Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Problem With Public Blogs

There is a funny thing about a public blog.  It's out there, for anyone to stumble across.  At times, it can be a bit disconcerting.  Once, I went on a job interview, and the woman had googled my name beforehand, came across my blog, and read until she knew way more about me than I was probably comfortable with her knowing.

Because my blog is public, there are many things I can't write about - certain family members, certain friends, work, etc, etc.  There are also things that I could write about, but choose not to for whatever reason.  I try to keep my blog upbeat.  No one wants to read a blog that is constantly "Wah, Wah, woe is me with my boo boo face".  But, there is a consequence to only writing the positive in your life - your blog is not an accurate portrayal of your real life.  It is a rainbow sprinkles and sunshine version of your life, and sometimes the people reading your blog might start to wonder why their life sucks, and yours is all rainbow sprinkles.  I'm an extremely "real" person in real life, (some might say too much so), and I would like to be "real" in my writing, but I also want to be fair.

Is it fair for me to write certain things about Dylan?  If Jim has a problem, I probably wouldn't write about it.  I figure he wouldn't want everyone to know about that.  Would Dylan care at this point?  No, but he might in the future.  So, that is what I wrestle with.

I feel, though, that I need to discuss something.  I remember a couple years ago, when Dylan was 2, and I was visiting a friend of mine with 3 kids.  She said, "After you were here the last time, I told my husband that Dylan knows his letters, and so now he's on me to get X to learn his.  He thinks he's behind!"  I assured her that her son was not behind, but it was still awkward.  If I say "My son is just advanced", I sound like an idiot, and probably just make her feel worse.  If I downplay Dylan's intelligence, I feel like I am being unfair to him.  I want to be proud of his accomplishments, but without putting other people off, sounding like a bragging fool, or making people worry about their child's abilities.  I don't think I've figured this out yet.

When I moved Dylan into another preschool in December, the teacher asked to talk to me a couple of weeks later.  "We feel he is advanced, and would maybe be better off with the other four year old class, because that group of kids is a little more advanced than this group.  Would you want to switch classes?"
That was already his third preschool class, so I decided not to switch again.  A couple of weeks ago, his teacher said that "...he isn't really interacting much with the other kids".  I don't know if it is because he is more advanced than this group of kids, and doesn't have much in common with them.  It could be that, or it could be that he is around adults the majority of the time, or it could be that he is just bad at making friends.  I can't help but worry that this will be an ongoing issue.  When you are "different" than everyone else, it is often harder to fit in.

If you didn't know this already, I am tall - 5'11".  In junior high and high school I was taller than most of the boys.  I'm also clumsy, so it was a lovely combination for that awkward period of adolescence.  I was always a fantastic speller, and one of my teachers would have spelling bees every Friday.  The whole class would start out standing, and if you missed a word, you sat down.  The person left standing was the winner.  I would keep spelling words correctly until I couldn't take everyone looking at my freakishly tall, awkward self another minute, and then I would throw it.  I know how being "different" can make you insecure.  I don't want Dylan to feel that way about being smart.  I don't want him to purposefully not do his best, just so he can fit in.  But I do want him to fit in.  I want him to have friends.

Where am I going with this long-winded post?  I'm not even sure.  I guess I just want to say that I'm not trying to portray Dylan as this perfect, genius, little boy with no faults.  I choose to focus on the good.  Some days are rainbow sprinkles, but somedays are not.  Really, we should all remind ourselves that what people put on their public blogs is only part of their lives.  We're not seeing the whole picture, we're only seeing it through the colored glasses (rose, in my case) they choose to show from their blog.


Brooke said...

Jen - phew! First off, Dylan is AMAZING! I am always impressed with his creativity and intellegence. He does seem to be very advanced!!! I know I don't get the whole picture, but for what I can tell, he is one amazing little dude. Kids all learn and grow at different rates :D From a mom who has one very advanced kid and one who seems a little behind, it is hard to not compare your kid to others - it is a natural reaction. I always stress that kids all have different strengths and weaknesses.

Burgh Baby said...

THAT is why our last name isn't anywhere on my blog. No matter what combination of names you try with Google, you won't get there easily. There are a few tricks that will make it work, but I know how to "break" them when the time comes.

My goal with Alexis when it comes to those things that make her different from everyone else is to try to teach her that they are assets, not reasons to hide. It's not an easy goal, but I'm going to try like crazy to get there.

blue china studio said...

