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Support for Parents of Gifted Children, #2 - Page 7

post #121 of 426
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Britishmum
I'm becoming far more proactive about these things and finding that using the term 'special needs' has freed me to be more honest with people rather than trying to do things on a wing and a prayer, usually ending in disaster.
Good for you, and great for your girls. You go girl! It's great to hear about other parents standing up for what their children need. Rock on!
post #122 of 426
I was identified as highly gifted over and over in different ways... What good it did me I don't know.

I lurk here but I don't know what to say usually. My children each seem to fit into some exceptional special need category including giftedness. As parents, we both do also. It can be so overwhelming to have such a high-maintenance family. Many people have no idea what it's like. My oldest is so charmingly extroverted and visibly talented and intelligent that it just looks like a glorious existence to live with her. Really, it's also an intense struggle. Then ds is in his own world and appears out-of-control to others because he follows every urge to pursue everything that intrigues and completely tunes out communications contrary to his interests. One moment he seems a miraculous genius and the next some kind of idiot. (I don't mean anything bad by the word--just a quick illustration)

And the other two each have their own indicators, though they're less difficult overall much to our relief and general capacity for our survival as a family.

But what does it matter or mean to address giftedness? Does it mean much if they aren't in school encountering normalcy as the standard they can't fit right? They just seem like unique individuals since they are at home. It's hard because I never sorted out what it meant to me and I never achieved the kinds of success it seemed I should have.

I feel that all the talk about my abilities and potential without real support or understanding just set me up to feel disappointed at my own loss of interest in ambition and the humbleness of my personal successes. Parents and teachers think I wasted something... Being a good mama is tougher than school which was something I succeeded at almost in my sleep. Who's impressed? Nobody. When I was in school, everyone was impressed. I learned to love my superiority and act like a jerk. I'm still trying to learn not to be a jerk.
post #123 of 426
Quote:
Originally Posted by deeporgarten
But what does it matter or mean to address giftedness? Does it mean much if they aren't in school encountering normalcy as the standard they can't fit right? They just seem like unique individuals since they are at home.
I think to some extent it's true that you don't have to worry about their differences as much if they're learning at home. However, not addressing or acknowledging the issue of their giftedness at all would be a mistake, IMO. I know when my son was a toddler teaching himself to read I spent a lot of time denying, rationalizing, and making up excuses to other people about how "things would even out" when he reached a certain age. Things became a lot easier when I finally accepted that he had special needs that were not going to go away and started researching on the net about other highly gifted kids.
post #124 of 426
Quote:
Originally Posted by Calm
What worries me to this day though is he is very very introverted. Painfully so. My daughter is showing signs of this, and I don't know whether to worry, do something, or let it go.

Any ideas?
Well, I can tell you how I get over being introverted. It came from being with my husband. When I had to teach class, I would rehearse with him, A LOT. For every hour of teaching, I would do lots of prep and post-class analysis. I was a wack-o. Later, after I became a Mommy, I decided that I could not be trapped in my home afraid of the world. So I would write out phone conversations, go over them with my husband, practice, and then do it. I found that what worked for me was to pretend to be an extroverted person. And I do believe that there's an extrovert in me as well. I'm not sure how much of my introverted nature is just my shyness and sensitivity to people, stimulation, and others' criticisms.

My daughters are very cautious as people. They take a long time to warm up to people, especially #2. I've gotten used to telling people that "I'll really appreciate how cautious they are when they become teenagers!" because everyone eventually asks ("Do they not like to talk?"). I'm lucky. The places I frequent tend to have really cool people who are not critical and judgemental. We choose to go to places like that. For all of our sanitys' sakes!

My #1 has actually had phases of being social and not very social. I think it's helped her to spend lots of time with Daddy outside. She has learned the scripts of everyday interactions. She says "Hi" to animals, she talks to kids, she feels secure to be open. When she's with me, she picks up on my hesitation, and she becomes quite a bit more shy. When I can, I pretend to be my husband and become gregarious and relaxed in conversing with others.

