Thursday, December 17, 2009

Never Underestimate the Power of an Ice-Cream Cake

N's been having a terrible school year. Terrible. In pretty much every way you can think of to parse it. Social. Emotional. Academic. Especially academic.

His first of three report cards came home last week, and it was...yes...terrible. On a scale of 1 to 4 (1 = below grade level; 2 = approaching grade level; 3 = at grad level; 4 = above grade level), he got nothing but 1s and 2s. The teacher dutifully checked off the "at risk of retention" box where indicated. (Uh, thanks a lot, school. I wasn't actually planning to have that conversation with him quite yet. Was it really necessary to put it on a document you know the kids themselves look at, considering I've signed 763 pieces of paper indicating I've been informed about his 'risk'?) And the teacher's comments--while perfect in terms of what we need to prove need in an IEP--were not exactly what I would call encouraging.

It really has been a terrible year.

And so, on Tuesday, when we were walking toward school and N said to me, "What would happen if I got a 4 on my science test today, Mommy?" I laughed, not thinking, and said, "Oh, sweetie. I would throw you a party, is what I would do. With cake. A family party, with mint-chocolate-chip ice-cream cake."

I quickly realized that I was setting him up for a disappointment. For one thing, not only has he not gotten a single science grade above a 1 so far, but this was a test on a chapter about light in which (and before I go any further, let me say this: their current science curriculum is the worst science curriculum ever, regularly using terminology--often undefined--so far over even MY head that it's laughable) there was discussion of transverse versus compact waves. This what THIRD GRADERS are being asked to learn and digest.

So I changed tactics and told him that I'd be thrilled with whatever grade he brought home, so long as he tried his best. Because really, what do numbers mean, anyway? Some people just don't do well on tests, even if they know the material, you know what I mean? And he had studied so hard for this with Daddy; even if he didn't get a great grade, we knew he knew the material. So no need to worry about it, kiddo.

"Yeah, but if I get a 4, you'll throw me a party, right?"

Sigh. I'm an idiot.

"Right."

And so, of course, he called me at work this afternoon, the results of the quiz in hand.

"Mama! Guess what?"

Not just a 4, mind you. One hundred freakin' percent.

This is going to be the sweetest ice-cream cake EVER.

14 comments:

sam said...

Yay, N! Sweet indeed!

mesh said...

Way to go, N!!

Niksmom said...

Now *I'm* the one with tears! And goosebumps. Go, N, go!

Anonymous said...

Awesome! He can do it (and he knows it)!

Green said...

I have never been so happy or rooted so hard for a kid I've never known before.

YAY N!!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow! Congrats to Noah!

S.

Ambre said...

I'd have liked to see the look on the teacher's face when she graded it.

TC said...

Green, you make me smile.

Ambre...Well, you could certainly tell what she thought by the comment she put on the paper congratulating him on doing such a great job. Oh, wait. There was no comment. At all. 4/100%. No, "Nice work, N." No, "Way to go, N." No nothing.

I don't think I actually need to SAY the b-word here, do I?

kristenspina said...

Wow! He was walking on air, I bet. Hooray for N!!! Boo hiss for the teacher that can't take a moment to recognize the effort that went into that 4.

Damn school. But amazing boy!!! Three cheers!!

AB said...

Way to go great nephew. I am so proud of you.

Go punch that teacher in the nose...yahoo!

yes, I believe in violence... I was smacked with a ruler when we were doing art work because I painted the legs and arms brown instead of natural... I was a head of my time as that is the way I was brought up. This was in the 1940's. My father went up to school to tell the art teacher a thing or two. We use to do murals all the time.

Leila said...

This is the grin and tear up at the same time kind of post.

Yay for ice-cream cake! And Zillion-Yay for N!

PnP said...

GO NOAH! Woohoo!

Guinnah said...

that gave me goosebumps AND put tears in my eyes. Hooray for N!

Roni said...

Hooray for N!! What a super accomplishment -- right when he needed it most! Hope the cake was super yummy.