Monday, December 12, 2011

Pressure Cooker

I never feared report card day when I was a kid.  I was one of those crazy smart kids who breathed on a test paper and got an A.  When they did those stupid tests in junior high about where you were as far as your reading and comprehension skills, I tested above college level.  Literally off the charts.  So quite honestly, report card day was a piece of cake for me.  My mom refused to reward me for A's because she would have been broke.

When I had Little Miss, it never occurred to me that she would have academic difficulties, either.  She hit all her milestones early and practically shattered them.  This is a girl who can hold a conversation with a group of adults and quite possibly be the smartest one in the group.  Her vocabulary is astounding.  She's smart as a whip.  It's amazing.  Yet she struggles in school.  She's a math genius.  Once she got the idea of memorizing her times tables, she has been rocking it.  She's got division down cold.  But then there's spelling.  Her spelling sucks.  She works so hard on it.  She does extra spelling work every night with only minimal complaining.  And it's been paying off.

I never thought I'd celebrate a 75% grade, but I do.  Compared to the spelling grades she got last year, a 75 is HUGE!  Two weeks ago, she would have gotten an 85% except for the fact that she can't seem to remember which way a "b" goes and which way a "d" goes.  But she works so hard and chastises herself over every mistake.

We got her report card last week.  I wasn't thrilled simply because I hate the way their report cards are set up.  They link progress with effort.  And while there may be little visual progress with her spelling, she puts in tremendous effort.  And she has made SO much progress compared to where she was last year.  Even compared to where she was at the beginning of the year.  And for her to be graded poorly for that.....UGH!!!  I'm so frustrated.

But what killed me was this morning when she realized that she didn't get all A's on her report card.  She threw herself down on the couch and proclaimed that she was not ever going back to school because she was so awful.  I tried to explain to her that her father and I don't care about what grades she gets so long as she's working hard and doing her best.  But she doesn't care.  The pressure comes from within her, not from outside.  If the pressure was coming from me, or from the school, I'd know how to deal with it.  But it comes from her.  She drives herself so hard.  It's like she's on edge all the time.  Ugh. 

Perfectionism sucks.  And it's worse having to watch your child go through it.