Something shiny to focus on.

Last Wednesday was report card pick-up night. I’ve come to dread report card nights. I love, love, love the ability to chat with teachers and get a really in-depth idea of how my children are doing. I like that they can put a face with the neurotic notes I send to school, hoping those notes seem slightly less neurotic in future…but I dread report card nights all the same.

It’s Bee. Gracie might have a small clause of censure buried in all the very predictable words of praise, but she’s a straight-A student (usually), and even her stumbles are, as I’ve said, predictable and easily correctable. Bee, on the other hand, continues to be my special snowflake. Don’t get me wrong – Bee is absolutely dazzling and I have fallen in love all over again with the person my girl has become at eight-years-old. But as a student…well, Bee has some issues. And for a mama who watches her struggle each night over homework and sees her try so hard to understand concepts and try to do better, it’s utterly heartbreaking when she doesn’t get the grades she so desperately wants. I’m sure I looked a bit like Bee-girl herself, dragging my feet and looking glum as I forced myself into the school.

Thankfully, news was a bit better than I had hoped. Bee isn’t failing any classes (HUZZAH! my heart yelled!, and um, maybe my mouth yelled, too). She has only one C, in reading (because spelling doesn’t count), and some “Needs improvement”s in areas she’s not allowed to have them, but mostly Bee’s report card was filled with lovely, glorious Bs. That’s rather stellar for Bee-girl. I had a lovely, honest discussion with Bee’s teachers about her personality-type and why I shouldn’t panic about all of the redo’s and failing grades on tests and struggles. Bee isn’t quite doomed yet to a life of minimum wage and limited opportunities. But she does need to focus more and practice always. These are things I know. But I did hear from both teachers that Bee’s reading has improved and all of the hours we’re logging practicing those skills are paying off.

Here’s where the “something shiny” comes in. Another common theme with adorable Miss Bee is that her confidence is a bit lagging. If Bee doesn’t get something, if she reaches the point where she feels defeated, she shuts down. Nothing gets in, nothing gets better. She cries and pouts and it’s all I can do not to shout at her to quit acting like a two-year-old. Ahem. But it’s because she has no faith that she can get around what she just doesn’t get. She has no confidence in her learning abilities. So she needs that confidence. She needs to participate in something she’s really good at, something where she’s not following along in her sister’s shadow. And that thing, my friends, is gymnastics.

Bee’s a kinesthetic learner. Her grace and connection with her body is absolute; a trait neither her sister nor I share. She excelled at dance the summer she took classes. She’s picked up all sorts of gymnastic moves from J. and N. across the street. She’s begged for lessons. But money is tight and our schedule is very nearly tighter. But sometimes you need to make sacrifices for important matters. Important matters like education. And confidence.

I told Bee that if she can get all As and Bs on her report card, her dad and I would find the money and the time in our family schedules to take her to gymnastics. You guys, you have never seen a face light up quite like Bee-girl’s! This is the right incentive. I might have to freelance every spare moment I have, but I will find a way if Bee does. And the bait seems to have worked, too – Bee’s teacher walked out to Stepmom’s car on Friday during pick-up to tell her that Bee was the only student to score 100 on the spelling test (WHAAA?) and the poetry test. The poetry I’m less surprised about – it’s fragmented, marches it its own beat, and is dancy and sparkly, just like Bee-girl. Of course she gets that. I was so proud!

So here we go. We’re all in. Either this is going to be the moment when Bee drills down – so far, so good – or when her spirit is crushed forever. I don’t know about you, but I’m betting on Bee. And finally, she is too.

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One Response to “Something shiny to focus on.”

  1. Kathy Says:

    Such familiar struggles. Boy child is the exact same way. I have yet to find the magic incentive but I keep trying and he does too. So far, so good this year.

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