Friday, November 4, 2016

Heart Letter, Month 83

Dear Lucy,

You are 83 months old and a quarter of the way through 1st grade.
You have adapted well to your new school and find all of the activities and new friends exhilarating. You are being challenged with reading and math and learning Chinese characters but are rising up to meet it and learning well. In only 2 months you have moved up a level in reading and are doing much more math "in your head". For your Fall Assessment, you made good marks in math, earning a 17 in composing math skills, which was 7 over the target number of 10 and a 3 out of 4 in decomposing math skills. For your Chinese assessment, you could identify 22 out of 100 characters (the target was 27) and for fluency, you could identify 13 characters/minute (the target was 26).

That last test is timed and boy do you hate to be timed! I can't say I blame you--you and I are a lot alike in that respect. I tend to freeze up when asked a question under duress (and being timed is very much "under duress"!) and I can see the same thing happen to you when you are pressured to perform. I know that you know the answer but, like me, your brain just cannot access it when it is under pressure. Combine that with your vast reluctance to be wrong or to appear "stupid", and you clam up or just say you don't know.
Your self-esteem is not very high when it comes to academics and it breaks my heart because it mostly stems from comparing yourself to Kate. I wish all of my words about "you two are unique and different from each other" and "everyone learns at their own pace" were more effectual but I know that none of that is making much of a difference right now. Instead, you  just rely on her a bit more than you should for the answers instead of working it out on your own, mostly because it's faster and easier. If there is one thing you can't stand it is being slow and measured. Fast is your only speed but it does tend to trip you up at times.
My advice to you is this: there is a difference between collaboration and copying. The former will enhance your learning, expanding your mind and opening you up to new ways of learning. The latter keeps your mind closed; it will never allow you to reach your full potential and in fact will rob you of what is unique and special about you. Your ideas. Your thoughts. Your own intelligence. You will never know just how strong and smart you can be if you use other people's answers as your own.
You are amazingly bright and you are quick (although you do not feel as if it is quick enough) to catch onto ideas and concepts, especially math. Don't sell yourself short just because you aren't exactly like someone else. You have your own gifts and the world will be missing that if you don't let them shine. I hope you grow to believe in yourself as much as your Daddy and I do.

You are also enjoying other aspects of school like this month's Homecoming Parade. The Chinese Immersion program had a float this year which you got to ride.

Your class took a field trip to a local nature preserve which kept your attention. You weren't as interested in the plants but as soon as the bugs and turtles and frogs appeared you were more in your element.

In fact, your passion for animals remains a constant and was in full effect on our recent trip to an apple farm.

You even sent me a picture from school of you holding a couple of millipieds that were going into your terrarium!
You most certainly aren't squeamish when it comes to creepy crawlies...you have learned to bait your own hook with a worm and hold the fish to throw it back into the lake.

We had a few days off of school this month so we used them wisely by returning to the city to visit your former school and teachers. San-Nan lao shi asked you to read to her class and then all of your former teachers came to Chinatown for supper that evening. You were in heaven.

You were also excited to play with old friends.

We got some good news this month about your fistula. You had been scheduled for yet another fistula repair surgery but then one of your permanent teeth decided to descend through the fistula prompting Dr. Vicari to call off the surgery for now. Where there are teeth erupting, there is bone so we're hoping you may never need the surgery!
But the biggest deal for you this month was HALLOWEEN! And CANDY! And COSTUMES! And BEING OUT LATE! And THE SWORD from your COSTUME!
Your school had a parade and classroom parties.
And then it was time to meet on the soccer field for the pre-trick-or-treating pizza.
We hooked up with some of your friends for the trek around the neighborhood where you filled your pumpkin to the brim with candy.
The Switch Witch left you office supplies in return for some of your candy!
It has turned out to be one of your favorite gifts as you are enjoying writing a lot more now. I know it is hard to see the progress you've made while you are in it, still learning and struggling to remember it all, but you make me proud every day. You are incredibly hard working and have come so far in a relatively short period of time. And believe me, I know how hard it is for you to stop and have to focus on something as staid as reading and writing when what you really want to be doing is anything physical.
And although you are making strides in slowing down without coming to a full stop, most of the time you are still the child who only knows two speeds: ON...
and OFF.
I love you sweet girl. You are the sunshine in our little family.

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