How could I tell that BeanBean was gifted?
Maybe it's a self-fullfilling prophecy. When he was brand new, he went to NICU and I didn't get to see and hold him until he was 23 hours old. He was asleep when I was wheeled in, and I said "Oh, that's my little boy, he looks just like he belongs to my family!" and he turned, opened his eyes and looked right into mine. I was so thrilled that he recognized my voice right away (perfectly normal, btw
). When someone came to change his pants and take him out of his box, the entire time he kept his eyes focused on me. They picked him up, he was passed around to Mike and my best friend and my sister, and still he kept his eyes on me. He tracked amazingly well. He was an "old soul," and when he looked at me I saw a *person*.
Fast forward to his first word-- we were at the doctor's, he was 4 weeks old (WBC) and I had just finished changing and dressing him. I kissed him and was saying his name to him, "You're my sweet little boy baby, my sweet little Eli bean," and such. He looked at me and grinned, wiggled excitedly and said "Eli!"
I thought it was a fluke, so I said, "Did you just say Eli? Are you Eliyahu?" "Eliyah!"
Even then, I wasn't sure. I've heard of babies saying words at 4 months (I did) but certainly not 4 weeks. I kept talking and singing to him until he fell asleep (we had a 6-block walk home) and put it out of my mind. When we got home, I changed his pants, and he said "Eli" for my mother, my sister, my niece, my best friend and finally for Mike. What could I do? I wrote it down in his baby book.
Later that week, he learned a few more words; he strung his first sentence together at 7.5 weeks-- "Eli, nurzh!" If you think he didn't know what he was talking about, think again! :LOL I'll never forget being in the bathtub at 3 am when he was about 8 weeks old. Mike brought him downstairs to me and said "He says he wants to nurse. I heard him. He knows what he wants, and it's mamma."
Early verbal ability is only one small measure of intellect, and truth to tell it's not all that important. It's an easy way for me to make a point about BeanBean (and his sister, who at three months has several words of her own) but on it's own it would not be enough for me to proclaim to the world that my son is gifted; precocious yes, but gifted?
Maybe. So why do I indeed believe that my son is gifted? It's a combination of things. His intensity: even as a young infant, he looked at people as though he was sizing them up. The mohel at his Bris said "I know I'm doing my job well because my clients generally don't remember me; this one is looking at me like he will." He looked at everyone like that, and people were always blown away by it. There was no lack of focus or understanding; people knew that he was listening, and that on some level he "got it" from birth.
He's got an unbelieveable attention span for the things he enjoys, and while most of the things he loves are very normal toddler things, some are not. He loves cars, and as soon as he could crawl he would happily push a car for ages. Maps are another favorite; he'll sit and trace rivers and roads and mountains with his finger, talking about them to himself. When he was 13 or 14 months old, I showed him a map of New England and was pointing out cities and geographical features (just for something to do). Two weeks later, I was holding him in front of the same map and he said "National Geographic! Map! Albany, Hudson Bay, Massachussets..." and went on like that for about 20 minutes. Rivers, mountains, roads, cities, lakes, oceans-- he can find them all on his maps. He's got a poster of the planets and he knows them all, and when you ask him where he lives he'll point and say "Earth!" He thinks that the planet Saturn is hilarious because there is also a car called "Saturn." He's recently discovered that there is also a car called "Mercury," but apparently it's not as funny as Saturn; probably because the emblem for the car company resembles the planet.
Now, my son is 22 months old. His attention span appears shorter because he runs around a lot, but it's really just different (he likes different things). He's also still willing to sit and read a book with Mamma or his cousin. He likes to bring pine cones into the house (we've got some big pines in the backyard) and to hide things in the cabinets. BeanBean talks to people and always takes them by surprise when he does; he is small for his age but he carries himself like an older child. His behavior, speech, and mannerisms are all about what you'd expect from a bright 33 month old. When he was younger, people always asked me if he was a preemie; now they just say "Wow, he's really small for a three year old!" Well, no, he's slightly small for a two year old. I don't know how many people have looked at me askance after that, as if to say "I wonder if she knows how bright he is..."
. I'm generally polite and I say "I'm not concerned about his development" when they bring it up.
I'm not sure how BeanBean or BooBah will test. BeanBean is not the same kind of child I was; instead of looking like a small three year old, at 22 months I resembled a very small, very solemn six year old. BeanBean does not appear to me to enter the realm of "scary smart kids" but he's certainly not average. I know that his needs are different from those of the average child, and that's why I'm here. I'm fairly confident that I can address his needs, but I really like having people to discuss these things with because I've still got unresolved issues from my own childhood. Being a gifted child is not an easy thing, and while most of the time I'm glad for it, I wouldn't wish profound giftedness on anyone. It's nice to be able to talk about BeanBean and his maps, or the way he wanted to potty learn before I was ready to do it (while I was too pregnant to bend over) without dealing with the requisite "only 3% of the population is gifted" speech.
Well come, Allgirls; I hope you find what you need here.