We had Lu's parent-teacher conference with Ms. B. and got some feedback on Lucy that was not entirely glowing. Her behavior is better — less talking and distraction-causing. Her academics are great and...not. She's reading very well (fourth grade level) and doing well in math. Yet her writing is not up to the level of her reading, and she rarely pursues the extra-credit math someone on her level should be doing. Her work is sloppy and rushed. Simply put: she is under-performing. When we asked about whether to nominate Lucy for gifted and talented, we found out that the spring nominations had come and gone, and Ms. B. had decline to nominate her because, while Lucy is very intelligent, she has lacked the focus to demonstrate her abilities. This is mystifying, frustrating and complicated for us. Are we laid back — assuming all this academic stuff will come out in the wash, it's only first grade? Do we go all Tiger Mom — pushing her to achieve her true capacity and more? When we tried to gently but firmly address the issue of focus and effort with Lu, she said, "I'M HORRIBLE. YOU ALL THINK I'M HORRIBLE." And then we all felt horrible.
So when, the next day, her piano teacher called and said she'd nominated Lucy to audition for the Austin Girls Choir, we were all thrilled to have a something positive to focus on. Lucy auditioned on Sunday and got in: talent, achievement, success, hurray! Her second practice is tonight and she loves it already. We still have to figure how to approach her academics, but for now, here's hoping they give choir scholarships.