Tuesday, March 4, 2014

How gifted kids just seem to 'get it'

Sometimes, I am just so utterly amazed by Gabe.  I don't understand how he just gets math.  We had realized, a month or so ago, that he was having trouble with borrowing in subtraction - he wasn't really into it and was a bit confounded by it.  So we showed him a couple times and then left it.  Literally...we haven't done anything for weeks (though by "done anything", what I really mean is "done anything formal".  Gabe is constantly working through equations - on his magna doodle, on the iPad, in the car, etc etc.)  So this morning, he pulls out his magnet numbers and just starts tearing through 3 and 4 digit addition and subtraction problems (with regrouping and borrowing).  It's like it just...clicked.  I said to Gray..."When did he figure that out?"  and Gray just looked at me and said, "I don't know...but are you really surprised?"  This is typical Gabe-style learning.  On the rare occasions that he doesn't get something/isn't interested enough in a subject to learn it right now...after a while of not touching it, he will end up coming back to it and bam, he knows it.

Of course, then there are the creepy times where he knows stuff that we literally never taught him.  (Now, a lot of the things we have 'taught' consist of a 5 minute conversation, showing him how to do the thing, and then him just having at it...and after like 3 problems, it's cake.)  But I remember when he was 2...and we figured out he could skip-count.  by pretty much anything.  First it was 2's, 5's, 10's...then 100's, then 11's??  then all the rest.  He can easily skip count better than I can...and has for a long while.  And just yesterday, we discovered he could convert an improper fraction to a proper one...and I can't for the life of me remember teaching him that.  Maybe we showed him once?

Anyway, for the sake of not sounding incredibly braggy (too late?), I'm going to stop with the showing off all the cool stuff Gabe can do and get to the meat of this:  gifted kids brains are just...wired differently.  And that's important to take into account.  They don't often need the repetition that other kids do to really get a concept.  They seem to generalize better.  (If you can do 2 digit addition, why not 4 or 6?  What's the difference?  If you can add regular integers, why not decimals? ...with the added caveat of making sure you always line up the decimal point, and add in zero placeholders if the remainders aren't the same length, of course).  But I don't think that that is always the case with NT kids.  The leaps and connections that the gifted mind makes really speaks to their learning (or aquiring knowledge) process.

So why do we try and make them learn like everyone else?  Public education has these arbitrary denominations based on age, there is lots of repetition and having to write out essays about how you arrived at your answer...and for some kids, I'm sure that that can be helpful.  But when the process is so obvious to you, so intuitive, why do you have to go through that kind of drudgery?  It doesn't make sense to me.  You wouldn't make a child with a learning disability or a motor coordination issue do certain things that NT kids do...so why do that with gifted children?

With all of this being said, we are quietly assuming that public school won't work for us (though we haven't ruled it out entirely).  We are looking to put him in a different school next year, because, while the montessori preschool he is in right now has been good about meeting his cognitive needs (for the most part), they are an administrative nightmare, and ridiculously expensive to boot.  So we are looking for a place with integrated learning, a multi-age environment, and emphasis on learning through play and experience.  Also, a school that goes beyond K would be ideal, as the schools that stop at K won't have curriculum (esp in math) that far ahead of K.  And at this point, I'm not convinced there is much of anything math-wise, that even 2nd grade could teach Gabe.  Which is scary...but that's beside the point. :P  Anyway, we have a few options that we are in the process of checking out, so hopefully something will work out, even part-time - because again, I am not averse to the idea of homeschooling...to a point.  I just think that Gabe would really miss being around kids, and frankly, sometimes I need a break - for work, and for relaxing.  So we will see - I'll keep you posted.

In other news, Jules has learned to put things on his head when we say 'hat'.  It's kind of ridiculously cute.  He'll be holding a block or something, and we say, "Jules...hat!"  and he holds it up to his head.  Silly kid.  He's also officially taking like 3-5 steps with some regularity, so I guess I would say that he has started walking, but it's not quite at the point of using it as his main means of transport.  He's getting more brazen about it every day though, the little goober.