Maybe you could find a relaxed social friend your introverted children could hang around and watch?
post #125 of 426
Quote:
Originally Posted by eilonwy
Interestingly enough, the internet has helped a lot with that. I have absolutely no problems conversing here, because people can't see me.
Same here! I lurked a long time before I started posting at other forums. I had my husband read over every post to analyze it first. Silly!

After I had my #1, I got on the internet, I also learned to sew. I had eczema and found myself allergic to polyester - including polyester thread. And mercerized cotton thread. And dyes. Anyway, so I learned to sew. Then learned to design patterns myself. It was very easy and difficult. Easy 'cause I couldn't believe I could do it. Difficult 'cause nothing was perfect. I found that being so physical with sewing, birthing, nursing, cleaning, cooking - my brain seemed to change. Or maybe my being more in my body changed my mind's connection to my brain. Deeporgarten, I think that mothering is definitely far more demanding in terms of how nimble and versatile the mind must become! I have far more respect for work that others do now.
post #126 of 426
Quote:
Originally Posted by Britishmum
Eg, I took dd to observe a dance class yesterday. She liked it, but was terrified by it. My feeling is that if the teacher will work with me, it could be a good class for dd. But there is no point in going ahead if she doesnt understand the issues. I therefore emailed her a very detailed description of how dd is likely to behave and adjust to classes, and asked if this was something seh feels she can work with. If she says yes, I can hold her to it. If she says no, I won't be wasting our time, money and energy on something bound to fail. I'm becoming far more proactive about these things and finding that using the term 'special needs' has freed me to be more honest with people rather than trying to do things on a wing and a prayer, usually ending in disaster.
We just finished our dance crisis today. #1 has been taking these dance classes for a year now. She sometimes had two classes at a time. This year, she had one class taught by a teacher who is new. And my daughter didn't want to go back. The teacher seemed nice. I expect that the teacher would need a certain amount of time to get her bearings, so to speak. But I had also made a rule for myself that I would never force my children to do something for reasons of wasting money or of being unsocial. Finally, we switched to a different class, and my daughter immediately shined and smiled.

The first teacher wasn't bad. I mean, she was supportive. After the second class, she came out and told me that my daughter was doing a lot better, that each time she tried something, she talked about how she wanted to tell me about it. It was very kind of her to let me know this. BUT.... um... my daughter's doing "better"? When was she not doing "well"? The fact that this teacher had some assumptions about how a child was supposed to act signalled to me that my daughter would not ever be comfortable with her. When a child is highly sensitive and perceptive, is highly attuned to others, even well-meaning adults with some problemmatic attitudes can become very damaging to the child. The other teachers my daughter's had (the ones she adores) are observant, nonjudgemental, and accepting. They speak with the children. They don't evaluate them, at least not in their presence.

If I had to talk to a teacher about modifying their behavior to be more sensitive to my child's needs - sigh - I feel exhausted just thinking about that. Maybe I'm just too pessimistic.
post #127 of 426
Quote:
Originally Posted by eilonwy
Once in eigth grade, I was assigned a report on crystals.
I just had to say that I have just absolutely LOVED reading all the stories of all of you and all of your children. And it feels so freeing to be so real and blunt and not have to worry about hurt feelings. THANK YOU, EVERYBODY!!!
post #128 of 426
Quote:
Originally Posted by deeporgarten
I was identified as highly gifted over and over in different ways... What good it did me I don't know.
I wish I was identified. We moved around a lot, and I went to a gifted program once. My Mom let me understand that it wasn't because I was smart, it was because my classmates were dumb. It wasn't until just the last couple of weeks I finally gave myself the label of "gifted." Up until now, I just believed myself to be a really hard worker (which is a crock!). I had wondered about all kinds of mental illnesses and how they applied to me. When I came to terms with being "gifted," I finally felt normal. I'm not abnormally sensitive, I'm just normally sensitive, for a gifted person. It's very freeing. Reading about other people's experiences growing up here and elsewhere has also been very enlightening and healing for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by deeporgarten
It can be so overwhelming to have such a high-maintenance family. Many people have no idea what it's like.
It sounds like we have it a lot easier (I think we're probably on the lower end of highly gifted, maybe?). But it's still hard. Even close friends don't know what it's like. We have a friend who is convinced (not openly) that my kids wouldn't be so sensitive if we weren't so protective and coddle them so much. Even my own uncle thought that if I would let the kids wear polyester, they would develop tolerance for it (yeah right! like if I feed the kids arsenic, they'll build up their immune system?). I think all this advice is partly true, as there are many strategies in parenting and health maintenance. But they really have no clue. My children almost always appear well-composed and shy in public. Their inner struggles explode into fury and pain when they're in the safety of private space. And my husband and I are the ones who deal with the itchy kids and their red, oozing skin every night. I don't bother explaining anymore. We've learned to just sort of not associate with those who judge (by praising or criticizing).

