Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Whole "Gifted" Thing

So, I have been hanging out at Facebook quite a bit- to the detriment of my blog I'm afraid. It's so easy to splash up a sentence and skip over the whole paragraph thing...

Anyway, something that keeps hitting me in the face is that I'm just not all that special. Of course, I already knew that but what is also being driven home to me is that those other kids, the other ones that were in the special class with me... they're not all that special either. At least, not the ones on facebook. My mother always said that IQ was only part of the equation. The important thing was what you did with all that brain power. In fact, she claims that my brother has a higher IQ than I do. While I got a graduate degree and a job more white than blue collar, he did manage to finally get his degree from a less prestigious institution than I and then work a series of sales and blue collar jobs. However, of note is that he does love his current job and has acquired a number of skills associated with it and has climbed his way up to a supervisory sort of position. In fact, I would like to pause at this point to say...

Blue Collar Is Just Fine! No Degree Is Just Fine! I Am Not Better Than My Brother!

Well, I am better than my brother but for other reasons...

In contrasts, my husband has a very slightly lower IQ than I do (very slight, in fact, well within the standard variation and meaningless but I like to point it out anyway) but he has a Doctorate and is a Professor (with Doctoral candidates). I am more nimble linguistically but he has it all over me in math.

As for my classmates, they may skew slightly higher in the areas traditionally associated with higher intelligence- things like being doctors. But, on the whole, they seem to settle out roughly on par with the rest of my high school class. This is, of course, a skewed sample set, especially since the gifted class only went through 5
th grade, and, not everyone is on Facebook. We have a healthy smattering of teachers and engineers across the board as well as a few outliers like a wedding planner.

It makes me wonder what exactly is going on... If we had a school system that targeted highest achievement rather than adequate, would more of these "gifted" minds be doing more? Why is it that some children probably never were spotted as "gifted" but go on to such high achievement? Should we really bother to test at all but instead just look at the kids who stand out to the teacher for whatever reason? This is
certainly done in special ed. I had several students that were in my purview simply because of behavioral anomalies- intelligence-wise, they were completely typical. There was no terribly scientific way of quantifying that something was wrong but, when you begin to actually froth at the mouth and talk with your mother through the spine of your math book (and get answers) the general feeling is that, perhaps you could use a little "extra attention."

At the same time, I look at my children and see that they are likely quite bright. I say this as a person with a Master's in this sort of thing, not as a mother. As a mother, I would like them to be happy and pee pee in the potty- I don't care so much about their phonemic
awareness, startling linguistic developments and whatnot. But, as one who had memorize many a chart with expected times of milestones, I can say my kids are ahead. I suspect, that when raising them, it will be good to have this sense of perspective. It is helpful to know that no matter how bright, or not bright, they may turn out to be, that the numbers really won't ever mean anything much.

Monday, January 05, 2009

I'm Flying!

I decided to start the FlyLady system a couple of weeks ago. As I like to say... "We are well on our way to Ramseying out of debt and now will be flying out of clutter."

In one of those stupid sorts of things, I am getting a little worried that I'm turning into my parents and should have just listened to them all along- after all, you are always warned against repeating the sins of your fathers and learning from your elders. Have I spent the last 10 years of my life (my years as an independent adult) getting into all manner of difficulty that I could have skipped if I had just swallowed my stubborn and listened. After considered thought and discussion with my husband, I was heartened to decide that this was probably not the case.

As with money, my mother also took a very hard line, somewhat extreme view towards cleaning. She did advocate some of the flylady basics of picking up after yourself regularly and wiping up the kitchen every night. However, these sensible steps were tempered by some less than manageable expectations- my mother scrubs the kitchen floor on hands and knees once a week. This is apparently a hold-over from when my brother and I were crawling about and putting everything in our mouths. While I freely admit that when my children are crawling, I see merit in the hands and knees periodic wipedown or even when your children aren't- I draw the line at continuing mouthing, crawling children standards when said children are well over driving age. In another instance, I remember her telling me about how exhausted she was but that she wouldn't be able to sleep until she had vacuumed her bedroom. Might I say that it is a rare moment that the dustbunnies who are currently hoping to be numerous enough to finally organize that fantasy football league cross my mind at bedtime, let alone prevent me from sleeping. On the other end, my mother gave up on the bathroom shower curtains sometime when I was in middle school. The get a wink and a nod every few months and then are replaced when they begin petitioning for civil liberties. You might see how this left me with little practical knowledge (hee, spell check wanted to make that piratical knowledge!) of how to manage a household.

