My child is gifted. At least, I think he is. He was doing jigsaw puzzles at 20 months old, and now, at 4, his favorite topic of discussion is bioluminescent fish. But, he also likes to talk about poop a lot, and no matter how hard I try he can’t seem to remember our address. The other day his preschool called to inform me that Noodle had pulled down his pants and peed on the classroom rug. I’m not sure what the DOE will make of this kid.
Like many parents of incoming kindergartners, my husband and I are in the midst of the G&T application process. It's confusing because the rules are constantly changing (Will he have to bubble in a circle or will someone do it for him? Will siblings get preference or not?), and a high score isn't a guarantee. Last year, 1,602 kids scored above the 99th percentile to qualify for 400 coveted spots.
The G&T has also brought up conflicting feelings about what I want for my child and what I believe about public education. When I look at my son and his friends, each with their own individual gifts and challenges, I have to ask how we can decide in half an hour who is gifted and who is not. And even if a child qualifies, would he be happier—and would the future of public education be better—if parents supported neighborhood schools?
Fortunately, I can put off such questions until April, while I explore all kindergarten options. The G&T test is one, maybe far-fetched, but possible.
After sitting down with Noodle three times to go through puzzles in the G&T handbook—which mostly involve him indiscriminately pointing and shouting “That one! That one! That one!”—I decide to let go and send my husband on test day. I am too invested, and I want Noodle to relax and just be himself. Luckily, nothing phases his dad that doesn’t involve a ball.
Shortly after 12:30 pm on the appointed day, I receive a text from my husband. “He’s in. I scratched his head to get some blood flowing up there. Told him not to make s*#& up.” Apparently I’m not the only one who feels invested. At 1:44 pm I receive a second text: "N is past the 1hr mark. One girl ran out after 20 mins crying. All the other kids r done.” Yikes. I decide to call. One step ahead of me, he has already confirmed that Noodle has not been lost.
At 2:15 pm, I meet them at the park. As my son runs up to give me a bear hug, all I can think about is how I’m going to find out what happened on this test.
Luckily, Noodle is chatty so getting a few morsels out of him is easy….sort of.
“The lady asked me about popsicles.”
“Popsicles? What do you mean?”
“There are seven popsicles and five boys, and each boy has seven popsicles…wait. No. There are five popsicles and five boys…No….” As he recounts this he is spinning around in circles.
Noodle finally decides that there are seven popsicles and five boys and each boy gets one popsicle. How many are left?
Subtraction? For four year olds?! My son may be a genius but he’s not a genius. For kicks, I ask Noodle what the answer is.
“I know the answer, Mommy. You tell me the answer.”
I decide to play and hold up two fingers. And then he looks at me with that sweet, slightly condescending smile he usually reserves for his baby brother and nods his head. “You’re right, Mommy.”
Unfortunately, that’s pretty much all I know about Noodle’s foray into G&T thus far. What I do know is that no matter what the results say, I will always believe he is gifted, just as any loving parent does. He is my one and only Noodle, and he has something special to offer this world. G&T won’t change that...but it wouldn't hurt either.