Friday 30 January 2009


Ads is moving to a new (Montessori) school next week and as usual, there are a ton of forms to be filled out and submitted to the school. I was filling up a questionnaire for them and one of the questions asked, was how would I describe his personality. As far as I can remember, what I wrote went something like this:"Advaith is extremely intelligent and creative. He is shy with people he does not know well and can be quite timid and fearful in new situations. He does not enjoy loud and boisterous people or play."
Now, Ads is a pretty weird mix - he knows a whole lot about some things (for e.g. construction equipment, firetrucks and other stuff in which he could quite easily get a PhD) and very little about other stuff (read life skills). So if I were to jot down his personality traits and skill-sets, they would go something like this:
1. Verbal skills - Exceptional. He is extremely articulate in 2 languages, one of which he taught himself (English). He has to be the most verbal child of his age I have ever met and this opinion is not just that of his (obviously biased) mother, but that of most people who have had the chance to reach past his initial shyness and get him jabbering away at a 100 mph. He has an extensive vocabulary in both Tamil and English, he can play with words (even pun!) and he constructs complex sentences and expresses emotions and opinions in ease. There are bloopers aplenty when he talks in English but considering that we never taught him the language, the gaffes are only due to the fact that English is not an intuitive language. (An aside....Today he said: "Advaith is a shouter, Yukta is a kicker". He was talking at the top of his voice and I have spent most the day asking him to tone down. At the time when he made this comment, Y was on her father's lap kicking away like there was no tomorrow)
2. Creativity - Exceptional. He displays the typical signs of an intelligent, creative mind - the short attention spans, the constant search for stimulating and interesting activities, the ability to engage in imaginative play even with little or no material etc. Even the boredom (!) - dare I say - spurs his creativity.
3. Physical skills - So-so. Although very active, he has become so fearful of late that we have difficulty persuading him to engage in physical activities that are routine forkids his age. Boys his age are so reckless and interpid in general that they have had to make atleast a couple of trips to the Emergency Room! And while I'm happy Ads has never given me that experience, I have to say his timidity really worries me sometimes. He still hasn't figured out how to ride a tricycle and doesn't want to learn. His eye-hand coordination isn't that great either. I conveniently blame the father for this and keep harping on how he needs to get out and play ball with him more often! (However, the time I spent traumatising him and forcing him to jump off he kitchen counter has borne some results; he is getting a little bolder in the playground and more willing to try out new stunts).
4. Social skills - So-so, could be better. Again it's the shyness, the distaste for loud boisterous people and play that turns him into a shrinking violet. He is pretty good at one-on-one interactions though.
5. Life skills - Poor. I take the blame for this, entirely. I didn't do enough. I let it slide. I didn't think it mattered whether or not he could feed and clothe himself at the age of 2. Now when I have another kid and am strapped for time, I could kick myself really really hard. Of late I have started forcing him to feed himself, with encouraging results.
We are hoping the new school (we are very impressed with the kids we met there and their philosophy of instruction) will make him more confident. That's really all I want my child to be. To be confident, independent, courteous and well-mannered. Nothing else. I don't care if he gets average grades, can't play the violin and isn't the star (or even a member!) of the school soccer team. But sometimes even this can feel like a tall order.
I'll have to review this post after six months and see whether the new school has made any difference.

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