What else...?  Oh, Gabe's birthday is right around the corner...I can't believe my little baby is going to be 4.  And then Jules's first birthday is only 2 months after that...we are thinking very strongly about doing an 'Itsy Bitsy Spider' theme, because he is all but obsessed with that song.  Not that he would really care, but I think it could be quite adorable, and I already have some ideas - thanks for sucking me into your black hole of amazingness, Pinterest.

Until next time,

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

My Child is in a Testing Phase

...Bring on the booze.  Okay, not really.  But really.

I meant to write earlier than this, but it has been a rough couple of weeks, and blogging got left a bit by the wayside.  Apologies.

I actually have a couple posts in mind to write, but at this exact moment, my brain is on fuzzed-out mode, and needs to kind of rant.  Double apologies.

So, as you can tell, things have been pretty stressful - life is pretty busy right now, which always adds to the stress, but the main reason for the crazy is that we are in full-blown testing phase purgatory right now.  Gabe, like all little kids, goes through definitive periods of time which we like to call 'testing phases', which basically means that he pushes and pushes and argues and does things he knows he isn't supposed to and drives us bananas for anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.  AKA acts like a huge butt.  (That's the technical definition).  It's is super frustrating because I know how he is capable of acting, and I also know that this is totally normal, kids toeing the line, feeling out boundaries, discovering a sense of self, that his opinions are his own ...but it essentially boils down to 'he wants what he wants right now and nothing will deter him'.  We used to be able to offer choices...if he wanted to do something he wasn't allowed to do, we would offer a few other choices and he would pick one.  Now it's nothing but "NO, I don't want any of those!" and whining and crying and yelling...super fun times for all.  He also tries to find loopholes, or manipulate his way out of things, which, while clever and impressive, is hugely annoying when you are, for example, trying to punish him.  Sigh.

One of the upshots of this is a stubborn refusal to cooperate with most things.  Including answering questions.  Now granted, Gabe has never been the best question answerer...he refuses to 'perform' on cue...which is fine, who likes to play monkey, really?  But when it's things like "Hey Gabe, what did you do at school day?" and it's like pulling teeth to get even one or two things that he did, because he 'just doesn't want to tell you that'...it can get pretty damn frustrating.  Clearly, this only gets worse during testing phases.  But now we are reconsidering the IQ test at this point...I know that having a professional asking the questions, and someone he doesn't know already might make a difference, but I can totally see him just being like 'I just don't want to answer that' to the psychologist...and that would be bad. But we are just riding it out to see how things go...we have another month before we have to make any decisions.  It's just...draining, you know?  But it never hurts to take a step back.

If anyone has any advice for how to deal with super smart, manipulative, whiny almost-4 year olds...leave a comment.  We can use all the help we can get!

I feel like I need to say that while the testing phase really sucks, it is by no means all the time, every day. Gabe is still his sweet, kind, curious self a lot of the time...it's just when he's NOT, that it's like,  "woah there, kid, chill yourself."

Tangent Alert!!  Gabe's mental math calculations are just getting so crazy good.  Like, he will often arrive at an answer faster than I do.  (Granted, I am not the best mental calculator, but still...)  And he plays with big numbers, adding two sets of 3 digit numbers, with regrouping (ie. 485 +856 or whatever).  He has also been big into squares, cubes and the like.  Oh and reducing fractions.  It's pretty magnificent, especially when you know that he isn't drilling any of this, it's just...there.  In his head.  I don't know how he holds that kind of information, especially for the calculation stuff...he must be so visual to be able to manipulate the numbers mentally like that.  And he definitely tried to eat my nose the other day, so there's that.

Since this post was a bit ranty, I'll end with some good news.  Jules just turned 9 months, and is right on the verge of walking.  He can stand up on his own, and take a step or two before falling on his butt.  It's pretty adorable.  Also, he has discovered 'people food' and has since become a bottomless pit for things like toast, fruit and pancakes ;).

