Saturday, May 14, 2011

Carriers have trouble with math.....or just a Type A personality?

Every day when the boys and I pick Aliza up from school, I ask her three things.

"How was your day?"
"Did you learn anything?"
"Did you make any new friends?"

She usually responds with "fine."  "no."  "no."  That's just our routine, I guess.

So on Wednesday of this week we picked her up, I asked her those three questions, and she responded as usual.  Then she told me that a friend of hers had thrown up at school and had to take a nap in the nurse's office.  I asked her how she knew that and she said she'd seen her, laying on the cot in the nurse's office.

It didn't occur to me at the time to ask what Aliza was doing in the nurse's office, probably because I was maneuvering our way out of the school parking lot, dodging kids, parents, and cars, while watching the crossing guards and keeping half an eye on the boys in the back of the car.

When we got home Aliza went straight upstairs to unwind with a little iCarly, and I noticed a message on the machine.  It was from her teacher.

Apparently that afternoon, during math, Aliza had burst into tears, claimed she was very tired, and needed to go lay down.  Her teacher was really concerned because it was way out of character for her to suddenly fall apart in class like that.  She said that Aliza said she'd actually felt very tired, in the afternoons, a couple of times that week.  She wondered if anything else was going on that I knew of.

I got the boys settled with a Dora video and some cereal, so they'd be okay for a few minutes alone so I could go up and talk to Aliza.

"I don't know what 9 times 9 is." was Aliza's response, when I asked her what happened at school that day.

Evidently, they'd just had a timed multiplication test and she'd performed poorly.  She got only 14 out of 50, and she was really worried because next week they will have another timed test just like that, that will go on her report card.

The very first problem on the timed test was 9 times 9, and when she didn't know that one, she couldn't bring herself to move on very well.  She did, because she managed to answer 14 of them correctly, but she tortured herself over that first problem.

Sometimes I think it might be easier if I didn't know so much.  I know she's a carrier of the Fragile X gene and I'm always watching her for the signs of problems that carriers can have.  I know that carriers often have trouble with math (I certainly did, and do).  Every time she's doing math homework and has trouble with something, that's immediately where my thoughts go.

When if I stopped and looked at the whole forest and not each individual tree, I'd remember that she really is very good at math.

Of course if I didn't know about her being a carrier, I'd still think she got the "bad math" gene from me, because I always struggled with it.

So is it just her perfectionist personality?  And what can I do about that?  She certainly doesn't get that from me.

This is how I feel about math.

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