On and off, I've been reading a little about bi-polar, narcissism, asperger's, dissociative disorders, etc. Sometimes it's mentioned that a mental illness tends to occur in those with above-average intelligence. But I haven't seen a place that addresses this issue of mental illness from the starting point of giftedness. I feel empowered that I can see my OCD (and whatever else) as comprehensible within the context of giftedness.

Quote:
Originally Posted by deeporgarten
I feel that all the talk about my abilities and potential without real support or understanding just set me up to feel disappointed at my own loss of interest in ambition and the humbleness of my personal successes. Parents and teachers think I wasted something... Being a good mama is tougher than school which was something I succeeded at almost in my sleep. Who's impressed? Nobody. When I was in school, everyone was impressed. I learned to love my superiority and act like a jerk. I'm still trying to learn not to be a jerk.
Genius Burnout! Is there such a term? You know, people get so sidetracked by all the superficial qualities of being gifted. It's great that you now have the perspective and experience to give helpful support to your children. And *I* am impressed that you're a good mama! And I'm also impressed that you're learning not to be a jerk!

People always talk about late-night feedings as the difficulty of mothering. I can't relate. The truly nightmarish part of mothering for me has been confronting my realities and my past. My children needed me to be real, to be honest, to be present. This meant I needed to stop denial, to go and confront my pain. I have over 200 poems to show for it. And buckets of tears. And so much pain. I birthed #2 unassisted. And #1 with no drugs. People talk about the pain of childbirth? Bullshit! That's nothing compared to the soul's pain. The pain of what I experienced, the pain of recognizing myself as a shithead, the pain of seeing who I really am, and the pain of feeling totally raw when the disguises come off. That's the pain of bringing a child here and raising them - to confront and heal one's own pain. So, deeporgarten, no kidding, I am very impressed by your journey as a mother and a woman. And all the other mothers and women who dare to take that difficult journey.
post #129 of 426
Thinking about the "introverted-ness" (and they call ME gifted?) of my daughter a lot recently has made me confront myself. I realised I was afraid for her. I realised I was pushing my past on her (in my own mind, anyway). When my reality won't be hers. It was very freeing, I dumped some baggage. I actually love her more cautious nature, and if she were different, I would still complain, wouldn't I? Silly woman. My nephew, who as I said reminds me of my daughter, well, he steers clear of rambunctious people and those of 'bad' influence. It has many benefits. Would I rather a child who was flighty and loud who experimented as a teen, or a child who was reserved and cautious, who could take care of her mind?

Also, I confronted something else recently. People think my daughter is slow at first, because of her reserved nature. They can see a sharpness in her eyes, but think she is slow to talk or learn. I tried not to come to her defense, but found myself sometimes saying, "Oh, no she's actually gifted." Why was I defending her? What's wrong with me? Anyway, my brother's friend came over and she did her usual quiet, looking, analysing thing. He said, "Hello. Do you talk yet? Wanna read this colour book together?" He was being so nice, I didn't say anything. She slowly made her way to him and he said it again. She looked him square in the eyes and said, "Actually, I would prefer to read this one."