So yeah, totally the most cohesive post ever.  Not impressive.  I promise I will do my best to be less divergent in the future. 

Until next time,


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Giftedness and Perfectionism - when it's NOT okay to be wrong.

“Perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order.” 

Perfectionism...a disease with the side effect of being good at things, and also kind of hating yourself.  I would know, I have a bad case of it.  Let me tell you this, perfectionists work their asses off to be perfect (let's talk academically here, for the moment), but the gain isn't anywhere near the emotional drain of possibly failing at being perfect.  Did you catch that?  "Possibly failing at being perfect".  I guess it should actually say "often or always failing at being perfect".  Perfectionists aren't happy unless they are perfect (who would have guessed?  Yay for etymology!) or damn well near it.  How often does 'perfect' actually happen though?  Seriously.  I am the girl that would beat herself up when she got a 94% on an organic chemistry exam.  (No lie, I loved that class.)  The sad thing is, even if I DID manage a 100%, it would be like, 'woohoo, I got a 100%', an elation of which would last about 5 seconds, and then I would be back to..."so now what?  Oh, there's another thing I need to be perfect at.  Time to fret!"  Yeah, not good, not good at all.  Perfectionists get little to no satisfaction with just working hard and being proud of the work you accomplished.  It is rather sucky state of being.  

My husband is not like this.  He is...how shall we put this...kind of academically lazy.  But he is so damn smart, he can almost get away with this.  His putting in 25% effort is like another person putting in 90% effort.  That being said, he should probably put in more effort than he does and like, cure cancer or something.  (Or a topic more relevant to his being an astrophysicist like discover what dark matter is or find a new race of alien-gremlins on Mars or whatever.)

Why am I talking about this?  Of course - young master Gabriel.  Gabe is an interesting creature in this way.  He is not competitive, but he does not like to be wrong.  And here's the thing...he rarely is.  (I think that's part of the problem, honestly.)

An example:
Gabe is doing square root something or other on ixl, and he gets super excited about knowing what the next answer is, so that he 'accidentally' types the number in reverse (I believe it was something like the square root of 225, and he typed in '51' instead of '15'.  After he pressed enter, there was such shock on his face, then he just crumbled.  I felt so bad.  He was crying and trying to explain that he didn't mean it and it broke my heart.  Gray and I (Gray being husband, for all those who don't know), sat down and had a little talk with him about how it's ok to be wrong, it's okay to make mistakes, we know he knew the answer, the fact that he typed it wrong doesn't change the fact that he knew it, and even if he hadn't known, that would have been okay too.  Because, how can you learn if you don't make mistakes?  We told him stories about Mama and Dada not being perfect, even using a (true) story about how Dada took a test in Differential Equations, and got an answer to a really complicated question wrong because he wrote that 1+1=1.  Which made Gabe laugh (because Dada was so silly).  This conversation seemed to help, and after a few minutes, he was his happy self again.

Gabe doesn't like to do things that are hard for him.  Like I said before, things are rarely hard - even after I show him something new, after a couple minutes of 'teaching' him, and two or three questions, he has usually figured it out, wholly and completely.  It's insane how fast he assimilates information, especially in math.  But, on the rare occasions that something is challenging for him, he doesn't like to do it.  It's hard.   It actually requires effort.  And whenever we stumble upon these things, I try and take advantage of them.  Because kids need to learn to work hard.  They need to be challenged and not always get everything right.  (It literally took me until sometime in college before I learned how to study.  That was brutal.  I don't want Gabe to have to deal with that.)  Besides, if everything is too easy, he will never want to take risks, or try anything that might seem out of his reach, because he is used to his 'perfect' little comfort zone.  He will be afraid to try.  And that is unacceptable.  I will make sure my child is challenged and frustrated, and will be content in the knowledge that it will make him a better person.  

