When people look at Cora it’s no wonder they think she’s just like her mother. They look like twins. Long blonde hair? Check. Blue eyes? Check. Short, button nose? Check. From head to toe Cora is a carbon copy of Cheryl. Or so it may seem.
See, Cora may be a carbon copy of her mother, in the looks department, but when it comes to personality, she’s 100% me.
This September, Cora started kindergarten. After, some minor deliberation, we chose a STEM school program for Cora. When you look at where the world is headed, it’s hard to argue with a program that emphasizes science, technology, engineering and math. The school we chose, Poplar Bridge is supposed to have a challenging curriculum and teachers who’ve seen it all and are thus capable of “managing” all types of personalities.
When I was in kindergarten, my parent sent me to a “special” school that was designed to unlock the potential in “gifted” minds. Seriously. Much like Cora’s school environment, my kindergarten pushed science and technology, while providing battle tested teachers.
Well, we had Cora’s first check-in last week. It’s not a formal parent-teacher conference, but it is an opportunity to understand how your child is performing, what they excel at and where there’s improvement. The feedback we received seemed like it was copied word for word from my kindergarten and primary school report cards:
1. Cora is exceptionally bright and articulate. It’s clear that the investment in time (we read to her all the time), experiences (the zoo, museums, etc.) and technology (she had an iPad at 3) have paid off.
2. Her handle on words and math are above the class average. Much in the same way, I was quizzed as a child, we quiz Cora. Sometimes she doesn’t even realize she’s being quizzed.
3. She likes to be the center of attention. I’d say, she’s a natural leader.
4. She can be bossy at times to the other students and a bit condescending. The condescension comes from the fact, she doesn’t understand why the other kids don’t understand the things she does. Personally, I think she needs better competition.
5. She has a problem sitting still and is always on the go. She’ll need that when she’s a future CEO.
6. She has a tendency to finish her assignments before anyone else and is dissatisfied in finding out there is no next assignment or reward for being first to finish. This one made me smile a Kool-Aid sized grin. She wants to be first, clear her list and wants the next challenge.
I didn’t attend the session with the teacher, Cheryl did. As Cheryl was sharing the feedback with me, I kept smirking, smiling and laughing. The apple, definitely, does not fall far from the tree. You might say, just as I’ve been decried, Cora is young, confident and restless. There’s a certain warmth that fills your heart when you realize your kids are just like you…even when they don’t look like you.
After receiving the stink eye from Cheryl, I stopped smiling, smirking and laughing. I said I would talk with Cora and help reinforce the feedback…especially the areas for improvement. Later on, with a serious face and a giant smile on the inside, I explained to my daughter, that:
1. She needs to respect and listen to the teacher.
2. She must understand that all kids are different and they all move at a different pace; she shouldn’t rub it in that she finished 1st.
3. While speed matters, so does quality and it’s better to be 2nd and have no mistakes than 1st with an imperfect score.
She nodded her head. She said she understood. She said she would listen and be better. I kissed her on her forehead, hugged her and thought, she’s only 5. What will the school say when she’s 10 or 13 or 17.
In the movies Road To Perdition, Paul Newman states to Tom Hanks, “natural law – sons are put on this earth to trouble their fathers.” Apparently, Cora didn’t get that memo. It’s not just the sons, it’s the daughters too. I’ll take it. There’s nothing I’d change about her, even when you realize she’s young, confident and restless.