Saturday, 9 February 2013

The tortoise and the hare

Parenting can be a funny thing sometimes. So much can be attributed to upbringing and genes but it's easy to forget that children are out there developing their own personalities.

Take this week, and that termly ordeal of Parents Evening at school. I'm not going to bore you with a report of their achievements but suffice to say, they're doing well, work hard and the teachers love them. What was revealing was where each teacher identifies areas for improvement. And therein lay the difference.

Monkey can be a bit slapdash. He throws himself with abandon into tasks - sometimes a little too much abandon. He's apt to rush a bit and have a little bit TOO much confidence. His teacher noted he needs to take a bit more time to think, and plan. Unsurprisingly, his weakness is his writing but he's strong on maths - writing takes time and effort, whereas maths can be done in shorter bursts.

And Missy Woo, she has the opposite problem. We know her writing and reading is good, but she's apt to be slow at times. So slow in fact, that the teacher says she produces much less than her peers. Some of this is a lack of confidence. However, she's a bit of a day dreamer, something that we notice regularly at home - just how long can one child take to change into ballet costume?! I think also she doesn't like to be put under pressure - she looks at a blank page and her brain freezes yet can be full of ideas. So her aim is going to be to work faster and smarter and feel more confident.

Husband summarised it thus - "Basically, if we could combine the two of them, we'd have the perfect pupil". And he's right. Two siblings, just over a year apart in age. Similar abilities. Two totally different approaches at opposite ends of the scale. It's that old cliché - the tortoise and the hare. But that's OK because having two hares would be exhausting, and two tortoises frustrating. They balance each other out - he livens her up, she tempers his explosive nature.

And one thing is for sure - watching them grow and develop their own personalities is utterly fascinating (and delightful), even if parenting totally opposite personalities can be very challenging.
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