Apparently perfectionism among the gifted is a common problem - one that has been addressed all over the internet and beyond.  Luckily for us, Gabe doesn't seem to be as bad as he could be (at least, for now).  He doesn't freak out if he colors outside the lines, for example.  (Though, funnily enough, I recall a memory of Gabe, around 2 years old, writing letters.  If he didn't like the way the letter looked, he would promptly erase it and rewrite it.  I also do this, even now.  Some apples don't fall far from the tree, as it were.)  Could Gabe's perfectionist tendencies be worse?  Certainly.  But they could also be better.  And so, that's why we, as parents, are in the business of beating Gabe over the proverbially head with the idea that "It's OKAY to make mistakes.  NO ONE is perfect."

"It's OKAY to make mistakes.  NO ONE is perfect."

...Boy, could I have used that mantra as a kid.

For more info, read: Perfectionism and the Highly Gifted Child, by Shaun Hately.

Until next time,


Friday, January 31, 2014

Let's talk about talking...or not talking

I have no idea what to write tonight.  I want to write - I drank a glass (half a glass?) of wine, and am feeling chatty.  That being said, I'm not sure this is going to make for a good blog post.  I suppose, if it turns out really awful, I can just delete it, or leave it as a draft until I come back and laugh at how horrible it is, and THEN delete it.

Anyway, let's start with my little one - Jules.  He's eight months and has big cheeks.  He has also recently started using baby sign language.  We didn't try to do sign language with Gabe when he was a baby...I'm not sure if it wasn't as popular back then, or if we just didn't know anything about it.  We did end up teaching him some signs a little before he was 2 years old, because he wasn't talking at that point.  In fact, Gabe was actually in Early Intervention Services for about four months getting speech therapy, because he didn't talk.  We suspected he was just a late talker, and we knew his receptive language was WAY higher than the expressive, but EIS was free, the pediatrician suggested it, and so, we did it.  The sign language was HUGELY helpful.  Gabe was clearly excited to be able to communicate what he wanted in a way other than pointing and grunting/screaming/crying.  And let me tell you, so were we.  Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to communicate effectively with your child.  Anyway, he signed for a little while, and then, right around his 2nd birthday, started saying words.  Then a lot of words.  Then sentences.  Then many sentences.  (This all happened within the span of days/weeks.)  It was bizarre.  He literally went from not talking at all to full sentences, pretty much.  (note: his therapist was very surprised by all this, apparently this is not super common, at least among kids in EIS.)  Come to find out, people in the gifted world would call this "Einstein Syndrome" (for more about this phenomenon, go here).  

Anyway, Jules.  Since we already knew a bunch of signs from Gabe's little foray into the land of hand talking, we thought, "hey why not teach him some?"  So, since he was pretty young, 4 months maybe? we have been doing some signs with him.  Just the basics: milk, mama, dada, more, all done, I love you...maybe a few others sprinkled in here and there.  'Milk' was the first one he picked up, and has been doing it for a while - though I'm pretty sure that in addition to using it for its intended purpose, he also uses the 'milk' sign when he wants mama.  (Side effect of breastfeeding?  Maybe.  Perhaps he is just extrapolating 'milk factory' from 'milk' in general.  Sigh.)  Recently though, he started doing a few more - 'all done; and "more"...and also "itsy bitsy".  Yes, I know that's not really a sign, but the Itsy Bitsy Spider is his favorite song, and we always do the little hand motions when we sing to him - so lately he has been asking for the song by putting his fingers together in an 'itsy bitsy' sort of way, and then tries to do the motions along with us, to some extent.  It's pretty freakin' adorable.  (As is his clapping.  And his face.)  

I think the signs were a great thing to teach him - the idea that babies so young can visibly communicate a specific want/need is just mind-blowing, really.  Now it's not always easy to tell what sign he is trying to do..for example, I'm pretty sure Jules has been attempting 'all done' for a while, but I just didn't realize because, well...to be honest, he mostly just flails his arms up in the air.  I mean, when I figured it out, it was pretty obvious, and I totally get that the actual hand motion for 'all done' is tough for a baby...but babies flail around kind of as a rule, you know?  So it required a little more discernment on my part, that's all.