Oh boy there is a lot of stuff in this post! I always enjoy hearing about Dylan and I feel your posts seem very real. Most of us know that we only get a snippet of people's lives when reading blogs and that there is more that goes on behind the scenes. And like Brooke said, it is very natural to compare your child to another one. But I don't think you should hold back on what you want to say in this forum because this blog is about you and your family. Keep doing what you are doing!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Both of my kids are gifted, so I see this issue with them not getting along well with others in their age group. It's actually a bigger problem for my son than my daughter, which isn't unusual, either. One thing I DO notice with my son is that he tends to get along with older kids. The kids his age aren't his intellectual equals, by and large (he's in the Gifted class, after all). And beyond that, he has a maturity to him that clicks with the older kids. (Funnily enough, his teachers are always telling me he's IMmature. I think he's just not in the right social group, and Gifted research backs me up.)

I'd see if the teachers can introduce Dylan into the other class before formally moving him. See if he makes those social connections he's not currently making. If he does, he'll make the move into the other class permanent, all on his own.

As for having a kid who's advanced... yeah. That's a tough one. We all struggle with it. If I ever figure it out, I'll holler.

JCK said...

You raise a very important distinction. Between the truth and reality. But, remember that we all have different truths - what we see, so you could be putting out everything, and someone in your life could say...Whaaat?? That isn't what is happening! :)

I love that you write about Dylan's strengths. He is obviously advanced in many areas, but still an adorable little guy -emotionally his age. I wouldn't put too much worry on this year - it is almost over. Do you think he is bored? Sometimes that is it. But, he might be advanced in his writing and other things, but still working on his social/developmental stages.

You are obviously a great, proactive mom. He will be fine. And, so will you. It's just the growing pains that are so difficult....

Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings said...


It almost sounds like you area apologizing for Dylan being smart, which I don't think you are. But as I read this then I started to think about whether or not I apologize for Jonathan being hyper and into superheroes and having an active imagination. We don't need to apologize for our children or for what we highlight on our blogs. It's our blogs and our boys are great! I know you know that -- I'm just letting you know that we all know that too and that I, personally, do not feel like you are bragging. i feel like you are telling us what is going on with Dylan and in your life. If we didn't like reading it then we wouldn't keep coming back to find out how you all are! And I, again personally, feel as proud of Dylan as you do when I read about him. I think it is great!

Elissa said...

J, you are awesome. D is awesome and you will all figure it out because you love and support like a family should. no matter what the "issue," every good parent has social and academic worries for their children. D is bright for his age. For sure. But, it is also not uncommon for boys of his age to not be overly social with other little kids. My oldest wasn't particularly, although he is now. Go with your gut and try not to stress as long as Dylan is content. If you discover he isn't content, do what you can to help, but know the rest is up to him. You can't protect him from being the "smartest in class" any more than you and I could be protected from being the "tallest girl in class" (oh, dreaded 8th grade dance. why did i even go to you???), all you can do is help him navigate it and to love him.

excuse me while i go have my book published ;-)

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I actually think you're pretty realistic--you seem like you get frustrated sometimes, as all parents do.

I think when people make those comments you could say something along the lines of "He just loves to learn things and he has so many adults that have the time to teach him--we have fun together."

Hopefully he will learn to delight in his intelligence--he is lucky to be good-looking as well; it does make a difference. Hopefully kindergarten will be the place where everything comes together socially--I bet it will.

Fabulessly Frugal said...

Oh Jen dear, you are perfect. You sometimes say what I've been trying to say for some time only in a coherent way that I can't seem to muster. I'll post something (although I'm on the opposite end of that spectrum & it seems everything I post lately is lacking rainbows & sprinkles) and then worry about how it will be perceived cause I sound like a big fat downer.

Know this, we read your blog because we like you. And between the lines we hear your frustration (sugarcoated as it may be some days) and we see your pride in that magical boy of yours (toned down as it may be some days) and we come back again and again for more of the same.

Amber said...

Ahh, it's me Amber! In case you were wondering who the weirdo that wrote you that last comment was. I was just signed into my "work" account.

Sparx said...

aha - reading back a bit as I've not been here for a while and I see I'm not mad in thinking his writing skills are very advanced. What does Dylan think about moving to the other class? Is he enjoying where he is?