I am watching my daughter take her kindergarten screening test. I’m pretty sure this type of torture is outlawed as per the Geneva Convention.
It feels like everything that we have worked on since infancy is now being called into question. Do you know your birthday? What do you use your eyes for? What’s missing in this pattern? I want to encourage and remind her that she knows these answers!!! but cannot speak – as I have already passed kindergarten and it’s now her turn.
“Mr. Sam” is very calm and kind in his questioning: "Can you count these boxes out loud?" "She can not only count them out loud - but she can do it in Spanish! Show him Lena! Blow him away with your intelligence - he will probably want to recommend you for Mensa right now! Oh...not me? Yes, I can settle down over here. Ok, well, take it away Lena..."
"Can you tell me which of the objects are different?" Good, good, NO!!!! NOT THAT ONE! Slow down and pay attention! I feel my face contorting as I scream in my head. But I am powerless, mute and trying to control a wiggly one-year-old.
"What color is this?" Lena: “Um, brown?” One-sided conversation in my head: "BROWN?????? THAT’S SO OBVIOUSLY RED! God! Who is your clearly negligent mother??? Oh, right, ME! Crap.”
Lena continues on answering the questions - oblivious to the internal struggle that I am battling. She sometimes surprises me with what she knows and other times surprises Mr. Sam. She knows how to spell her whole name. She knows where she lives and where the “smoke goes up” in the fireplace - chimney. She gets binoculars but misses microscope (oh, whatever, we’re not “sciency” people in this household.) She is able to match words and draw pictures with detail (probably more than anyone wanted with and entire story about her friend Gwyneth and how she has the craziest, awesome hair and here we are holding hands and singing). Even Emmeline joined in – echoing Lena’s responses and “helping her” count (eight, nine, eleven, twenty!).
After 7,000 excruciating hours, the testing finally comes to an end. Lena skips off to color as I try to compose myself. I am shaking like a leaf and blame it on a non-existent double espresso. Marilyn Manson has called to inquire as to who my makeup artist is. Emmeline is digging for “tweasure” in a potted fern. I’m ready for a nap and it is only 9:15 am. 9:15?!? Wait? That torture only took 15 minutes? Man. Good thing I’m not in the CIA. I’d have cracked in less than a minute. Secrets? Why sure – here’s my computer. Would you like my Facebook password as well?The ordeal is over. Lena has passed and been accepted into this school. When we were getting into the car she asked what I thought. I informed her that I was so proud of how well she did, and the only thing I saw that she answered incorrectly was when she answered “brown” instead of “red.” Lena replies “Oh, I knew that Mommy. I was just messin’ with Mr. Sam.” “Oh. Mint. Great time to show Mr. Sam how freakin’ funny you are” I not-so-silently mumble to myself as I pull out of the school’s parking lot. Lena replies: “Yeah, I know. I just like to keep people on their toes. I’m a piece of work, huh Mommy?” “Yes, Lena. Yes you are.”