Every weekday it’s the same.
I sit with them at the kitchen table. Papers and crumbs strewn about, an open box of pencils, half with erasers worn all the way down.
One girl sits on her bottom, biting her lip, concentrating, writing neatly, not saying a word. she works quickly, efficiently, methodically. Her work is perfect. She rarely needs any help.
The other girl half sits, half stands. standing on one leg with her other knee bent and resting on the chair despite my requests for her to sit down. She pulls one arm in and out of her shirt. In and out. In and out. In and out. Sometimes she chews the end of her sleeve. She has trouble focusing. Her handwriting is messy, sloppy. It seems like she just isn’t paying attention.
She writes letters backwards or gets them confused, not sure which it is. When we practice writing spelling words, she has to write each word three times in a row. The first time she’ll get it right (maybe). Then, even when the same word is still right in front of her, she gets mixed up on the second attempt. And the third. Which explains why so many erasers are worn down to nubs.
I feel guilty when I get so easily frustrated. They are twins. They have the same homework. But I’m still sitting at the table with one long after the other has finished. I find myself with clenched fists, sighing out of sheer exasperation, and feeling the familiar ache in my left shoulder slide on in. Homework is hard. And this is only first grade.
Is it me or is it her? Is it my fault? Do i expect her to be “better” because her sister doesn’t struggle at all? Probably. I didn’t anticipate her having this hard of a time. Two kids at such opposite ends of the spectrum. Just because they’re twins doesn’t mean they are the same. Or, could there be a real problem?
Or am I the real problem?
psssst. My co-founders of The Gay Dad Project and I will be featured on an internet talk radio show tomorrow (Wednesday) at 10-11 a.m. Pacific, 1-2 p.m. Eastern: The Coming Out Lounge, with host Rick Clemons. You will even be able to call in and ask questions: 877-864-4869.