Do you ever get lonely being the mama of a gifted child? - Mothering Forums
Parenting the Gifted Child > Do you ever get lonely being the mama of a gifted child?
mama2mygirl's Avatar mama2mygirl 12:38 AM 08-30-2006
Or is it harder to make friends?
I'm in a bit of a funk this week. My dd is three and very gifted. She talked and sat at four months, taught herself to read by one. Colors and counting way before one. I don't know when she figured out fractions and how to add and subtract but I learned she could do these things
a couple weeks back. She speaks English, Spanish and French and never went through a period of confusion the way kids who learn more than one language at a time are supposed to go through.
Redirecting almost never works with her. Like, in a thread the other day, a mama talked about how she would walk by her local park, check out if a certain aggressive child was there and if he was, she would redirect her dd to hug a tree or go play another game. This is such a great idea. It has NEVER worked with my child. She's always known EXACTLY what she wants and won't be distracted or even bribed out of it. By the time she was one I could say, "Do you want the red or the yellow shirt?" And she would say, "Actually, mama, I want the kitty shirt that is in the laundry."
I feel like no one quite understands this, or my child.
Some things are easier. Like her extremely generous Auntie, dd and I all went out to a bookstore last week. Her Auntie usually buys her a ridiculous ammount of books and toys. And my dd has been waiting three months to show her Auntie this particular toy--an expensive basket full of stuffed kitties. She was so excited and couldn't wait. And she's right--under normal circumstances her Auntie would have bought those suckers for her right away. But I knew her Auntie was broke so I told dd, "Auntie doesn't have any money today. Please don't ask her for anything--it's make her feel bad because she likes to buy you things." My dd totally got it and I'm thinking a lot of little kids wouldn't.
But then, on other occasions, she is so steadfast about what she wants. Other kids can be redirected and the adults seem to think there is something wrong with me or dd because she's a girl who knows what she want.
And she has a mind like a steel trap. She loves little animals and we must have hundreds. She remembers who got her every single one and even where they got it.
Our bilingual storytime librarian has been telling me she's gifted forever. And also that I get to frustrated when she acts her age. But, really, how is it that she can read the newspaper but then turn around at put a plastic bag from the farmer's market on her head?
Reading about your kids is the first I've heard of kids who act the way she did. It was reassuring, actually, to see, oh, other tiny babies spoke in complete sentences. Or became obsessed with things like the Space Needle. But I've long since stopped talking about anything new she can do.I stopped right after she turned two and I tried to tell the teacher at her art studio how I had found that dd had written her name beautifully with chalk on the bottom steps of our house. (There is an actual sort of cute story. DD and I were waiting to go off with friends and DD was writing what I thought was just the first letter of her name. She started doing that at one and loved to tag everything with her initial. Then I noticed she was saying her entire name and pointing to what she had written. I meant to look but then our friends came and we left. That night when I was bathing her, my dh came home and said, hey can you talk the video camera and use the night vision shot to get what she wrote. I'd like to see what it looks like. Dh comes back a few minutes later and says, "I just took a picture of both of them because I wasn't sure which when she'd written and which one you'd written." Get it? Yeah, the art teacher just thought I was ...I'm not sure what. I big old liar, I think.) People just act like we're weird or, at best, they don't know what to do with the three-year-old spelling out words for fun.

We're happy, my little family. And my dd is really social--I have no idea where she gets this. We have friends but no one really close. To our crunchy friends we're odd. To our mainstream friends we're odd.Have any of you ever felt this way?

oldcrunchymom's Avatar oldcrunchymom 12:44 AM 08-30-2006
Originally Posted by mama2mygirl
Our bilingual storytime librarian has been telling me she's gifted forever. And also that I get to frustrated when she acts her age. But, really, how is it that she can read the newspaper but then turn around at put a plastic bag from the farmer's market on her head?
That is asynchrony. The defining characteristic of giftedness and one of the hardest qualities for people without these kids to understand. It sounds like you're doing great with your daughter!
mama2mygirl's Avatar mama2mygirl 12:49 AM 08-30-2006
Thanks. It's been a hard week!
m&m's Avatar m&m 05:15 AM 08-30-2006

I have felt this way often.

I helps to find kids who are also very bright or gifted so that you can talk and share without it feeling like bragging.
eilonwy's Avatar eilonwy 05:04 PM 08-30-2006
Honestly? I don't think that it's being the parent of a gifted child that makes talking to people difficult for me; it's all residuals from my own childhood experiences as an outcast. :

Mike's told me that he has a very hard time discussing the children with non-family members. He says that people will always blow him off, try to make him feel guilty, or assume that he's just flat out lying. This inevitably continues until they actually meet BeanBean and/or BooBah, at which point they apologize to Mike and try not to bring it up again. : A dozen of his co-workers met the kids last week and they don't believe that Mike's lying anymore. It's frustrating for him, because he never knows what to say when someone asks "What's BeanBean up to?" He ends up giving the most vague answers, "He's fine," or "They grow up so quickly."

