Most things, academically, come easy to Marley. In kindergarten, She'd sit at the table, read the homework instructions and complete it on her own. Maya, sometimes, would need to work a little harder.
When it came time for a test, I wouldn't stress if Marley didn't study but Frank and I would begin prepping Maya at least a week in advance. I had to learn early on that they were two individuals that learned differently. I needed to stop comparing them to one another.
Maya would get frustrated and discouraged if she couldn't grasp something. She'd purposely push buttons so we'd want to throw in the towel. At times, studying for 1st grade math was torture. After a while, I realized that I couldn't put the blame entirely on her. I had to take a step back and admit how we were contributing to the situation:
1) With life happening, I'd sometimes forget that a test was coming up. As a result, we'd end up cramming the night before. Not Good. I couldn't be mad that she didn't remind me. She's 6!!! It was my job to make it a priority.
2) I needed to practice more patience. My fuse was short and I'd get frustrated because it was easy, right? WRONG. As I said, She's 6. This was the first time she was learning this stuff. It was unfair of me to expect her to know it.
3) I had to come to the realization that she wasn't being a brat. When she was having a difficult time, it would chip away at her confidence. Her immediate reaction was to give up. She'd get frustrated and begin to act out.
Before it was time to study, I'd say the following prayer:
Give me the strength to remain patient and Maya the strength to not get frustrated or discouraged. I have faith in her and I know that she is capable. We'll keep working at it and we will succeed. I push because I know she can do it. I want her to have confidence in herself and know all that she is worth. I love her and I want her to always strive for the best.
This calmed and allowed me to put the situation into perspective.
On the day of the test, Maya and I would say a little prayer and I'd send her on her way. I knew in my heart that it was more than just a grade. She'd studied so hard and would be devastated if she didn't do well. I'd be anxious throughout the entire day. I'd call before I got home:
Me: Hi Maya.
Maya: Hey Mom.
Me: So..... how was your math test?
(I was reluctant to ask more questions because I didn't want her to feel pressured.)
Me: Ok. See you when I get home. Love you.
Maya: Love you too.
For an entire week after, I'd stress out. Every day I'd ask if she got it back.
Maya: Mom, I got my test back.
Me: OK....so how'd we do?
Maya: I GOT A 95%!!!!!!
Me: HOLLA!!!!! YOU GOT A 95%
Maya: I'm kind of sad that I didn't get a 100%
Me: 95% is good enough for me baby, but let's see what question you got wrong so you can make sure you get it right the next time.
Subconsciously, her success as a student = My success as a parent.
With all of our pre-test anxiety Maya consistently gets 90+ on tests and great reports from her teachers. But even with that stress still remains...at least once a month during test time. I need to prepare myself, starting now, for the standardized tests she'll begin to take in the 3rd grade. Uuuuggggggghhhhhh.