Sometimes, you just have to brag a little.
I’m uncomfortable with anything that hints of boasting — even when I’m just stating facts, I always want to check myself and ask if I’m looking like a jerk while doing it. It’s a tough balance, and I blow it more often than not.
When it comes to bragging about my kids, though, I have no qualms whatsoever. So allow me to promote my daughter Charlotte a bit.
Charlotte went back to school on Monday after a two-week break, part of the local school district’s oddball schedule that I mentioned a couple of days ago. Keep in mind that while Charlybucket in nine years old, she’s already in fifth grade — she was promoted in mid-year from third to fourth last school year. So not only is she a proven smart cookie, she’s also a year younger than the other kids in her current class. (She’s actually on track to finish high school before turning 17.)
When I picked her up Monday afternoon, she had a couple of surprises for me and her mom. One was that her teacher had decided to use the first day back to test everyone’s reading levels. This district uses a simple one-decimal number to mark a student’s reading ability — if you rate at a start-of-fourth-grade level, you’re a 4.0; if you’re at the expected skill for the middle of fourth grade, you’re a 4.5. Apparently most of the students in Charlotte’s fifth-grade class landed between 3.0 and 3.9, which is a problem since they should be at 5.3 (that’s where we are in the school year).
Charlotte came in at 6.5.
Yeah, that’s not a typo — Charlotte is reading at a middle-of-sixth-grade level, a grade ahead of her class expectation, two grades ahead of her age expectation and three grades ahead of most of her peers. (Many of whom, in all fairness, read English as a second language — the Mexican population here is huge.) So, way to go, girl!
That surprise, I found out right when I picked her up. After we got Mom (at a different school — she’s a Special Ed. aide for the district) and arrived home, we got the other one. Turns out that Charbroil is one of only five fifth-graders at her school (out of about 60 in two classes) to be chosen to participate in the district-wide Math Olympiad. Only the best math students get selected for this baby. (Her Silicon-Valley-engineer grandpa is going to light up when he finds out.) So she at the top of her class in reading AND ‘rithmetic!
With all the time Nina and I have had to spend on Sean due to his illness, one of our worries has been the effect it’ll have on his older sister. It certainly hasn’t been easy for her, and she’s made no bones about that. (Charlotte does NOT believe in suffering in silence.) But as far as I’m concerned, she’s coming through with flying colors. She keeps an eye on Sean when Mommy and Daddy are momentarily occupied elsewhere. She helps me buckle him into and unbuckle him from his car seat. She loves doing goofy stuff to entertain him. And while she’s at it, she works hard, helps me with grocery shopping, goes through almost as many books as I do and gets good grades.
She isn’t perfect — she’ll occasionally do something like steal candy from her parents’ stashes instead of asking — but she’s surprisingly close. And how can you not like a fifth-grader who’s enthusiastic, funny, tries her best, loves science, wants to someday marry and have two kids (just like Mommy?) and looks like a nine-year-old Gwyneth Paltrow?
As the apostle Paul would say (2 Corinthians 12:5), about such a one will I boast.