As many of you know, I'm pretty new to the whole "parenting" thing, only having 8 months of being a step-parent under my belt now, after 44 years of bachelorhood. And I must say, that this week, some subtle steps have been taken by my step-daughter an me. (And I know I've used her real name before, but from now on, I will call her "Wednesday".)
Don't get me wrong, we've always gotten along great. At 14, she's perfectly comfortable walking across the room for a hug, or leaning her head on my shoulder during a movie. And not just a movie at home, about 1/2 way thru "Rango" on Saturday, I felt her head start to nestle in on my shoulder, so I slouched a little, and dipped the shoulder for her to be a bit more comfortable. And she stayed there most of the rest of the movie.
In Chicago, we have public school choice. That's a great thing. That's a scary thing. It means that you are not stuck going to your crappy neighborhood high school. You have a chance to go to a much better school. If you've got the grades or luck, or both. For instance, based on student's standardized test scores (PSAE's), our default high school is ranked 74th in the state. Correction, that's 74th from LAST in the state! Out of 658! Like they can claim, "We're not in the bottom 10%!" Barely! But, due to her grades, test scores, performance on their admissions test, (yes, an admissions test for a PUBLIC non-charter high school), Wednesday got into one of the top 10 high schools in the state. At these top schools, you get 15,000 or more kids applying for just a few slots. Most of them have class sizes of about 200 – 500 students. That's long odds!
Needless to say, the competition, and the stress is massive. Luckily, Cora and I didn't REALLY grasp how competitive and important all this stuff was, or we would be basket cases. "Why are kids talking about high school on the first day of 8th grade?"
Because it matters.
So, all year, Wednesday's been hearing about this aspirational school that all her friends are hoping to get the grades to get in to. And when her teacher's got her scores, they were excited because she could apply there. It's a great school. Over 100 years old. And big. Like 4,000 students. But that means that they can offer more art (her favorite) than any of the other "college prep" school. And it's a mile down the road. And we drive by it all the time. And she got in!
At an informational session last week, they had invited her to be in a special program, that the more I listened to it sounded EXACTLY like something I would have LOVED in high school. It was intense, but had you focused on research and writing technical papers, and following this project thru for 4 years, etc. But it absolutely didn't sound like my step-daughter. AT. ALL. So we decided to skip that, and just let her be in Honors with Art. Accepting that the right thing for you is not always the right thing for the child? I'll take that as a parenting moment.
Also this week, Cora had me help Wednesday with her home work for the first time. It was some math, and I sat down with her, and worked thru the problem. I then made her go back thru her work and find out were she made her error (she used the diameter not the radius). Later in the week, she's had a few issues with the computer in her room. And for the first time, she came straight to me with a problem without going to her mom first.
And then I had her help me with some of my super-villain pictures you'll be seeing later.