Oh, it was priceless. His mouth fell open and for a moment he couldn't reply. I didn't know she had it in her, and not only that, I think she intended to show she could "actually" talk, better than him! At that moment, everything fell into place for me. LET HER BE my mind screamed at me. She is ok, she is fine, she is strong and she is capable. Oh, what a wonderful week. And thank you for giving me this thread to release such things.
post #130 of 426
Quote:
Originally Posted by Britishmum
Wow!! This is the first teacher in any sphere who honestly seems to 'get it'. We start next week, and I'm really excited. (Of course, dd now says she doesnt want to go as it is too scary, but that is to be expected, and I think we can work round that.) Dh thought I was crazy as I was almost moved to tears by the email - which is totally unlike me. But to have (hopefully) found someone who actually understands dd is a totally new experience!!
YAY!!!!

I completely understand about the tears. I cried yesterday when my husband called me from the dance class to tell me that my daughter loved the teacher. It's just so hard 'cause we love our kids so much. It's hard to watch them be hurt by being misunderstood. Your daughter's new dance teacher sounds wonderful. My daughter's dance teachers (the ones she likes) are like that too. They were sensitive and experienced enough to know how to make our daughter comfortable. And, yes, our daughter had refused to go and try it out. You know what we did? We just told her that we were really curious what Frances (the teacher) was like. And that we would like to meet her. And if she wanted to, she could decide to stay and join the dance class. Otherwise, we could just watch from the side or leave. When she could see we meant it, she was okay to give it a go.
post #131 of 426
Quote:
Originally Posted by Calm
I tried not to come to her defense, but found myself sometimes saying, "Oh, no she's actually gifted." Why was I defending her?
You know those Laughing Buddhas? The buddha with the big belly? My husband reminds me of him. My husband has this wonderful way of saying "Everybody's different." He's not defensive at all. If someone said that our daughter seems shy. He would just agree, with a totally non-judgemental attitude. If someone asked if #1's "slow," I think he would just say, "she can be slow... to warm up to people." DH is so nice to good people with ignorant mouths. I can't explain it right 'cause I'm still learning this acceptance thing from the master husband. It really works, though. Many times I've heard my #1 use it. Friend: "My hair is golden. I'm prettier." #1: "Well, that might be true. But, you know, everybody's different." Just a year ago, I remember many many tears over body image and how she wanted golden hair.

I deal with negative comments in a pretty rude way. I just leave the conversation. I bend down, talk to my children, and just ignore the person.
post #132 of 426
"We have a friend who is convinced (not openly) that my kids wouldn't be so sensitive if we weren't so protective and coddle them so much. "

I meant to say this in my last post, but Laughing, I get this too. I have been told my dd is 'too attached' to me - LOL! And your hubby sounds like mine, cos mine is quick to retort with something enlightening that isn't rude. Although, I must admit, he can also slaughter with his words if he chooses.

Tis good to read about dance classes, as we will be going for some next year.
post #133 of 426
Just a quick thing to mention...I have been thinking about why I suspect my dd is "gifted"...what inspired me to jump on this thread and ask questions....

I know she has a pretty good vocabulary...around 60 words at 15 mos(tomorrow) and that's good...she follows instructions well, takes off her shoes and coat and assists me if I ask for things and that's all pretty impressive, even when she picked the letter B out of her magnetic letters and brought it to me and said "B"(a few nights before we were playing with her bath sponge letters and I showed her "B" a few times and I guess she recognised it) all pretty cool....

But that's not it really...it's something else...it's the way she can sit for an hour and play with her toys...it's the way she gets caught up in things...it's little illusive things...that kind of add up

wiping her toy lambs' nose with kleenex(which is impressive itself)...but even more interesting tearing it so it's a small piece for the small lamb but uses a full kleenex for the bigger toy...like she gets scale...small and big...and doing it every time..it's not a fluke.

She got crayon on the floor yesterday and I said "we have to clean that up" and then today she went and got a baby wipe, got on the floor and cleaned it up...I said "your cleaning it up" she nodded "yes" and she did..every bit of it...and there are many of these little things every day...

