Two nights ago as I was putting Raviv to sleep, he was calmly reciting subtraction sentences. When his answers to his sentences were wrong, I would correct him.
A second or two of silence, then he quietly confided something to me: ‘Nay, all my classmates are good in math, but I’m not.”
And then he buried his face in the pillows to hide his tears and muffle his sobs.
Kinurot ang puso ko.
Raviv then told me the names of his classmates who excelled in math. He also told me that in his class (there are only 6 of them), he is the worst in math. Before he slept, he declared, “I hate math!” Errr, sounds familiar, actually.
That night, Raviv wet the bed. Twice. I read that stress and anxiety can cause that (well, that or because Raviv super loved the delicious melon juice that I made!)
The following day in the van on the way to Gymboree, he asked me to practice him by reciting some basic mathematical sentences in addition and in subtraction. When I asked him whether he wanted me to talk to his teacher about his problem with math, he vehemently instructed me not to.
But of course, I did (sorry ‘Nak!) Right after drop off, I asked his teacher to go outside the Pre-K classroom to talk to her privately.
I told Teacher Clarice Raviv’s concerns and fears. His Teacher Clarice was surprised and smiled. Then laughed. She said that Raviv was grossly exaggerating his “ineptitude” in math. As far as she was concerned, Raviv was just doing fine. She said that it could be because this time, Raviv wasn’t one of the best. Not the best but definitely no the worst. Teacher Clarice said that often, it is Raviv who would finish worksheets the fastest, read sentences breezily, and answer science questions correctly. This time though, his other classmates finish their addition and subtraction worksheets ahead of him. Plus, his other classmates are also enrolled in Kumon. So there.
True enough, when I received Raviv’s Weekly Parent Bulletin [that Teacher Clarice made the day before (prior to our conversation)], there seemed nothing to be worried about naman talaga.
Honestly, I don’t know how to feel.
If you’ve been reading my blog when Raviv was still a baby, you’d know that it was my ultimate dream for Raviv to be super duper smart (emphasis on “super duper”), as in UP Oblation Scholar levelz. Consuelo na ang INTARMED. But after some time, I’ve mellowed down. Just like the parents whose thinkings I’ve always mentally criticized, my mantra became “I just want my son to be happy”, which was a far cry from my old battlecry that was “Push, push, push, push!” Hell, I had even planned to enroll Raviv in all academic extracurricular classes available! I even googled, “How to make your baby a genius”, and was disappointed when all articles basically said there was nothing I could do to make him a genius. Help maximize his intelligence, yes, but none on making him a genius.
Yet now that I’ve discovered that…
- Raviv has a sense of competitiveness.
- Raviv wants to excel at school.
- Raviv underscores his achievements but exaggerates his weaknesses.
…I must admit there’s a part of me that secretly did cartwheels because even if I have abandoned my dreams of having an Oblation scholar for a son, I may still have an academic achiever in the making. And more importantly, it will be his own volition to excel.
However, a part of me is also worried that he will easily get depressed when he’s not the best (Oh shucks, I even remember him telling me again and again that his favorite number is 1 because he always wants to be the first!) And that his competitive nature would cast him as a social pariah. Or an annoying Hermione Granger-esque know-it-all. Or a laughingstock geek who won’t be able to get a lovelife until after he becomes rich courtesy of a software he invents. Then his wife gets a lover because he has no time and social graces. Waaaaaah!
Hay naku, ewan. The thing about motherhood really is: No one comes to it prepared 100%. Just when you thought you had everything figured out—FINALLY!!!—something will happen and you’re back to square 1.