What were your gifted children like as babies--Need help/advice - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 18 Old 09-04-2006, 08:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have been lurking in this forum over the past week or so, and have been very fascinated with what I've read. Essentially, I'm looking for some answers. I have an 8-month-old daughter whom I love more than anything in this world, but I (and others) have noticed that she's definitely different from any baby I've ever known and more difficult. Do you mind if I go into details? From day 1, she has been super high needs: major all-night colic, no quiet-alertness as a newborn (if she was awake she was unsettled), very sound sensitive (especially during sleep), disliked being put down at all (and she also has disliked every sling I own), etc. I hardly remember the first three months of her life because they were so intense. Things have gotten better since the colic went away when she was 10 weeks old but life with her still can be described as INTENSE. She has to have constant interaction: someone has to play WITH her all the time (she refuses to play by herself). She loves to watch people and has for months now--it's like she's studying them, noticing their every move. She doesn't really go much for toys but loves taking things apart, seeing how they work, watching activity (which is getting difficult because now she wants to do everything that she sees--not a good thing when mom is cooking, etc.). At four months old, she clearly said Walmart (I know, very bad institution, but we were discussing going there for an afternoon daytrip since it's right down the street from where we live). She also said, "I wanna go out," "mama," and "grandma" at four months old. Since then, she hasn't experimented with words or consonants but just randomly vocalizes vowels and aspirates "h"s (not to mention, blowing raspberries all the time). She especially loves other children, not babies but big kids. We go to the park a lot and she insists that we go to the big kid playground area. Once we're there, she waves her arms violently when she gets excited at what the big kids are doing. She doesn't seem to like swinging or even going down slides with mommy, as it is almost an obsession for her to watch the big kids playing and to be amongst them. For the past few months, she has been obsessed with water, holes, wires, and screws, especially. She is the only baby (or kid, for that matter) who MUST examine the bolts on the teeter-totter and the chains on the swings before going home. Her memory is also fantastic: Since she was really young she has noticed when something new (no matter how small) appears at home or if something familiar is taken away. Other moms look at me like I'm nuts when I tell them these things. They must think I'm incompetent, too, while they stand holding their complacent children on their hips and I'm doing everything in my power to keep a grip on mine, who is twisting and turning and wanting to go, go, go. My child has never in her life been content to just hold her and stand still, and you can totally forget about the hip-carry thing. Since she was a month old she HAS to face forward, which is not easy now that she weighs 20 pounds. She is also incredibly energetic and extremely strong-willed. Just this past weekend she started walking (with us holding her under her arms for assistance), which in some ways is a relief because now she can go where she wants to, which currently is either the kitchen or bathroom sink (her favorite places). She has shown no interest in crawling whatsoever but has been standing, almost every minute of the day, since she was 6 weeks old.

I'm sorry for being so long-winded. I just really would like to know if any of you had similar experiences with your gifted children. I hope I'm not alone here because I just can't related to the moms I'm around in real life and mommyhood is starting to get really lonely. My parents, thankfully, help me out every day with our daughter (I'm a stay-at-home mom) because she takes so much time and energy that I can't eat, get a shower, or do anything for myself or the house at all without someone to entertain her. As I said, I love my daughter dearly and I'm trying desperately to better understand her.

Allison:  a little bit Waldorf, a little bit Medievalish, and always"MOMMMMYYYY!" to sweet Cecily since 12.22.05
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#2 of 18 Old 09-05-2006, 12:25 AM
 
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yes, my kids, espically older one was like your child in many ways. Older one was sound, and touch sensitive, intence, forget about sling. Stoller actually was best fo rhis needs as he did not care to be too close to my body but wanted to sit and watch things. He sat up early. Great fine motor coordination.
I reccomen that you visit HOagies and SENG web-sites.
I really woul not force sling or sitting on hip on that kind of kid. Folloe her lid. LEt her exaine things with you spervision.
my son ah sdhis own shleve in the kidchen with tappware and such, so he coul play on his own while I cooked
While I was tkaing shower he was in th bathoomr playing iwth some spcail thing whcih were reserved only for my shower time
We went out to diffrent palce all the time. Not just playgound but musuems, parks, more museulms, galleries, cofee shops, zoos etc
I actually, 11 year later, have mebership in3 museums. IT si jsut chepaer to do it with my kdis becuase we go a lot
We also read to my sons early on and showed them letters etc...they both tuaght thmses how to read on their onw etc
I guess I am lcuky because in many wasy I am like my sons and I love going places, so we were well mathched!
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#3 of 18 Old 09-05-2006, 06:30 PM
 