It's little things I catch her doing that gets me and amazes me...not the obvious things, more the subtle things that are telling to me.

I find the stories of your kids so fascinating....

Did you spend time trying to convince yourself you were imagining things, that maybe you were just thinking or did you intuitively know there was "something" there?

I find myself trying to reason that she is probably just ahead of the scale a little bit but everyday she shocks me somehow...

Thanks
post #134 of 426
Quote:
Originally Posted by allgirls
Did you spend time trying to convince yourself you were imagining things, that maybe you were just thinking or did you intuitively know there was "something" there?
Yes and yes. I spent a lot of time assuming (probably because so many people kept telling me so) that Hollis would "even out" with other kids. Then one night shortly after he turned two he started spelling words with his plastic play letters and telling me what they were, and it FINALLY convinced me that he was, in fact, gifted. In a rare fit of organization I even got a pic:

http://www.ghosts.org/temp/hollis-fox.jpg

Looking back through our photos years later, I realized that I had tons of pics of him doing precocious things... I just didn't realize (or didn't want to realize) at the time what was going on. I even have a pic of him at five months old sitting with a book in his lap! Sometimes I need a crowbar to the head to knock sense into me, I swear.
post #135 of 426
Oh wow! Ickrause, that shot is so cool. and may I add, a very beautiful boy!
post #136 of 426
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by allgirls
It's little things I catch her doing that gets me and amazes me...not the obvious things, more the subtle things that are telling to me.
Isn't that amazing? People seem surprised that what most amazes me most about BeanBean is not his vocabulary but his attention span.

Quote:
Did you spend time trying to convince yourself you were imagining things, that maybe you were just thinking or did you intuitively know there was "something" there?
Only a little, and only at first. The first word at four weeks really blew my mind, and I was sure I imagined it until other people were able to confirm it. I'm not surprised at all by what I percieve to be exceptional intelligence in my children, though, because I believe that there is a genetic factor to intelligence. Studies with adopted children have shown that their IQ's are closer to those of their birth-parents than their adoptive parents. My best friend is adopted, and his IQ is nothing like that of his adoptive parents, that's for sure; he's been running rings around them since he was three.

My IQ was most recently tested when I was 12; I don't put much faith in them, but I scored in the profoundly gifted range. My husband's IQ has never been tested, but I'd estimate that he's somewhere between 135-145. Given those numbers, it was unlikely that our children would turn out to be average, yk? Possible, yes, but unlikely.

Have you ever seen one of those shows like Oprah with a profoundly gifted child? They always ask the parents "Are there any other geniuses in the family?" and the parents say "Oh, no, s/he was the first." I often wonder what I'd say. It would depend on my mood, but I think my most likely response would be "define 'genius.'" :LOL
post #137 of 426
Allgirls, I enjoyed reading your post.

I had been thinking about the low relevance the academically-related precociousness has to me personally. It is intriguing. Maybe I like it also to some degree because it looks good to other people as a homeschooler. I shouldn't care, but I sense that I am much less likely to be doubted in how I educate my children if they are so obviously advanced. I have a few friends who are teachers and I enjoy the positive way they respond to my children, sometimes rather surprised too. I know that I have their respect as a successful educator. This seems silly or shallow of me, but it's still a nice feeling.

What I truly enjoy more, though, are those amazing thoughts revealed in their play as the toddler gets so involved in real pretend play. The baby dolls had a birthday party at our house today and she not only comprehended the game but also combined a lot of ideas into the scenario. I like to watch the complexity of her, and that is what I find precocious... even if she counts to ten at eighteen mos it's this other thing that I find fascinating. Do they measure this when determining giftedness? Does it matter?

Actually, I didn't think since I was a child about giftedness and never applied it to my own children until a teacher friend mentioned it very matter-of-factly. I don't really know what to do with the idea--if I wasn't here I wouldn't probably think about it now. I haven't decided what it means to me now. Maybe it's better than letting your children grow up believing they are surrounded by idiots.