...What the hell is this post about?  Baby sign language, clearly.  But why?  Well, I think it's a good idea, though by all means not necessary.  That is, unless you have an almost 2 year old who isn't talking and is really pissed off about it.  Then it's pretty necessary.  

Ah, an angle.  I think I've found one.  It's probably obtuse (don't judge me, it's past midnight).

Gifted kids and talking - early vs. late vs. normal.

From everything I have read, gifted kids talk early.  Really early.  They start talking at 6 months, 7 months, 5 weeks...and develop large, precocious vocabularies.  This is, in fact, one of the easiest ways to spot a gifted infant/toddler, so they say.  But then, there are kids like Gabe.  Kids who were like, "Talk?  Yeah...I'm not going to do that until I can do it right."  Or maybe "I don't feel like it right now.  Or now.  Or now.  Okay fine, I'll talk.  Jerks."  (Probably the latter.  Because little kids are goobers.)  This is apparently also common among gifted kids.  But my thought is, what about the kids that talk at a normal time, i.e., twelve months?  I'm sure there have got to be SOME gifted kids who talked around then, right?  Statistics alone have to back that one up.  But how often does it actually happen?  Do we even know?  

* * *
If you have a gifted child who talked at a normal time, I would love to hear about it in the comments.  I would love to hear about late and early talkers too.  Honestly, if your child has ever uttered any word, any word at all, then I'd love to hear about it. 

Anyway, with all this talk about early vs. late vs. normal talking...I have found myself on rare occasions thinking about this very thing with respect to Jules, in relation to Gabe's giftedness: if Jules talks at a normal time, would I be upset in any way?  Would I rather him talk late?  He babbles a lot, but no words yet, so he's clearly not an early talker.  Would I start to think, "Oh clearly that means he's not gifted"?  (Crazy thoughts, I know.  Actually, I should probably note that this line of thinking is more of a philosophical musing than an actual concern.  I do that a lot.  I'm a muser.  Also a worrier.  You'll figure that out soon enough, I'm sure.)  

This leads us to the immensely important topic: "How not to compare your children."  I'll give you a quick heads up -- I don't really know the answer, but I do know this: it's not good to compare your kids.  I dealt with a hefty dose of comparisonism as a child, and I've got to tell you...it kind of sucks, and I'm sure anyone who has been in that situation would agree.  We should love and celebrate each child's unique qualities, don't you think?  The problem (for us anyway), is that when your first kid is like Gabe, your whole perception of what is normal is totally, utterly skewed.  I have no real conception of normal milestones, because Gabe never did things at a normal time.  So with Jules, we just keep telling ourselves that he will do things at his own pace...he's not Gabe, he will be wonderful and special in his own way.  The interesting thing is, if I had a choice, I'm not sure whether I would choose for him to be so advanced, or not...for that matter, I don't know if I would have chosen it for Gabe either.  I don't really want to think about it, truth be told.  Bottom line is, they are who they are, and we will love them no matter what.  Kind of a lame answer, but 100% from the heart.  Just like all the oxygenated blood and stuff.

Until next time,


Thursday, January 30, 2014

To IQ or not to IQ?

For the parent of a potentially gifted kid, that is the question (at least, one of the more common questions).  But what's the right answer?  Honestly, it beats the heck out of me.  But let's explore this for a bit.

*random interjection:  I had caffeine this morning, so I apologize in advance if this gets a little kooky-crazy.  For a more interactive experience, you should probably imagine me frenetically pacing around the room, speed-talking and gesticulating wildly.  (Or you know, typing.  Whatever.)

Right off the bat, I think that there is probably not one right answer, but several pretty good answers - and all of them depend on the child.  I don't think you can have a stock response.  I mean, what would it be?

"Child A is good at XYZ so he should get IQ tested?"  
"Child B is X many years ahead of his peers, so she should get tested?"  
"Child C is happy, yet potentially working below his capabilities...he should get tested?" "Child D is very smart, but only 3 (or 4 or 5) - she should get tested?"

