Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

Slight truce called in Twins War

Usually my kids are feuding with each other. As Tertia so eloquently put it in her post today at So Close, just because they are twins doesn't mean that they are alike. My kids are so not alike they barely seem like siblings most of the time. They don't look alike, they don't have the same interests, same friends, same taste in food, music, books, whatever. They fight like cats and dogs. They are inherently mean to each other. They snipe constantly. They are teenage siblings.

Very very occasionally, one or the other will step out of character and do something that puts my heart at rest for a bit. Tonight it was the Girl's turn to help her brother, which she did voluntarily. I almost fainted when she said, "I'll do it for you." The Boy looked stunned. He could barely believe his great fortune. She was saying she would help him. That was worth almost anything to him. He was not only grateful, but said he would return the favor and do the dishes for her. Oh my Dog, they were "getting along". That conceptual state that siblings are supposed to be in most of the time, but which my kids rarely frequent.

So what was this all about?

The Boy has his Sophmore Speech tomorrow. Everyone in his entire grade has to do this speech. They write it on any topic they choose, and then they perform it first in front of their English class, and then the winners from each class perform it again in front of the entire grade. It is a BIG DEAL. The Boy is dysgraphic. Writing for him is terribly difficult and he gets very easily frustrated. Starting and organizing his thoughts is tough, but putting stuff onto notecards is punishing for a dysgraphic kid.

His speech is on Poverty in the USA, and it's a good speech. It must be from 6-10 minutes long, and it has to have both factual information and some anecdotal information as well. He wrote and revised his speech over the past two weeks, but tonight he needed to get the speech highlights onto notecards. He was supposed to have memorized the speech, but an ADHD kid and memorization do not happen. Never mind memorizing a speech that is about 7 minutes in lenght. Impossible!

He started on the notecards as soon as he had finished his latin homework, translating 5 sentences into English. Latin is difficult and he's advanced enough that they're reading actual texts and translating them. It is challanging, but he kind of likes it.

However, writing a 4 page, single spaced speech onto notecards almost was the death of him. His handwriting is atrocious. It is about on par with a first grader. He doesn't not know how to write in cursive at all, and his printing is HUGE. It is rather sad.

He started on the first notecard and I could see him losing it by about 2/3 of the way through the card. He had that frustrated and angry face, and he was just about to say "Forget it" and take a zero on the speech, which would guarantee an F in English for this term, when the Girl popped up and said "I'll do it for you." She worked on it for over 1.5 hours, filling in 22 notecards with her very neat and easy to read printing. She was so tired towards the end of the project she could barely keep her eyes open, but she did it. She finished and went straight to bed.

It is rare that I get mushy about my kids. I'm definately not looking at parenting teenagers through rose-colored glasses. I see my kids have a lot of individual foibles. They are often rude and obnoxious. They can be very mean to each other and to me. They do terrible things without a care in the world. They are self absorbed and fear very little. They are very typical teenagers, albeit a tad bit off kilter at times.

However, every once in a while they totally shock me. Right after fighting about who gets to lick the oatmeal cookie batter bowl, they go and do something kind and considerate for each other and I realize again how much I love and admire them. They are strong, self-assured individuals that know each other's strength and weaknesses. They support each other when the need arises. And yes, they do love each other, but they would never ever admit it.

It is times like this that I feel like I can be assured that they will be able to care for themselves as adults. They'll eventually be friends again. They will help each other when they see the necessity for some support.

For all the guilt I feel about parenting, when small things like this happen I think I must have done something right after all. And that is what makes it worth going through all the constant bickering and sqabbling. I love these children. I love the adults they are becoming, too.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow what a wonderful story about the kids. I would be busting my buttons about something that awesome. Only question is why did the boy have to handprint his speech? Why wasn't he allowed to print it out and paste it on the notecards...? That seems more fair given the extent of the work and his dysgraphia?
I wish the boy all the best in his Speech! I wish the girl a good night sleep...

19/1/07 12:55 AM  
Blogger California Highway Guy - Daniel said...

Awww. Great story.

19/1/07 8:09 AM  
Blogger David said...

you have done something right - after all, so have I, Now if we just KNEW for sure WHAT that thing was.

hehe from michlelelelele

21/1/07 3:57 PM  

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