So the big news around these parts is that eleven year-old Iris uber Alles was accepted to a school for gifted children down the Peninsula. When her acceptance packet came, it was filled with glitter, and Iris and I threw the glitter in the air as she shrieked and hopped about.
Iris has always had a staunch, unquestioning belief in her own personal superiority, and now she has had outside confirmation. I myself also had a staunch and persistent belief in my own brilliance as a child, but I was alone in that possibly mistaken belief. (One of my parents notably sneered at me, "You think you are so smart, but you're ordinary." Around that time I won a National Merit Scholarship, which would seem to support the idea that I wasn't exactly ordinary, but no one seemed convinced). I don't know what it would have been like as a kid to have people actually say to me, "You really do have a lot of potential, and we want to help you work to your best ability." Looking at Iris, you can see it looks pretty heady. She's drunk on her acceptance letter, and she's pouring over the school's website, agonizing over whether to switch from Mandarin to Japanese and pondering which of the many exciting activities she'll pursue.
The Sober Husband is less pleased. He doesn't see any need to send the child to a special school. He seems to think she should just do projects outside school hours, preferably projects in his areas of expertise: physics, math, and chess. The child herself prefers to knit in front of reality TV on her off hours, pointing out with great feeling that it is unfair to expect her to do extra math when she already puts in plenty of time at math classes during the week.
The Sober Husband keeps asking, "Are you suuuuure about this? You're going to have to take a bus, you know. A loooong bus ride!" Iris pointed out that lots of girls in South Africa used to spend over two hours on a bus to get to school before Oprah created a boarding school, and they were happy to do it because they want a good education. Like Oprah's students, Iris feels that a bus ride is a small price to pay for more challenging classes. I noted that as a child living in a rural area, I had very long bus rides to school, and at the end of my bus route was a crappy school. The Sober Husband rolled his eyes at me. "And it snowed, too! We were cold and wet on the bus!" I informed him. He rolled his eyes more.
But the Sober Husband is, if nothing else, resourceful, and he found a way to use this acceptance to further his own hobbyhorse, making the children do difficult math in their free time. "When Iris couldn't figure something out," he told me happily, "I said, 'I bet all those other children at the other school can do it.' And she wanted to use the iPhone calculator, but I said, 'I'm sure all those other kids can do it without an iPhone, and you'll need to be as good as them.' And then she did it! I'm going to use this all the time to pressure her."
That will only work until she gets to the school and realizes either she is STILL bored, and can be the overlord, OR that she is overprepared and the kids use any and all tools at their disposal.
My comment to Iris would be a quote from Star Wars:
"Great Kid, but don't get cocky!"
As few kids are gifted, willshe be riding a short bus?
Oprah's school? What a joke! Two hours on a bus to get raped at school. Charity misplaced, here in Africa. Wrong example!
Ouch, sorry, Johann. At age 11 we haven't exposed Iris to the darker side of her idol's philanthropy, although she does vaguely know some bad stuff went down at The Great Oprah's School. So she doesn't think twice about identifying with those girls and thinking of the school as a positive thing for them. I wish those students nothing but the best.
Oh oh oh...(wiggling in chair and waving hand in air) I SO much want to tell you my guess about where she will be going, but I know you don't want to name names on the blog and I don't find a "contact you" place anywhere obvious. (Probably right in front of me, I know, but...not found) Anyway, my favorite-ever principal of the wonderful school my kids went to down here in Cupertino left us to become principal up there a number of years back. He's not there now, but what a fabulous place that is for kids (if it's the one I'm pretty darn sure it must be given what you've told us about the way your kid's brain works). That's a PERFECT place for her. All that creativity will remain intact and be put to ever-so-good use. Go Iris!!!
You have to admit it is rather humorous that she's comparing herself, a sophisticated well-fed child living in the urban utopia of San Francisco, to these girls surrounded by poverty in Africa. Perhaps if you become more like Oprah while sending Lola to walk five miles to get water for the family then her fantasy will be complete.
Carroll, it's the N School. I hope they don't hate mommy bloggers! I ran Iris's contract and deposit down there today, and they were hugging me so warmly and welcoming me to the community. Hopefully that isn't going to wear off too fast.
They will love you!
They will love Iris!!
You and Iris and the Sober Husband will quickly realize what a gift you are giving her.
And harmony will befall the entire household before you know it :-)
Plus, you will accrue some *fabulous* stories with which to regale us about her exploits and adventures.
I'm really excited for you! :-D
Hnh -- I have a feeling some fluke of HTML (about which I know nothing) managed to poof the line I enclosed in brackety things on that last comment which said "Cue the violins"
(And of course it was *so* *essential* that I am now writing again to restore that little bit of flair, y'know?)
An eye for detail is a wonderful thing.
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