As you can see, it gets thornier and thornier.  But I think the most important thing to keep in mind, when trying to decide whether or not to get your kid tested, is that your kid is the same kid before and after an IQ test.  The number doesn't change anything.  (It also doesn't always accurately depict what's going on.  But more on that later.  Maybe.)  

I think as parents, we need to understand our motivation behind getting our child tested.  Why are you doing it?  What are you looking for?  Some reasons are good reasons and others...well, let's just say they are a little bit...suspect.  I think we all know about parents that use their kids as fodder for their own self-aggrandizement - it's not pretty.  And a lot of the time, I think the kid ends up resenting their role in the whole thing.  This is not motivation to get a kid tested - if you do it because you want to brag, or so you can feel proud that you housed such a super-smart baby in your uterus that you must put their oh so impressive intelligence quotient in a frame above the mantel, well...don't.  Just don't.  

But there are a lot of good reasons to test - the big one (for us anyway) being advocacy.  Advocating for your child is a bitch (pardon my french).  It's an endless struggle getting the right services/placement for your child - and while I'm not sure that having a piece of paper blatantly showing a school administrator that your kid needs more than they are getting in school will be the golden ticket to perfectly individualized and appropriate instruction...it definitely can't hurt, and should probably help a good deal.

Another good reason is to really find out what's going on - what are your child's strengths/weaknesses?  Are there learning disabilities masked by their giftedness?  (This applies the other way around, too).  How best can we serve the educational needs of this particular gifted child?  Where are they emotionally/socially?  (Now, a lot of these things, you can get just by knowing your child - but sometimes, it's good to hear this stuff from a professional.  You know, someone telling you you aren't totally crazy.  That would be nice.)

Anyway, this post is a bit rambling, but the end result is, do what you feel is right for you and your kid.  Keep in mind that in some late elementary grade (3rd-ish?), schools will usually pay to test your kid if it looks like he needs it.  This won't apply to homeschoolers, and this won't help your 4 year old if you are trying to figure out whether to go into K early, or skip it altogether and move right into 1st.  So there is no cookie cutter formula.  Parenting doesn't have a lot of those.  Sucks, really.  

Oh also, insurance generally won't cover testing (unless it is under the auspices of 'delays'... 'autism/adhd screening',  and the like.)  And it's not cheap.  We're talking hundreds of dollars.  So that's a factor too.  For us, that's really not a feasible option - poor PhD candidate hubby and part-time researcher mommy don't make for wildly expansive incomes.  BUT being creative and resourceful helps.  We are currently in the process of trying to get Gabe into a study that performs IQ tests on 4 and 5 year olds for free, as part of ADHD research.  If that works out, it will be super because 1. free! and 2.  we are contributing to scientific research, which is totally bonus and gratifying.  (P.S.  there are no drugs or invasive actions involved in this study, so don't go thinking crazy thoughts, people.)  The one possible disadvantage to this is that I'm not convinced that these psychologists are familiar with gifted kids, as a rule (something that would be really helpful in this case), and so I am hoping that there won't be a problem with ceilings or that sort of thing.  Shrug - we shall see.

We want to get Gabe tested to figure out the K/1st, should we accelerate or not, and to help us advocate for appropriate placement stuff. Our current school district seems...moderately willing to work with us IF Gabe is advanced as we say he is.  (cough cough, see my first post.)  But really, they don't want to see him till 5.  And when you have a 3 year old who would gain nothing from K, and maybe not 1st either RIGHT NOW...you start to wonder what would truly be in his best interest: following protocol, or following your child.  (Stay turned for a later post on our thoughts on whether or not to homeschool.)  Testing also gives us clout for free advocacy services through gifted societies such as Davidson Institute and the National Society for the Gifted and Talented.  

In short, we have this:

and we want that to blossom into this:

by way of this:


and this:

and we will do everything we can do avoid this entirely:

Until next time,


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Gifted Children and "The Reaction"

"You must be drilling him."
"Stop teaching him, let him watch T.V."
"Oh...sure he can do that."
"If he is advanced as you say he is..."
"Oh, there must be something wrong with him."


