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Clever as clever

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When I was five,

I was just alive.

But now I am six,

I’m as clever as clever.

So I think I’ll be six

now and forever.

(from “Now We Are Six” by A. A. Milne)

An update on Norah:


*  She has incredible self-discipline.  I’ve mentioned this trait before but wow.  At the Christmas parade, she gathered only the candy she felt appropriate.  Leaving pieces on the ground all around her as other kids eyed them.  While Cedar gobbled up as much as I allowed and then cried “CANDY!” all the way home, Norah admitted she had not eaten any because she hadn’t had dinner yet.  After dinner she ate a single peppermint.  One of many examples.  It truly is extraordinary.

*  Her favorite food is brussel sprouts.  Don’t look at me.  I hate brussel sprouts and following a vicious brussel sprout incident from my childhood, I vowed never to feed the evil things to my kids.  Her other favorite foods are raw turnips, green peas, and roasted okra.  But I cannot get her to drink much of anything besides hot chocolate.

*  She is smart.  In that sharp, scary way.  She has a no fluff learning style and prefers math, handwriting, and science to reading and history.  While I like to try out different methods and change my mind about everything, Norah wants all things to stay the same.  Forever.

*  She loves snuggles.  Cartoons.  Unlined paper.  Journey (yes, the band).  Playing her tin whistle.  Classical Music.  Pretending to be “mama” to her stuffed animals.  Her nature table.  Science lab.  Anatomy.  My iPad (especially the camera feature).

*  She adores art and has some nice pieces from museum classes.  She despises crafts at home.  I have learned that we cannot do crafts together.  Usually one or both of us end up crying.

* She wants to be an architect when she grows up.  And she is already an inventor.  She plans to open a business inventing things.  For those of you who didn’t see my facebook post, she plans to invent holograms so that Daddy and Papa won’t need to work.  The hologram will stand in.  When asked why Mommy didn’t get a hologram, she responded, “Mommy doesn’t work.”  She is designing a baby brother which she expects to animate using a placenta (presumably to be filched from one of my clients).

* She makes friends easily and is gracious with smaller kids.

The Questions (a sample of questions she asked in the last few days)

* Why do Buddhist monks like orange so much?

* What part of our body did God make first?

* Why don’t carrots have seeds?

* Do Buddhist monks like carrots?

* How are babies made?

* Who wrote Korobushka? (yeah, I had to look it up, too)

* Do we thank the farmer or God for this potato?

* Can we go to Cambodia for my birthday?

* Why is the sky different colors of blue right now?

* What is the difference between karate and kung fu?

* What do tadpoles eat?

* Where would I go if I were very small and got flushed down the toilet?

* Is Papa really doing magic when he drives with no hands? 

The Challenges

* Homeschool is harder than I expected.  More from personality.  Mostly mine.  It has revealed selfishness and impatience.  Ugly stuff.  Also, there is tension between being comfortable with letting her play most of the day and fearing that if I change my mind and send her to public school, she’ll be behind.  Because she plays most of the day.  I think play is where most learning occurs at this age.  Public school disagrees.  I don’t have a crystal ball.   Tension.

* Norah has a phenomenal memory for details.  I don’t.  She can remember what kind of car someone drives, what color pants someone wore (turquoise or cerulean), etc.  I’m much more into narrative and feelings.  Because I don’t remember as she does, she thinks she is smarter than me.  And has said so.  This issue adds to challenge number 1.

* And she is cautious.  Afraid to be alone.  Often helpless (perceived or real).  Complains of odd and specific ailments–“my elbow feels like my nose when it is about to sneeze.”

However, she is not cautious about science!  She has studied a sheep’s heart, given a pygmy hedgehog a bath, built a catapult, and touched all manner of slithery things this year.

9 responses »

  1. What a neat kid ya got there Julie…none of the above surprised me – cuz’ she is smart as a whip 🙂

  2. I love how well you are able to see all of her unique characteristics! I’m also chuckling – she is EXACTLY like my oldest, Ewan. I could have written so many of the things you posted here, including the “play all day, Mama worries about it even though” fretting. 🙂

  3. Update: tonight she argued with me about the function of the liver. When I corrected her, she said, “you’re not a nurse or even a medical person”. Well, little lady, neither are you. I have had college biology. Grrr.

  4. I am still rolling on the floor after reading those questions. Btw- I totally get the elbow about to sneeze thing- that is exactly how it feels when you hit your funny bone! That little one is gifted no doubt…and you are a great mommy!

  5. love love this post! Nanoo knew how smart she would be and what a wonderful Mom you would be!

  6. Norah is so cool. Suzi and I can’t really do crafts together, either. We can, but she makes it clear that there will be no guided activities. She just wants the materials and to be left alone, thanks! Where do you go to do these awesome science activities?

    I, too, sometimes worry that Suzi will fall behind, but I really don’t see us putting her in school. Also, since my mom is a retired teacher she will definitely tell me if she sees that happening. I finally just decided to embrace my underachieving nature and do an hour or less of eclectic “school” each day. Trying to do too much is always a big flop, anyway, because the kids hate it and won’t cooperate. When I was a kid I spent what I feel was too much time in structured activities, and unlimited free time is one of the main things I want my children to take from homeschooling. At least I am a smashing success on that account! They crave that free time.

    I started a homeschool blog the other day to track our progress! It’s

  7. Such a great description of my grandaughter. She challenges me often. I believe one reason she is so gifted is that she puts no limits on herself mentally or physically. She was taught this by her parents. I love encouraging Norah but honestly, she encourages me just as much. I love that she is open to new ideas but freely expresses her own too. I love when she wants to just be a little girl and snuggle. I hope she never changes. She is truly unique.


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