Hi all, I've been thinking a lot wether to post this or not, but I am very curious to know your opinions, so here it goes. Please forgive the lenght of the post.
My husband and I have a baby, a 3 1/2 month old, our first. He is awesome, it's amazing his level of alertness, he learns very fast what we teach him, he visibly enjoys achieving new skills, and when he wants to do something and he can't get the hang of it, he shows signs of becoming frustrated. He was born looking at everyone straight in the eye, holding his head, and with his hands and fingers open wide. My husband putted him in front of our music keyboard a couple of weeks ago, and instead of hitting the keys with his fists like we expected, he opened both hands, placed them gently on top of the keys, and he used all of his fingers to play each key individually! That really made us gasp. I have a couple of videos of him "playing", I'll upload them to youtube and show you, it's really cool.
But this post is not about my very young infant. Even before I got pregnant, I wondered how a child with my genes and my husband's would be. We are both very bright, and our brains are wired differently than the people we know. We are smart (each in our field of choice). We are both self-learners and problem solvers. I was a bright child, my mom teached me the alphabeth when I was 3, and I taught myself how to read, because I was obsessed with books and wanted to read them on my own (I am still obsessed with books, hehe). When I was 6, I started writing and drawing comics, but I soon evolved to writing "books". I would have my mom buy me a thick notebook and I would fill it with a handwritten story that lasted the exact amount of pages the notebook had. I have tons of those in my memories box. I continued writing stories, and poetry, and even considered a career in journalism. Apart from learning very fast, I wasn't gifted, I wasn't academically brilliant, although I was one of the bests of the class. I went to college, I had good grades, but my kind of smart wasn't academic, altough I can grasp a theorical concept almost instinctively.
My husband, on the other hand, is a completely different story. He started dissasembling his toys when he was 3. He wanted to know how they worked. Since he had no tools, he used what he had in hand (like knifes for unscrewing, etc.). Sometimes he would assamble the toys back to what they were, and sometimes he would use the parts to build a different toy. He dissasembled the tv, every home appliance he could get his hands on, he would investigate fire, electricity, electronics, mechanics... When he was 14, the electric installation of his house collapsed, so he redid the entire electric installation of the whole house on his own, without any help at all. Of course he started fixing things at a very young age, because he learned the logic of how things are built (logic is his favourite word).
When he was 15 his mom and him moved to Australia. I should clarify at this point that we are not US citizens, we are both argentinians, so all this took place in Argentina (spanish speaking country... we both self taught how to speak in english when we were teens). So, they moved to Australia, and he didn't know how to speak english very well. In Australia he went to a technical school where he learned carpentry, mechanics, electronics, computing, etc. He got a reward from the principal of the school for excelling in math and technical subjets, and doing all that without even knowing how to read and speak english fluently.
They returned to Argentina when he finished high school. He came from a low income family, so he started working right away, he didn't attend college. Still, he started his own company at 25, importing and installing security equipment (cameras, alarms, etc). Nowadays, he is capable (and he does) of building complicated machines from scratch, downloading the information he needs from the internet to do so, and self teaching himself whatever he needs to know. He also does computer programming (something I self taught in the past as well), he learns to use very complicated programs (to run the machines he builds!) without manuals, he can fix absolutely anything (from the car, to the fridge, to anything you can think of). He is also a great cook! :)
Now, for all this amazing things he does, he also has a flawed personality (we actually kind of share some of those flaws).
He gets his brain so fulled with ideas and projects, that he has a hard time concentating enough to finish one proyect to move to the next one, wich leaves him with a lot of unfinished proyects laying around (he has a workshop).
Sometimes he gets drepressed and discouraged, and has a hard time getting into a routine and waking up early.
He has a brain "tic" (I call it that way) where sometimes when he wants to say something, he usually says the opposite concept or so (like once he wanted to say building, he said appartment, or pregnancy for labor, stuff like that). I find that very odd, because sometimes it is frecuent, and it is usually the exact opposite concept.
He is very observant, he could be driving our car and at the same time, noticing that there's a new tiny bright spot at a building at his right, that the truck that goes right next to him is carring brand new trucks of a model he never saw before (that happened today at the freeway! I mean, WTF??), or he could be walking with me and when he looks down at some garbage, he would point to me that the empty unrecognizable plastic container trash belongs to this and this company that builds this and this, and that they use it to contain this and this irrelevant product (irrelevant to me, of course).
He has a very sarcastic humor, so he isn't suitable company for everyone. He is very extrovert and enthusiastic socially, and there seems to be no subject he doesn't know something about (at the same time, he has a horrible memory for triviality and everyday events).
He couldn't care less about money, so he never achieved his financial potential. Thankfully I am the opposite!
Well, I'll stop here. Do you think my husband may have been/may be gifted? Of course he was never tested, his low income mom worked all day so he wasn't paid much attention to, nor encouraged to pursue a formal career (such a shame, he would've been a great engineer, although he really doesn't like academic learning at all nor he has the discipline for college).
I really, really would appreciate any insight on the matter. My husband has me completely fascinated by all the things he can do, he never ceases to amaze me. At the same time, with everything I read at this forum, I don't see him brilliant enough to be considered gifted.
Thank you for reading!
I think being labeled "gifted" is usually for the sake of accessing better, different, or more appropriate educational resources & services. Therefore, whether your husband would have been considered "gifted" as a child or youth in school doesn't really fit - since he is now an adult & out of education.
In a way it's like asking "If Isaac Newton had never been taught to read or write (let alone Latin) & never attended Cambridge University - would he have been a mathematical genius?".
It sounds like your husband clever, a quick-study, persistent, hard-working & fun, so enjoy!
I also wonder sometimes what he could've achieved if he would've been encouraged and paid attention to as a child, YKWIM? .
It's kind of wonderful that there are so many options now. If your husband wants more insight into his abilities- there are IQ tests created for adults.
Your son may display high capability as well- and if he is cut from the same cloth as your husband, they may relate (or clash depending upon their commonalities).
CamMom, it's so sad when potential goes to waste! That's why I'm keeping an eye on my baby, I don't expect him to be gifted, I want him to be happy, and that means to me to parent him according to who he is. Considering my husband and I are both smart, I think he may be smart too, but it's too early to tell. Eitherway, he will be challenged by us in many ways, because that's just the way we are!
About my husband, we were talking about this yesterday, and he told me something I didn't know: he got himself tested as an adult a few years ago, through a Mensa test, and his IQ was 150.
Here's the video I said I would post: http://youtu.be/SsFyNfKQVNA
That's my little boy playing with our keyboard.
PBS kids has a comprehensive list of typical child development milestones. Taken with a grain of salt to account for individual development trajectories, it's useful. We didn't have a good understanding of the emotional/ behavioral issues that may affect very young gifted kids. That is. We tended to look more toward the intellectual milestones, when the behavior may have been equally as revealing.
I would definitely read some some books and look at the SENG website on social and emotional needs of gifted children.
School can be quite an issue depending upon your son's advancement, personality, and learning style. For instance, we switched to Montessori in the first grade because it suits my son's learning needs. He was wilting in a traditional classroom. The classroom will eventually shift to traditional, but not until DS is more mature.
I would not worry overmuch about preschools except that they are loving amd stimulating environments. A lot of parents tend to get hung up on academic preschools- at young ages, kids with that need can learn at home and use preschool as a social skills building platform.
IQ tests give more consistent, reliable results if the child is at least six and can take the WISC or Stanford Binet. A good, experienced private tester is probably better at getting the best out of your child than a school test, although schools may require group testing for gifted programs.