Every parent thinks their kids are geniuses. Let’s just get that out of the way.
That being said, I do think mine are very bright, in different ways. Snort has always been a designer, an engineer. If he sees something on tv or in life that he thinks is cool, he will engineer it. Like building a bike rack on top on his little tikes car when he was one. And you people should SEE what he’s done to the superhero house this morning!
He’s also very active, in imagination and body. What that looks like in a structured class, like say football, is that he love his coach and the other children. He likes the very active exercises. But he is also the class comedian. He will happily follow instructions to try something new, but when it becomes repetitive or is too easy, he quickly loses interest. He has a gag of pretending to fall over while shouting, ‘Woah!’ The other boys think this is hilarious and all copy him. His coach doesn’t think it’s so awesome….though Snort has told me, ‘Coach thinks I’m funny! I fall over and say WOAH. I am funny!’
So Snort has a reputation in football of being, shall we say, a free spirit. If his friend’s baby brother is crying on the sidelines, he will refuse to play and instead will hold hands with the baby, sing to him, and try to cheer him up. He is a happy go lucky, imaginative, funny little boy.
He is the child who quickly processes what his coach says, and decides whether it is worth paying attention to. He’s the one most likely to be gleefully finding ways to circumvent the system and do the exercises in a more efficient way, or throwing himself into a pile of footballs while, of course, dramatically yelling,’Woah!’
So imagine my surprise when yesterday the coach set up a particularly complicated exercise. He had cones numbered 0-9, and he sort of threw them around all higgilty pigglty. Basically, if you were looking down and had an aerial view, he was making a dot to dot and the completed picture was chaos. The parents were all laughing because we knew this shit was not going to go down.
In theory it was simple enough. Slowly dribble the ball (at this point I was already imagining another Snort debacle, as his only speed is RUNNING) to the consecutive cones, gently having the ball tap each cone before moving on to the next. You and I might have trouble with the football control, but could at least manage eventually.
Imagine six three year olds bumbling around. Just try. Like little feral kittens.
So the coach is explaining, Snort is just staring into the air and occasionally grinning at his friends, the coach admonishes them to pay attention. I am already laughing and all the adults are trading snide comments about what a cute disaster this is about to be.
That’s when the kids stand up. I don’t really pay very close attention until I notice that my kid has separated from the pack. Then I start watching him. He carefully gets to cone four, then glances around to find the next. He moves smoothly and surely and gets to cone nine a full five minutes before the first of the other kids. His coach is surprised and exclaims, ‘Snort! Wow!’ All the other parents, I notice, have dropped into silence. My own mouth may be hanging wide open.
The next exercise, the cones are set up so you have to zigzag between them. A much easier thing, and yet when they are all sat at zero and the coach asks which cone they need to go to next, only Snort (who again looked like he wasn’t paying attention) pointed at the number one and said, ‘There.’
And this little escapade reminds me, yet again, why Snort will excel outside of the modern school system. His brain is bright, thinks around the edges of problems, builds better way to do things even as the expected behaviour is to maintain the status quo. He has strong, sensitive morals and follows his own sense of what is right….and while happy enough to engage with his coach, he does so only when it makes sense (though he isn’t a ‘naughty’ boy!). He will do a task to see if he can, and once he knows he can he doesn’t want to repeat it again and again just to get approval from his coach. He is gleefully and joyfully himself, and draws the other children to him. He engages in tasks that are more complicated because he is often bored by simpler things, so he makes his own fun, his own challenges.
He’s altogether a wonderful person, and I feel lucky to know and learn from his exuberant, creative, and loving approach to life.