That said, my kids aren't really profoundly gifted (I don't think); they're just very facile with language. They definately stand out in a crowd of agemates, but that's mostly because they can *talk*. That, and BooBah's fleece pajamas really make an impression in the heat.
Roar's Avatar Roar 06:00 PM 08-30-2006
I may be really socially clueless. Scratch that I'm probably really socially clueless so maybe it slides by me. But, our experience has been that most people are really supportive even though our child is noticeably really different. Most people seem pretty accepting and kind. That may be because we know a lot of people who are different folks themselves.

We tend to hold back on talking about our child's abilities, but will honestly comfirm observations made by other people. That approach tends to work well for us. Also, we've made a point of seeking out parents who have had similar kids and that helps too.

I wasn't sure how old your child is - three or four? At least for us it has become less of an issue as the kids get older as people expect kids to read, etc. when they are older. So, I'd suggest trying to keep a positive attitude about other folks and their abilities to offer you support.
mama2mygirl's Avatar mama2mygirl 07:12 PM 08-30-2006
She's three.
Like I said, I don't mention what my dd is up to. Except to family.
People don't apologize and they aren't nice when they figure out that she can read or loves it when I read her chapter books.
Okay, here's a typical example. Today at the park there was a mom's group and I knew a couple of the mom's so we were talking. (Just so you can get an idea of how jr. high clique-ish my town is--one mom who was not my friend, walked up with a container of grapes and offered them to every single mom but me. Pointedly.) They asked what preschool my dd is going to . I said we were going to homeschool but we'd tried one of the Montessori schools and it hadn't worked us.
I was asked the name of the school and there was the usual response about what a great reputation it had. I did NOT say the real reason it didn't work for us. It started out the first day when I showed my daughter her cubby, her name on her cubby and explained what it was for. The teacher said--this was last summer when she was two--"Oh, they don't recognize their names at this age. You have to bring me a picture." My dd has been able to recognize her name since she was ten months old. Or, at least, that's when I first noticed it.
Everyday, my dd would stand and look wistfully in at the "big kid" class. They were doing things she loved--tracing, writing, playing with small objects. But they would not let her in the room. The teachers wouldn't, I mean. I thought it was supposed to be child led but it wasn't.
But I knew I couldn't say any of that. So I just said, "It didn't work for us."

Or this summer, she took part of the summer reading program. Our library is silly. They seperate the readers and the read-to. They get different prizes and the readers get the most coveted prize of all--a free ice cream at our local ice cream parlor. They get their picture taken and it is hung on the wall. This was a very big deal to my dd. But the owner, who knows and loves my dd--who told her own grown dd that my dd was her "favorite baby" when dd was a baby--they call her the "wonder child." Anyhow, the owner said, "Already reading?"
Then made some comment about how everything should be in it's own good time.
So, no,no one apologizes. The art teacher I talked about in the last post is noticeably annoyed that Hadley articulates her requests. She so clearly rather have a quiet, unassuming girl.(My dd loves the class anyhow. We've tried other programs and this is the one she likes.)

It does help to hear that one or two of you have had some of the same frustrations and feeling as I do.
Roar's Avatar Roar 07:25 PM 08-30-2006
That sounds rough. I hope as she gets older things get easier.

We may be unusually lucky, but I feel incredibly fortunate that our son has so many kind people (tutors, teachers, mentors and friends) in his life over the last few years. There are people who really understand and appreciate gifted kids and I believe if you keep putting yourself out there and keep a positive attitude you will find them in time. At least for us, it has been much easier past the preschool years.

Are there any organizations for gifted kids in your area? Can you think of any places where you may meet parents of kids who are dealing with similar things.
jkpmomtoboys's Avatar jkpmomtoboys 07:26 PM 08-30-2006
Originally Posted by Roar
At least for us it has become less of an issue as the kids get older as people expect kids to read, etc. when they are older.
This is very true for us. As ds1 has gotten older (he's 6 now), it's become less of a "holy crap!" or irritated response and more of a general overall acknowledgement that thought he's ahead of the curve, let's say academically, at this age many kids are excelling in different areas (sports, etc...). Also, as we're in school, it's less noticeable to other parents who might not be as receptive and more noticeable to his teacher, who is very supportive.
mama2mygirl's Avatar mama2mygirl 07:37 PM 08-30-2006
I've been trying to get myself out of my funk. If I think about it, my dd does have a group of people who absolutely adore her. She has me, my dh, her Auntie, who is not really family but who we've made a family. She has the bilingual storytime woman and we belong to a play space for children. The age limit used to be three but the owner just uped it to five and told me, "We wanted Lili to be able to keep coming."
She has her own little fan following in our tiny town. (Really, I've had people say, "Oh, Lili? Your Lili's mom?" Like they're talking about someone famous.)
So, we're actually lucky. There are days when I just wish I had more people to relate to.
I don't actually know any kids like her in real life. It helps to read about your kids.