Sunday, October 1, 2017

Suspicion

This happened one year ago. A had just turned eleven.

He was fundraising for his school. We were walking on our street together. I was standing two houses away from him to give him some independence while he knocked on doors and took orders for chrysanthemums.

He was knocking on H's door. A police car was driving by. When the officers saw him, they swerved across the road and came to a sudden stop against the curb, facing the wrong way. Two officers watched him. Both their heads turned and they watched my 4'9" eleven-year-old son.

I called out, "It looks like they're not home, sweetie."

Both heads snapped toward me. The car swerved back to the right side of the road and sped away.

For a year, I have tried to come up with an alternative explanation. I keep telling myself, "Maybe they were concerned about a kid locked out of this house." But there was no, "Hey bud, need some help?" And after they saw me, no, "Looks like you got this, Mom." No words at all.

A sudden swerve. Watching. And another sudden swerve away.

They weren't concerned. My local police saw my 4'9" eleven-year-old brown-skinned son and were suspicious.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

End of school year

A has finished 5th grade (on to middle school!!!) and D has finished 3rd. They both had good years.

A's accomplishments were mostly about academics and independence. His teacher allowed him a lot of freedom to manage his own time and he excelled at his work while remaining challenged and interested. His math abilities are through the roof - he averaged 100% for all four quarters and scored at the 99.9th percentile on a nationally normed test of math achievement. This last score, along with his reading achievement and his teacher's recommendation allowed A to qualify for the gifted program. It's funny, because traditionally "gifted" means an out-of-the-box thinker but A is just really, really good at achieving in the box. If he's gifted, it's at sheer stubbornness and determination. The boy will not give up until he has plumbed the depths of the box, explored every corner of the box, owned the box. But out of the box? No, thank you. Still, he is becoming more independent. He walked home alone from school most days this year. He spent a weekend at the beach with his best friend's family. And his favorite memory of 5th grade - four days at an outdoor education camp in Maryland - nature studies, swamp crawls, and zip lines.

D also had academic success this year with solid A and B equivalents. His place to shine is memorizing all kinds of facts - presidential history, basketball stats, and geography. Name a year, he can tell you who was president. Name a basketball player, he can tell you how many points he scored his rookie year in the NBA. Show him a blob and he can identify it as the outline of Belarus (next year I'm definitely registering his school for the National Geographic Bee). The way D learns many of his facts is interesting - he reads the same materials multiple times and then sings information to himself while he shoots an imaginary basketball... ♪ MARtin Van ♪ BUren (swish) ♪ 1837 to (swish) 1841 ♪. People are constantly amazed by how much he knows. His other big accomplishment was social - for the first time he has been willing to inviting friends into his space at home. He made a really good friend in N. They've been inseparable at school and have been spending time together outside of school too. It's been exciting to see D step out from under his brother's shadow and form such a strong friendship on his own.