She was a small child, dark haired, with big eyes. More used to speaking to adults than to other children, her speech often surprised grown-ups, as she used words that to them, sometimes, were unfamiliar. The playground was a strange place for her, and negotiating those first friendships wasn't easy. She didn't speak the language that the other kids rattled off so fluently. School was a place that she went during the day, where she got to go to art and music classes, had to learn boring math, and was always sent to the library during reading and spelling time, as her own reading level was several grades above the rest of the class. There, she would pore endlessly over the stacks, losing herself in new and different worlds, inventing her own, authoring her childish fantasies in volumes bound with construction paper and yarn.
When things interested her, she was very involved in them - to the point of leading the group work, bullying the others into doing things her way. When she was not interested, however, you often found her ignoring the task at hand, staring out of the window daydreaming, or lost, once again, in a book. Her parents, feeling she needed structure, provided lessons of all sorts - ballet, piano, gymnastics, girl scouts. She did all with some degree of success, ultimately discontinuing all but piano. She was good at it, and it provided her with some degree of identity - The Girl Who's Good At Music.
Her parents, still unsatisfied with her inconsistency, had her tested psychologically. The tests revealed above-average intelligence and an eye for details, but no more. She had a very vivid imagination, and needed to be motivated to learn what didn't interest her. Learning for learning's sake was not something she thirsted for.
This little girl grew into a woman, married, and had a child who is almost a clone of herself. With a few differences, such as more ability and interest in math and art and less in reading, her child's elementary school experience is mirroring her own.
Today, I took Miss Peanut to a psychologist to be tested for Attention Deficit Disorder - something that they really didn't know about when I was a child. Her last three teachers have all suggested, some more gently than others, that she should be tested. I finally caved, knowing the kind of child I
was, and knowing just how much she is like me. It's been very difficult for me to do this - nobody wants to think that there could be anything wrong with their precious perfect angel. In this, I am no exception. I was prepared, though, to hear the worst. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised.
The psychologist asked, after interviewing both me and Miss Peanut, then Peanut on her own, if I'd ever had her intelligence level tested, as she seemed to be off the charts (in a good way!). She said that without further testing, her diagnosis at this point would be inconclusive, but that it could be that Miss Peanut does indeed have some ADD. This, when combined with an overactive imagination and high intelligence, leads her to be distracted in class when she's bored. Having heard that countless times from parents of students (and having mentally rolled my eyes every. single. time.
) I felt compelled to point out that even if the work is boring, she needs to do it and understand it without the distraction of ADD symptoms. The psychologist agreed, and we're going to explore further testing, to either rule it in or out.
It's an interesting nature versus nurture question for me, though. I've been raising Miss Peanut in a much more open and much less strict environment than the General raised me. Mr. Peevish and I are still married (for better or for worse, it seems), where my parents were divorced before I reached Miss Peanut's current age. She is an only child, where I had a pesky younger brother. I went to private school, and she does not. Yet, we are, it seems, still as alike as we look..
Labels: darkness, Peanut, peevish