Thursday, March 29, 2007

A Post About M

M is super-awesome great these days (I probably shouldn't even write this post--as soon as I hit Publish, she'll turn into a monster...oh well.) Here are some examples:

1. One or two days a week, she walks E home from school. Today I got done a little early, so I drove over to intercept them on their walk. They were walking along so happily: M was carrying E's backpack and holding her hand and smiling down at her with the sweetest of big sister gazes. I almost wanted to let them keep walking, but it was also nice to see how excited they got when they realized the person honking at them was me.

2. Last year M had one page of homework every night, and almost every night it was a teary battle to get that homework done (last year we also got home pretty late, so homework, dinner, play, and bedtime got cramped into a pretty small space of time, and it often got ugly). This year, she has a couple of different homework assignments every night, plus a weekly spelling assignment that consists of several parts. I was dreading homework, but she has totally turned it around. It's clearly a case of raised expectations = raised performance, because she does all her homework on her own, she never fusses, she plans in advance. It's great: homework is almost never an issue.

For the past two weeks she has been working on her first significant research project: an explorer report for which she needed to find three sources, answer a whole bunch of questions, draw a portrait and a map, write an essay, and there's probably more. The teacher scaffolded the assignment for them, with intermediary due dates for the bibliography, a draft of the map, etc., but M has been totally on top of it, working a bit every day, handing things in early, and doing more than the assignment called for. She insisted that we go to the library for books, she has added flags to her report, she has revised the draft of the essay. It's due tomorrow, and all she has to do is write the final copy of the essay in cursive. She's done a great job, and if you need to know anything about Jacques Cartier, you know where to go.

3. There is some serious mean girl action happening in M's class. A girl who she knows very well has anointed herself Queen Bee, and a lot of the other girls are falling for it. Queen Bee is being very manipulative, trying to turn girls against each other, and also trying to pull the others into teenage behavior that they just aren't ready for (nothing serious, no drugs or anything, just some serious boy obsession that is of a different tenor than the boy obsession we've been living with for the last 18 months). M is having none of it. She refuses to get sucked into any of this behavior, she talks back to Queen Bee, she is not interested in sitting at the cool table at lunch, and she is just going along with her life and being herself (luckily, she has one friend who is always with her, and a bunch of the others often hang with her, complaining about Queen Bee, even though at other times they are Queen Bee acolytes).

I am totally proud of her, and just a little bit pleased that she claims the reason she can handle all this is because she can talk to me about it and I explain why people act the way they do and how she ought to behave (and I do: I point out how the drive for domination is based on insecurity--OK, I don't use those exact words, though I do talk about being insecure--and I tell her that she is absolutely not allowed to behave as Queen Bee is behaving [for example, bailing on a birthday party 20 minutes before it begins, and then sending emails during the birthday party about how she is going to hang at the park with the boys, how other girls are mad at the girls at the party, etc.--I told M that I would never let her bail on a birthday party, and if she sent emails like that, she would lose computer privileges for a very long time (luckily this post is not about the behavior of other parents...)]). The thing is, it's nice that she thinks I'm the cause of her behavior, but really, she is so much more together than I am, because even as I am telling her to do the right thing, I am terrified about Queen Bee hurting her, and I have to squelch my urge to conciliate Queen Bee, an urge M doesn't have at all.

OK, end of bragginess. Tune in next week when I complain about how horrible M is.

1 comment:

landismom said...

congrats! It sounds like she is growing up to be a responsible and mature girl.