Mom Thoughts: An Average Kid

I'm just going to come out and say it:  I have an average kid.  In my eyes he is extraordinary with loads of talent and personality, but in the grand scheme of things, my kid is pretty average.  And I am okay with that.

Report cards came out yesterday.  As he's still in elementary school, they don't get traditional letter grades, but numbers (which confused the heck out of me; especially after they changed the way grading was done this year).  So if you're kid is going above and beyond (I believe the term is "exceeding grade level expectations") he'll get a 4 and if he's in trouble and needs help he'll get a 1.  (Does anyone get a 1?)  In my perverse mind, 4 = A, 3 = B, 2 = C and...You get the idea.  In the beginning of the year in all subjects, my son came home with mostly 3s and some 2s.  It was what I expected.  Yesterday he came home with all 3s with the exception of spelling where he got a 2 (The kid is a LOUSY speller.  It's not that he doesn't try; he's just not a good speller.  Vowels tend get lost in his world).  I was pretty pleased and proud.  I know he had done his best.  Would I like to see 4s?  Of course!  Do I think it's going to happen?  Being realistic, I'm going to say no.   I may not be a psychic, but being a mom, I think I can predict that throughout his academic career, my son will be an average student; or maybe slightly above average.

That's not to say I won't push him.  That's not to say I won't see any As in the future. (I hope I will see them!)  But I expect that when letter grades come into play (and I think that starts next year), I will find his report card peppered with Bs and Cs.  (I am hoping for mostly Bs.)  That's just where my kid is academically.  I could push him harder; I could yell and scream and punish when he doesn't get a "good" grade, but I'm not going to.  I know he does his best.  (And I know when he doesn't; that's when he gets a good talking to...or yelling as the case may be.)

So my child is NOT an extraordinary student.  He is also NOT an athlete.  He has zero interest in sports.  Whenever an opportunity comes up, we have asked him if he'd like to play soccer, basketball, etc.  He says no.  At one point we did have him try baseball; bought the helmet and found a mitt, but we could see his lack of interest right away.  After a "season" we let it go.

When he was much younger I tried to get him to ride a tricycle.  He could do it, but he wouldn't.  Again, his interest in learning to ride a bike, despite the fact that most of his friends on the block have bikes and ride, is nil.  They will ride up and down the block; he will run along.  He like to run; not competitively (again, I tried that).  He likes to be a kid and run around outside.  Is there anything wrong with that?

My average kid is strong willed and strong minded.  He KNOWS what he likes and what he doesn't.  He was a force to be reckoned with when we "made" him take swimming lessons.  If he wanted to be a champion swimmer, that would have been fine with me, but I did need him to know what to do in case he fell into the water, especially since he spends a lot of time at the NJ shore.  We did group classes and we did private classes.  He fought tooth and nail.  (He doesn't like to put his head under water.)  Finally he did get it.  Or so I heard, I never saw it, but my mother did.  He can doggy paddle/tread water.  I've had him in a pool since then and he still won't float or swim around.  He likes to play in the water, but swimming does not interest him.  He's got his own agenda and he sticks with it.

This year he started to play an instrument: the trumpet.  We suggested it because instrumental music was being offered in school and most of his friends were taking up an instrument.  He's been a singer all his life (although he's not too keen on performing, but that's another story.)  I KNOW he likes music.  He's not keen on practicing.  I have to remind him every day.  And again, he's an "average" player. He's no musical protégé.  He sounds like a kid who has been playing for 6 months.  But he is a better player than he was when he started and when he does play I can see that he enjoys it.  (Although he doesn't like people watching him play.  He will shut the door to his room when he practices.)  Despite his occasional protests, he likes playing because if he didn’t, no matter how much or how long I “forced” him, it wouldn’t work out.  There would be more fights and more tears.  There would be no improvement.

My child has his own interests.  They don't necessarily mesh with what I'd like.  (Yes, I'm woman enough to admit that I'd love a scholar or an incredible athlete.)  He's an "average" kid.  I'm okay with that.  Because I'd rather have an "average" happy (for the most part) kid, than an above average one who is miserable.  Childhood doesn't last that long; I can already see parts of it fading away.  I want my son to learn and grow.  I want him to do his best.  I want him to enjoy childhood.  I want him to have fun doing what he likes.  That makes him pretty average.  And this mom thinks that's okay.


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