" kids did, and then she'll finally make it to grad school and be all like, OK! so THIS is where the brains come in handy! And then she'll get a PhD in 19th century English Lit, have no marketable job skills and live in your basement for the bulk of her 20s and 30s. So you have that to look forward to.


Shan said...

Ha. You're so right, Squab. Believe me, if my advice is ever requested, and even if it's not, I'll be all like, "Honey, do NOT go to grad school, whatever you do. I know you will want to. But it is the BLACK HOLE of debt and delayed home ownership. Just say no."

Donna said...

I LOVE Squab's comment! Like my Dad always says - smart kids are expensive (and it's not always school that's expensive!)!!