Our Achieving Son Will Whelm You With His Statistically Average Abilities

Matt Butner
Oct 7, 2019 · 3 min read
Our son thinking ordinary thoughts. Image from Pixabay

By the time our son was nine years old, he was already reading at a third-grade level. His comprehension of math, science, and social studies were also remarkably age-appropriate. I’ve read that having a high-achieving child can be an overwhelming experience. And some kids, let’s face it, are downright underwhelming. It is a special feeling to have so many other parents tell us how whelmed they are by our regular son. Sometimes when we look at him, we even find ourselves a little whelmed.

From the minute he was born, my wife and I knew our son was destined for middle-of-the-roadness. He was in exactly the 50th percentile for height, weight, and head size throughout his infancy and toddler-hood. He started walking at 12 months, which is par for the course. By 21 months, he was forming short sentences, astounding onlookers with his exquisite developmental timing. Just for perspective, most kids hit those milestones either before or after the charts say they should. His pediatrician has told us numerous times that she has never before seen such a typical child. By the time he reached kindergarten, our son was head and shoulders above his classmates in terms of regularness.

Throughout elementary school, our son never ceased making us proud with his nothing-specialness. Socially, he was right about where you want a kid to be. He was not the most popular kid, but certainly had plenty of friends. He was not the star of his little league team, but he won the “Mr. Consistent” award three years in a row. When it came time to review his report cards, my wife and I would look at each other and say, “Yup, that’s about right!”

Middle school got off to a bit of a bumpy start, as is to be expected. The school work was harder, the social dynamics more complex, and our son reacted to it all in completely understandable ways. His reading comprehension briefly dipped to fifth-and-a-half grade level during sixth grade, but he rebounded quickly and reclaimed his spot squarely in the middle of his peer group. He stopped hanging around with some of his friends from elementary school, but gained an exactly equal number of new friends to balance things out. Our son never really stood out from the crowd, which was an incredible benefit given how awful middle school kids can be.

Now, as he begins his high school experience, our son is smack-dab in the center by all measures. He’s on the freshman basketball team and is on pace to make varsity by his junior year, right about when that typically happens. We’ve started having the “college conversation,” but we don’t want to put any undue pressure on the boy as not to damage his pretty-much-right-on-the-money self esteem. Advanced placement classes would be great, but plain ol’ placement ones are fine too.

All in all, we can’t complain about how our son is turning out. We love him dearly, and we think he has a really decent future ahead of him. With so many exceptional children in the world, our run-of-the-mill son stands alone as the rule. And that’s pretty awesome.

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Matt Butner

Written by

High school Class Clown runner-up, 1997. Still salty about it.

Slackjaw

Slackjaw

Medium humor. Large laughs.

Matt Butner

Written by

High school Class Clown runner-up, 1997. Still salty about it.

Slackjaw

Slackjaw

Medium humor. Large laughs.

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