If you'd told me this a year ago, I'd have laughed and said you're talking about another family. But if you believe report cards (really 3 sheets of paper stapled together), the star student in the Doudna household is Julian.
Overall Julian did better, and, more importantly, showed more improvement than Gabriel. Not just on academic skills, but in things like "listening and speaking strategies." Julian's teacher comments contained no qualifiers, like, "Gabriel is doing better at sitting still and listening." Instead gushed about his strong reading and comprehension. Julian's standards are lower of course, but even allowing for that, he did better.
Next year, class size in both boys' classes will leap 50% from 20 kids in a class to 30. Don't get your glasses, you read that right: THIRTY.
I've been thinking that this will affect Julian far more; not just because he'll be in only 1st grade and that large a group of 5- and 6-year-olds turns from teaching into crowd control, but because Julian really likes to interact with teachers and ask questions. Gabriel will follow whatever track Gabriel is on; it's hard to influence him.
Yet I wonder if my concern is misplaced. Gabriel repeatedly complains that he doesn't like school and that he's bored -- yet his work contains many careless mistakes. Julian, incredibly, is far far more diligent (if slow) about his work.
We've always known Gabriel was a bit of an oddball, with polarized skills and unmatched dedication when he finds something he likes -- but very difficult to motivate in areas he doesn't like. Maybe Gabriel's the one who needs more individual or customized attention, to harness his power, and build his areas of deficiency. Julian, it seems, of the two boys, is the one will take care of business regardless.
With California public schools in such disarray, I'm almost wondering if we shouldn't investigate private school. I can already feel our checkbook cringing at the idea, times 3. But maybe it'd be worth it, if it meant that our strange and remarkable firstborn would flourish.