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My BooBah was similar in a lot of ways, though she wasn't quite as verbal (I think her first words were around 3-4 months, but no sentences then unless you count the command "nurse!"). She's also very sound sensitive ("fi'wowks make me mizabul!"), and occasionally will get overloaded and just tune everyone out. BooBah's also got some weird tactile things going on; she's refused to sleep with a cover for her entire life, but she slept through the night at two months-- just as soon as she was mobile enough to get loose. Today she's two, and refuses to wear anything other than fleece pajamas and has pretty consistantly for the past few weeks (despite the fact that the average temp has been in the 80's). She crawled and walked early, as well.

The big flag for me, though, was *intensity*. Both of my older children were very intense as infants, even though I would never describe either of them as high needs. They would focus on things for ages, and always looked as though they were paying attention. When BeanBean was an infant, people were *constantly* asking/assuming if he was a preemie, because he always seemed so much older than his size indicated. He just sat in his stroller at six months with a look on his face that said, "I think I'm four, treat me accordingly." BooBah looks younger but always looked *aware* in an almost unnatural sense.

At any rate, the intensity seems to come and go in cycles. Right before a big leap forward, the kids become more intense, and then they jump and they're too busy exploring their new skill/ability to bother me too much. BeanBean, for example, is on the verge of reading like a person; right now, he's *extremely* intense about it, but I know that the moment he cracks the code for good, I'll get a few months (at least) of relative calm, wherein he'll entertain himself and there will be little for me to do but help him find more books.

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#4 of 18 Old 09-06-2006, 03:47 AM
 
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Were my son and your daughter separated at birth? LOL. Pretty much everything you've described happened to us....facing out, no quiet alert (all alert, little sleep), sound sensitive, always needing to be entertained, demanding, being intense all the time, etc., etc. We did not have colic, however, but a great deal of crying that left DH and I jumping through hoops to try and meet all of his needs (never happened....) We were certainly HOPING DS was smart to put a context to his behavior, but I was not really sure until after he was a year old and the language, reading, imagination all exploded well beyond his peers.
He's still very difficult, wanting near-constant stimulation at 19 months....but it is better than that first year. The sound sensitivity and visual sensitivity (he would get "lost" in patterns and paintings the first few months of life) are both non-issues now, and there is so much more reciprocity that makes it bearable. But I still need to rely on nursing and walking him on my back in the ergo to get him to sleep. You will hopefully get some relief with the walking, and with the talking once that starts in earnest. DS did not walk until 2 1/2 months ago and it was pure agony for him. He spent a lot of time just pouring over books (which we think is how he taught himself to read) or observing while his peers ran and played. It's especially hard when kids are aware of their own limitations. Just hang in there....I feel like I barely survived the first year, but we are seeing all the benefits now!
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#5 of 18 Old 09-06-2006, 10:05 AM
 
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oooh yes. the energy and intensity. *sigh* we started going out at 2 weeks old and she never liked the sling (maybe i wasnt good at putting it together) because she had to look forward. so for us later when she was older the backpack worked. at 2 weeks she was watching people intently and looking at things v. intently like the skylight at the mall.

i think her first words were at 6 months but they werent legible until 9 months or was it 8.

she wouldnt and still doesnt sleep much. she loves going outside. she loved our local coop and trader joes real early on and many times chose to go there instead of the park when she was under 1.

she was extremely curious about taste and basically tasted everything we ate from when she was 3 months old. to me it seemed she was losing out on something if she didnt get a chance to taste it.

she too was standing up before she crawled at almost 9 months. didnt walk until almost 16 months - which later on i realised totally suited her personality. seh prefers to only do things when she can master it and then she runs with it. at the end of the week when she started walking - or should i say running - in a park you couldnt tell her apart from the early walkers.

she also had colic and HATED the car seat.

