She accomplished it.
The 2014 Brain Blast occurred last night at Edison Commons, and Ri stood nervous but proud at her poster about horses. She practiced the night before with me and did fabulous. The first time she read off her poster but made eye contact with me every once in a while. The second time she tried without reading it and she struggled a bit. I told her to look at the poster when she needed to if she got lost.
She has a knack of being able to bulls– when she doesn’t know the answer. I asked her what a horseshoe was made of and she responded without flinching “it’s made of 100 different metals.”
Hmm, really. I gently asked her how she knew that and she gently noted back to me “she just did.” I think this could either be a very good sign that she can stay composed under pressure or a very bad sign that she can lie through her teeth! I let her know that her dad is amazing at being able to answer questions that he doesn’t know the answers to and she’s inherited his quick thinking. But, she’s gotta be careful to not purposefully lie about things. I showed her Wikipedia and it’s description of what’s in a horseshoe. Basically two metals, maybe three or four. She lurched back and looked surprised.
The day of Brain Blast, she did not want to practice. She wouldn’t practice with David or my mom. I took her for a quick walk when I got home from work to calm her down. She was nervous but not overly so. We couldn’t find her name when we arrived because another girl had set up camp in her spot. We didn’t let Ri know (no unnecessary stress) and we set up in another location next to a “Cheesehead” (his project was how to make cheese). A few of his friends came up and started tasting the cheese samples. No one approached Ri. My mama bear sonar went off. I had to fight my urge to grab a random parent and ask him to hear Ri’s presentation. I did inform her that lots of kids were just hanging out and people were passing by their posters.
She seemed a little dejected but then her teacher came by and listened and asked questions. I had to move away so I didn’t butt in and tell Ri what to say. Let her be her, Mom! I kept that mantra in my head the rest of the night whenever I wanted to help her talk about the bridle she had as an exhibit or some of the fun facts she wrote down (actually, I did mention a fun fact once to keep the conversation going – I couldn’t resist).
She did really well with staying calm under pressure. She kept asking the time so I knew she was ready to go. But we hung in for an hour. Mario was very sweet with her, too. These two take care of each other, for sure. When I whispered to him that Ri was a little nervous and anxious for people to see her poster, he walked up to her and hugged her. Then he asked her to tell him about horses. It was darling.
She asked if she could walk around and see other people’s projects. She hung with a few boys from her class and watched their experiments. She ate a cupcake. She seemed fine and dandy. It was me that was a nervous wreck. We left an hour later and she picked Bob Evans for dinner (Cap City was first but the wait was too long). I asked her if she had fun. She hesitantly said yes. I asked if she’d do anything different next year and she answered “I’d do an experiment to attract more people.”
I thought that was extremely mature and self-aware of her. She didn’t throw a tantrum that less people approached her than she expected. She didn’t blame anyone. She didn’t make excuses. She acknowledged reality and took accountability. Her horse presentation was good and something she enjoyed talking about but she also accepted the fact that kids seemed more attracted to experiments. I’m telling you, she is wise beyond her years.
While at Bob Evans, Mario had a meltdown because he wanted to see pictures of his food choices rather than mere words (yes, that is our Mario). Ri gently consoled him and then said “we will get you extra yummy chocolate chip pancakes and I will play tic-tac-toe with you until our food comes, ok little buddy?” He smiled and hugged her. Yep, wise beyond her years.