So far, I'm in the decluttering stage. I have completed the living room and am currently working on the kitchen. I'm hoping to to get to really start cleaning next month when we rotate through the zones again. For now, I'm trying to do a consistent 15 minutes a day and hope to add a 2 minute hotspot drill in the next week or so. Ultimately, I'm hoping to manage with 10-15 minutes a day in home blessing work and 15 minutes or so of zone chores as well as a couple of fire drills morning and night. I like structure and organization which makes the flylady a good fit for me. Plus, by the end of a day more than 30 minutes seems wildly beyond my reach. I'm also hoping to be able to take weekends off, by and large, and I would really like to be able to avoid the great Saturday morning clean which had seemed inevitable. As an added bonus, I seem to be at least a touch ahead of where many people are when they start, based on her writings, so I get to fit just a tad smug at how well I've already been doing. This would be the first time I've ever gotten to feel ahead of the clean house curve.

For those wondering, neither of my previous posts had to do with my New Year's resolution which is to avoid using single-use cups- especially plastic ones.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Fighting the Frump

So, Megan's little self is doing something that results in her not sleeping as in we have now crossed the line between limping along in a half-assed fashion, generally squeaking by with enough collective sleep to not be a danger to self or others while driving to having come to Jesus meetings with a 7 month old at 4 am (which, for the record, doesn't work) and odd, swimmy head moments that leave you fairly certain you shouldn't be trying to chop that onion just now.

In other news, we are back to potty training. We took a break when Charlie started crying hysterically at the mention of the potty on the second day of the last go. This time we were armed with car underwear and lollipops. We've been working on it for just over 2 weeks now and he's reasonably good with keeping his underwear dry (we went with a 2 pronged approach- rewarding both for dry underwear AND potty action) but pooping is a whole other matter. To gloss over the finer points, he doesn't seem to be in touch with his body enough to really be able to pull the needed steps off. I'm sure we'll get there but this wasn't the best time for Megan to go on a no-sleep, all mommy cuddles, all the time, bender.

On to the actual point of the post... I have never been particularly concerned with my appearance. I liked to look reasonably put together but never did much in the way of accessories, blow drying, or make-up. After 2 children, I'm starting to want to do a little something for myself. I want to feel like I count. I want to feel "worth it" to steal a phrase. So, I have decided I will start to fight the creeping frump. I have manged to consistently moisturize for a while now and am ready to add the step of using a touch of powder. I really want to try mineral make-up but I haven't decided which kind yet- drugstore, Arbonne, or Mary Kay. I tried eye shadow the other day but, even though I have worn it fairly regularly before, it just makes me want to rub my eyelids these days. I have hit a slight snag with hair cuts as well. I've gone through all manner of hair dresser drama over the last 3 cuts and am hoping to land on a hair dresser that is fairly cheap and also doesn't take her cues from Mrs. Brady sometime soon- really, I just want a fairly short shag and/or bob. It seems like it shouldn't be all that hard. The local Gap Outlet has helped me make admirable in-roads on my wardrobe but we're in the easy season. It's somewhat easy to look put-together in winter- you have cords and pants which go nicely with chunky loafers and then you can throw on a stylishly snug sweater. Summer is always so much more complicated for me- even more so since I have been pregnant, newly done with pregnancy, and/or nursing for 3 summers now and my clothes are the weird sizes that go with that. I used to be able to fall back on sundresses but nursing has thrown a wrench in that. Not to mention the loss of B. Moss which was the sundress source of choice. Oh, well... that's a problem for another day. For now, I just need to get a non-mullet and pick some powder- suggestions welcome.