Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Random Thoughts on My Girl

Laney got straight A's on her report card today. I'd love to be the kind of person who doesn't get excited about things like that, but I confess I'm a total Lisa Simpson when it comes to that kind of thing. I was talking with a friend a while back about how we'd both love to have the money to be professional students and a big part of that is grading. I wish I could be graded now. I'd love to get a Mommy report card and a writer report card and a software support report card where some knowledgeable and impartial third party grades me based on a set of previously determined standards. But life isn't like that and so, I guess I'll have to live vicariously through Laney's grades.

I'm an accidental Montessori parent but have over the last four years become quite the evangelist for it. In Laney's homework packet for the week, part of her reading comprehension was to write "thick" and "thin" questions about a story. I'm going to quote directly from the packet:

"A thick question is one that addresses large, universal concepts and often begins with why? how come? I wonder? The answers to these questions are often long and involved. Thin questions are asked to clarify confusion or to understand words. They can usually be answered with yes or no.

Laney is in first grade. This is a quality, thoughtful education she's getting. And for free! Well, as free as things are in this world. As a DFH, I don't beef too much about paying taxes.

But beyond the learnin', Montessori just really seems great for kids who march to the beat of a different drummer. There's a great deal of focus on individuality and respect. And my girl is kind of a goofball. She's a hilarious, smart, lovely, kind goofball. But she is a goofball. She would describe herself as a Knucklehead McSantaClaus (this goofball moniker brought to you courtesy the good people at SpongeBob Squarepants - and I personally find it oddly evocative). She will not pose adorably when you point a camera at her. When she's got your attention she's going to use it to waggle her tongue and cross her eyes and break out into some contortive dance.

The Knucklehead McSantaClaus's are the ones, I am convinced, who end up setting the world afire. But in a primary school world, kids can be jerks to each other. Laney's been called weird and a baby and ugly. But, she's in an environment where that kind of stuff is dealt with. Where there's the bandwidth and will from the staff to deal with it. And so, she's a happy girl when I pick her up. A grinning goofball ready to regale me with stories from her day and to ask me a "thick" question or tell me that 158 rounds to 160. Brainiac.

She calls me Mrs. Bighead. Which tickles me, because when I was in first grade the kids called me "bighead" and it was not a compliment. It's not a compliment from Laney, but it is a direct statement about the size of my head vis a vis hers. And, as such, that's cool.

Oh, you guys, she's such a great kid. My little Goofy Goober.