the good news is you dont remember the pain. being so spirited and so curious life for me is great fun with my dd. i really cant recall all the frustrated times i had with her. my marriage was breaking up then so i had NO help. i remember being done with parenthood everyday around 5pm. but since i had no help i just got on the floor and played with her. i learned to discover 'my time' with her rather than separate from her. i could never do anything without my dd being stuck to me. at a v. early age i did my chores with her joining in. she was also not interested in toys. everything else but not toys. at 4 months her fav. was the not working keyboard i got her. at 3 months the only way her father could console her when i went to work is to let her pound on the computer keyboard. she didnt look at the screen simultaneously but she could tell the difference between the dummy keyboard and a working one at that age when i would set her up next to me as i tried to do some work from home. it would alwys end up with her on my lap pounding at my keyboard adn then looking up at the results.

i will tell ya life does not get easy. but i feel it is soooo much fun that you dont really mind the work. at my dd's preschool she totally stands apart. she is known as the school clown and every parent notices her and tells me - wow your dd HAS personality. she is v. social.

oh and she used to lunge out at people at what 4 - 6 months if she wanted to communicate to them and they were ignoring her. her first year she had an intense need to touch. today she can back off if i say she cant - but not then. when we used to walk she would reach out and feel telephone poles, tree trunks.

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#6 of 18 Old 09-06-2006, 11:36 PM
 
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Wow, and I thought I was the onl one with one of those. Yes, he was SUPER intense and still is. He would get really mad at me when he would point to the window and I would say ,"window." Finally, I realized he knew what the window was, he wanted to know what those little pieces were that held the window, sigh.

He got so mad at me a few months ago that he cried because I didn't know what a particular bolt on a Buzz Lightyear PICTURE did.

He is the only child I know that remembered for 2 years, that I left him for 3 hours with a friend at 3 MONTHS OLD. Seriously, he would scream and cry whenever we would get close to their house and the whole time we were there, for 2 years.

He also used to lunge at people who wouldn't look at him while he was talking. He would grab your face and pull it to his. . again at about 4-5 months old.

He refused to crawl, but couldn't walk, so I was hunched over walking him for 2 months until he finally figured out how to walk at 9 months. Then he learned to crawl.

Now, he refuses to color in the lines. He can't do it perfectly, so he refuses to do it at all (he scribbles all over the page until the teacher calls it finished).

Oh, he knew all his letters, numbers, colors, and shapes by about 18 months.

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They're not typos. . . I can't spell!
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#7 of 18 Old 09-07-2006, 09:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for sharing your experiences. They sound VERY much like my life right now. It's really nice to know that I'm not alone in this.

Allison:  a little bit Waldorf, a little bit Medievalish, and always"MOMMMMYYYY!" to sweet Cecily since 12.22.05
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#8 of 18 Old 09-19-2006, 09:24 PM
 
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My daughter was much the same way. One of our lifesavers was the Bumbo seat. I could put it on the kitchen island, or the bathroom counter, or anywhere, and she could see everything everyone was doing, at 2 months. It was great, since before that she had insisted on being carried facing forward like you describe constantly, with no breaks for me.

She cried a lot at first, too, but it was out of boredom, nothing else. If you could keep her stimulated, she was fine. She also cried when she got sleepy, she just didn't want to miss a minute of anything. We taught her sign language at 2 months, and a week later she was signing back, about a week after that she put a few things together (like "mama hold"), so that cut down on the crying some. She could communicate her wants and needs much better. I do think it slowed down her speech, though (she's about average with words, but in general communication, way ahead, she always gets full thoughts across when you notice her words, signs, and sound effects all taken together).

She's still like this at 2, btw. Just today we tried a class at My Gym. Total mistake. All of the other kids would sit in their parents laps, etc. DD just wanted to roam, see everything there was to see, then go to the things she found most exciting. I'm thinking that rebelling against authority is probably going to be part of how she is, too. Guess I'm just going to have to follow her lead, and not force her to do things that she doesn't find interesting.
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#9 of 18 Old 09-20-2006, 02:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by cdahlgrd View Post
He can't do it perfectly, so he refuses to do it at all .
This about sums up my 6 year old son.
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#10 of 18 Old 09-23-2006, 02:20 AM
 
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My son was exactly like you describe, minus the colic. I held him for every nap and at night for the first 10.5 months -- I couldn't put him down. He was verbal by 6 months and the doctor, on our 1 yr. appointment, was so shocked, he made me count up his words... 173 with 2 & 3 word sentences. He had to be played with at all times from the time he could focus on people and toys...he had to be carried facing forward from the beginning of life (or else he would cry...) He watched people and animals with profound intensity. He was also very musical early on...singing songs (with pitch) by the time he was one; tapping and clapping to the beat of a song aroun 18 months.

