Thursday, September 08, 2005

School's In Session

Today was the first day of school. My third grader wanted nothing to do with me once he saw his friends, and in fact, he gently pushed me away physically when I tried to whisper "goodbye" in his ear. Am I THAT embarassing?? My first grader, on the other hand, was more than happy to have me around, which is totally permitted in his classroom. We are so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so lucky to have Paula Rogovin as a first grade teacher, for the second time.

Brian had her two years ago, and I have to admit, she took some getting used to because she is the EXACT OPPOSITE of every other teacher I ever had, myself. The classroom curriculum is based on social studies. All reading and writing is based on interviewing interesting people, from parents of students, to local store-owners, to World War II veterans, to immigrants who escaped a life of child labor, to someone who was arrested for demonstrating for civil rights in the 1960's. There is a field trip nearly every week. Every week, and I mean EVERY week, the kids publish a book about what they studied. Each child submits a page on which they write their thoughts and feelings about the interview or field trip of the week, and then Paula puts together a book of all the pages, photocopies it and distributes it to each kid (for the parents to kvell, of course).

Math is picked up as well. I don't remember how though because Brian is a genius and knew first grade math before finishing pre-school. Okay, okay, I know that sounds like typical parental bragadoccio. But I swear, in this case it is true. Brian is a very unusual child and was clearly so from the moment he came into the world. By the time he was 10 months old, he was pointing out busses and calling them "eeeeeeee" for the sound they make. By the time he was 12 months old, he was calling them "autos" and beginning to identify them by make. We finally figured out that he was using the emblams on the hubcaps - which were eye level to him while riding in his stroller. By the time he was 3, he could name every state and its capital. By the time he was 4, he could name every president, his term, his vital statistics, his first lady and sometimes his first lady's vital statistics. Gradually his interests shifted to sports, and now he reads the New York Times Sports section and figures out statistics and probabilities based on the scores.

Here is one example of how Brian's mind works: When we were watching the tennis matches at the US Open, he would predict who would win (usually correctly) based on what number they were seeded and who they had beaten previously (and what number those players were seeded). Thus, if Number 8 beat Number 19 to advance, that meant little. But if Number 7 beat number 2, that meant a lot. To be honest, I can't quite figure out his methodology. And most other people can't either (with the exception of the Husband who is also a math genius...he will often give Brian and me a math problem to solve just to see who finishes it first. Guess who never wins? Me. And I aint no dummy either...).

OK, I will stop now.

To give Adam some airtime, I have to say that he is very very smart as well. But he is "regular kid" smart, by which I mean, VERY SMART, but not to the extent that the principal of his school wonders aloud if his intellectual capacity exceeds anyone who is there at school to teach him. Unfortunately, he doesn't get the attention for it because he isn't "outlandishly smart". Adam has other special qualities, of course, including the fact that he is one of the most social beings I have ever encountered. Adam's first word was "ba ba", which did not mean "bottle", but rather "Brian." Adam's main goal in life always seems to be, "connect". As soon as he could speak, he would introduce himself to people everywhere he went, then he would introduce them to his brother, Brian, and tell them what he was planning to do that day. When we were in Fire Island, he would come out of the water, dragging his boogie board and tell every teenager with a board about the "tasty waves" and where to find them. Adam is only six, so this was quite a sight to behold.

I can't believe what time it is. I was planning on going to a Bikram class today, to warm up my muscles and joints. Oh well. I guess somewhere inside my heart of hearts, I know it is still too soon. But I AM getting very very antsy.



Anonymous said...


Kudos to you for sending your kids to public school. And bravo to the school for having such a wonderful teacher!


Anonymous said...

I am the Aunt and Brian and Adam are the loves of my life. Lauren isn't joking about Brian. He is "different" but not in a bad way. Brian and I have a special connection. I love Adam just as much, but we just don't have the same connection. Adam also calls me Jill and not Aunt Jill. Adam speaks enough for both him and Brian (Brian is shy at first). I really don't get enough of them.


He's Dead,Jim! said...

Lauren - What a fantastic teacher! How lucky you and your kids are. My entry today is about our gurus, inspired by yesterday's practice with David Life. A great topic for the first day of school.

Anonymous said...

if they are even a fraction as lovely as their mother, I am sure they are true gems.

yoga chickie said...

Aw...go on....

No, seriously, go on!

Just kidding...and thank you!


industry whore said...

They sound like the quintessential first and second born. birth order article

Krisco said...

Glad I found your site, via Industry Whore. I'll be curious to read more about raising Brian. We have two little girls, younger than your boys. The oldest is a little scary-smart. Learned things like the alphabet and to count to 18 when she was one; when she was still 2, she could tell you the next story in a 70-some story book when we hadn't read it in six months...So seeing how other families keep ahead or at least up with such a child will be helpful.
Like Adam, I have hopes our second is certainly intelligent...but whereas her sister had fifty words at one, she so far says "da da". But she could not seem sweeter or more loving.

Krisco said...

Sorry I rambled on. Guess it wasn't appropriate.

Anonymous said...

It is true about Bri and Addie. They are 2 amazing boys. Brian has an incredible sense of humor for an 8 year old. He is witty and understands sarcasm. Addie is the essence of funny himself. He is so adorable, the quintessential "Dennis the Menace" little boy. He makes us all laugh.

Jill, a few weeks ago, I was told by Adam that "our father's sister takes us to Googie's." I said, "do you mean Jill?" I guess I am "our mother's mother."


yoga chickie said...

Hi Kris - not inappropriate at all! Thanks for sharing...Lauren

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Northern Westchester, New York, United States
I live by a duck pond. I used to live by the East River. I don't work. I used to work a lot. Now, not so much. I used to teach a lot of yoga. Now not so much. I still practice a lot of yoga though. A LOT. I love my kids, being outdoors, taking photos, reading magazines, writing and stirring the pot. Enjoy responsibly.


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