Clearly I'm delusional.  Either that, or a tiger mom/hot-housing drill sergeant.  To my STUBBORN THREE YEAR OLD.  I mean seriously, how does one force a stubborn three year old (any three year old, really) to do anything?

I'm Marnie. This is my story. 

I have two beautiful children, Gabriel (the aforementioned three year old), and Julian, a wiggly eight month old bundle of baby squish.  

I'm just going to put it out there:  Gabe is gifted.  Boom!  No, we have not had him tested yet - so I will amend that and say, we think very strongly that he is gifted.  Let's keep one thing in mind - even as I write this, even though I know in my heart it's true...it feels like I just said a dirty word.  "Gifted".  What does it even mean?  It sounds privileged, it sound arrogant.  I don't mean it in that way at all.  So what do I mean?  Well, in simple terms, he is advanced.  In more specific terms, I mostly mean that my three year old loves math.  LOVES - all capital letters.  He loves math (and numbers in general), the way another 3 year old loves trains.  He wants to "play" with them all the time, draw them, read about that, sleep with them at night, talk about them, find connections to number in almost anything.  He literally builds numbers and equations out of legos.  He draws "number people" playing at the park.  I made him squishy felt numbers for Christmahanukkah.  He plays and sleeps with them.  He does math workbooks.  Anything math, and my kid is in.  It's his passion.  Do we force it on him? Hell no!  But we do indulge his passion in the same way a mother of a train-obsessed kid would.  Instead of buying him train pillows, and lots of train sets, and train books... it's numbers.  If I ask Gabe, "Hey, what do you want to play?  Do you want to color, read a book, play a puzzle or add decimals?"  9 times out of 10 he will say "decimals".  That's my kid.  And who am I to squash that?  He certainly does other things - he loves legos, he loves books (he learned to read at 2, but would much rather be read to),  he colors, he watches T.V., he runs and plays catch and tackles his little brother.  He just so happens to also do 2nd-3rd grade math.  At three years old.  

Now before you start thinking this is going to be a 'brag blog' or that this is a 'brag post', let me clarify something.

Despite what you may think, I do not go out of my way to tell people these things.  I used to - in the way that all parents who are excited about their children's accomplishments do.  Someone would ask what Gabe is up to, or he would have done something that I thought was really awesome, and so I would tell people.  And then...I would get "The Reaction".  

If I may... (indulge the minor repetition)
"You must be drilling him."
"Stop teaching him, let him watch T.V."
"Oh...sure he can do that."
"If he is advanced as you say he is..."
"Oh, there must be something wrong with him."  (I simply love that one.)

"The Reaction" is awful.  It sucks.  It really really does.  I got so angry and indignant and frustrated...especially because if you spend more than 5 minutes with my kid, you will figure it out yourself.  But, just telling people brought all the skeptics out of the woodwork and right to my front door.  So I stopped talking about it.  Even when asked a direct question: "Wow, he's reading already?"  "He wrote that?"  "He can add?"  (and subtract and multiply and divide...)  I use my stock reply:

Yeah, he's just really in "insert appropriate vague reply here".  (He's really into "numbers"/He's really into "words"/He likes to"write stuff, that's kind of his thing.")  This is always followed  but a little shrug and smile.  And not a lick more information.  Because I know you won't believe me anyway.  And I don't want to be pissed off at you today.  So I keep my mouth shut.  (For the most part, anyway.)

I wanted to start this blog to talk about giftedness - it's quirks, it's delights, and it's challenges.  I have done a lot of research on gifted education, and it turns out, I have a lot to say on the matter - school, success, happiness, socialization, loneliness, asynchrony... I wasn't sure where to start, and this seemed as good a place as any.  Any parent of a gifted kid knows what I'm talking about it.  

Thus begins my account of this ongoing wild journey as mother to one of the coolest kid I know.

I shall await the slew of disbelieving comments with a lot of hope and a just dash of snark.

Until next time,