I have three girls and a boy. Ds is obsessed with telling me "You're not bigger than a train" and "You're bigger than a car." I have heard these phrases about fifty times in the past week. The boy is like another species. He has a photographic memory for music, a perfect "ear", toys with math my dd had trouble with at eight (She's not gifted in math!), and can't sort out the basics of verbal communication or follow simple instructions. He gets lost on the way to the bathroom because he gets distracted--but I frequently have to send him to the bathroom because he is so focused on what he's doing that he'll do the pee-pee dance for half an hour and then wet himself rather than stop his play. I guess dd4 picked up counting from him--he chanted, marched and sang numbers, he quizzed us all with addition and multiplication and told us every time we answered wrong, and made up number jokes that he would irritate his twin sister with. He did this virtually non-stop for a month or two and then stopped completely. Now he may talk about numbers 3 times a week. He did the same obsession thing with the alphabet a couple years ago and then abandoned it for the most part. He watches videos and recites characters' lines at length, perfectly mimicing their intonation... Now that makes me feel like a bad mom. He's way too familiar with the t.v.!

This is funny and "intelligent" I suppose, but dd4 said thank you to me for putting her to bed for her nap a couple of days ago. She was half asleep and it was the sweetest thing. A gift
post #138 of 426
It is very true about the subtle things, especially at such young ages. Milestones vary by months at young ages, but subtle things that a parent notices hold the key to how their minds tick. I am enjoying my daughter so much because even though she is less than 2.5, we chat about almost everything. Laying on her bed at night we talk about science stuff and crap like that (lol), but its the talks we have that remind me of the "girly" talks of my teens. Not boys of course (God help me!), but things like how she feels about love and lots of noise and friends. She tells me what she dreams, how she talks to animals and plants. And we snuggle together and laugh and I swear, I couldn't have a nicer conversation with an adult.

That reminds me, she keeps having this recurring dream. She said, "A cat walked across the garden and put a flower in my hand." I asked, "what color was the cat?" she said, "black". There is a bit more about the dream, depending, but this part, the cat putting a flower in her hand, is always there. I keep wondering what that means. Anyone know dream analysis here?
post #139 of 426
Quote:
Originally Posted by Calm
That reminds me, she keeps having this recurring dream. She said, "A cat walked across the garden and put a flower in my hand." I asked, "what color was the cat?" she said, "black". There is a bit more about the dream, depending, but this part, the cat putting a flower in her hand, is always there. I keep wondering what that means. Anyone know dream analysis here?
cat = feminine part of self
animal = instinctive part of self attuned to nature and survival, associated with second and third chakras. Also the characteristics a specific animal represents to you, such as speed, cunning, power or wisdom
black = unknown, unconscious
color = rate of vibration, harmony within your energy field. The colors have different vibrations, properties, and represent different levels of awareness. You choose to wear colors that harmonize with your own energy field.
flower = The unfolding of flowers is a sign of good growth, a direction of beauty and fulfillment. The completion of a goal; a time of great achievement. Appreciation.
blossom = A job well done; you have sown and reaped beauty, a beautiful expression of self
hand = feeling, expressive part of self. Left hand receives energy, love; right hand gives. If injured on left, you are not allowing yourself to receive; if on right you are giving away too much energy without replenishing. Hand extended to you means help is available: look within, reach to others and to God

from Beth Bethards, The Dream Book: Symbols for Understanding
post #140 of 426
Quote:
Originally Posted by deeporgarten
What I truly enjoy more, though, are those amazing thoughts revealed in their play as the toddler gets so involved in real pretend play.
I am excited just imagining watching your kids play! One problem that we haven't been able to resolve is the issue of loneliness. Not finding someone with similar sensibilities and perspectives. Someone who speaks the same language(s), so to speak. Do your twins relate well as friends? My kids are 4 and 2, and they're just starting to have "real" conversations. It's been wonderful, 'cause they've started figuring out their relationship without as much interference on my part. The family dynamics have changed significantly. We've had many spontaneous hugs and kisses and outbursts of laughter instead of spontaneous violence between them the last half year (very very stressful for me).

Pei
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