He has grown into an intensely verbal, self-assured, social, fun and unsettlingly bright kid. For instance... he just turned 4; tonight he wanted to know who the person was that was talking in the book I was reading...he wanted to know who the narrator was and the person's place in the story. I don't think I was aware of the narrator in a book until high school. He is reading small words and is working on reading every day, mostly on his own.

Is he gifted? I don't know. But he sure does sound like the baby you are describing. They turn into great, if intense, kids!

Good luck,
Marie
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#11 of 18 Old 09-23-2006, 01:46 PM
 
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My daughter has been pretty similar. I came across the term "active-alert" when she was a baby, and I thought that described her fairly well. She hated to be held in the way people traditionally hold babies, but I couldn't set her down either. When she was about 6 weeks old, I discovered she was only happy standing on my lap, facing out, holding my hands for support. Not very practical for getting things done.

She was an early sitter (by 5 months), crawler (by 7 months), and walker (by 9 months), because she was so driven to do what she wanted, and investigate everything on her own terms. By 10 months, she was a very good walker on her own, and used the playground slide without any assistance, going up the stairs, walking across a ramp, sitting down, sliding down, then walking around to do it again, and again, and again... If I tried to put her in a swing, she freaked out. Based on her personality, I hypothesized that once she could use a swing on her own, she would be interested, and sure enough, when she turned 2, she climbed onto a swing seat and started swinging. Even more fun for her though is when I sit on a swing, because then she'll come up behind me and push me back and forth in the swing! So, yeah, I know what you mean about feeling like the incompetent mommy at the playground. I tend to go at off peak hours because of this sort of thing.

Her favorite expression is "I do it!"

You might want to check out this link; it's a brief summary of some books on the topic of active-alert or spirited kids: http://www.nurturingourfamilies.com/.../exptdefn.html
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#12 of 18 Old 09-23-2006, 03:17 PM
 
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Originally Posted by slacker_mom View Post
Her favorite expression is "I do it!"
BooBah's was "by MYSEWF!! I wiw do it aww by mysewf!!"

Now I usually get some variant of "Just leave it that way."

Rynna, Mama to Bean (8), Boobah (6), Bella (4) and Bear (2)
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#13 of 18 Old 09-24-2006, 02:10 AM
 
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[ want to check out this link; it's a brief summary of some books on the topic of active-alert or spirited kids: http://www.nurturingourfamilies.com/.../exptdefn.html[/QUOTE]

thank you for this link! was wonderful. Yes, my kids are so much like that too. : Makes me dizzy most days.
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#14 of 18 Old 09-25-2006, 03:28 PM
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Mine was very easy and happy. She scared me, though. She walked at 7 months, used the toilet at 9 months, and could jump, climb, run, and skip by a year old.
But she didn't talk to me until she was 3 yrs old and it again scared me because she busted out in an entire story. We were in the car and I had picked the kids up from daycare. For a moment I was panic-stricken because I thought I had accidentally grabbed someone else's kid from daycare.
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#15 of 18 Old 09-25-2006, 05:46 PM
 
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All of the other kids would sit in their parents laps, etc.
Ak! I always wondered what that would be like. Poor Bu was thought of as "naughty" by the majority of people that met him in passing because it was like trying to hold a cat in tweezers. No chance.
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#16 of 18 Old 09-25-2006, 05:49 PM
 
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a cat in tweezers


i swear, Sue32 - you have a great way with words!
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#17 of 18 Old 09-25-2006, 06:21 PM
 
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My son was like MITB's. He was very very early with all the normal baby milestones except talking. It is bizzare to see a 7 m.o. walking, I tell you! He spoke a few words for basic communication and that was it until he was about 2 1/2. When he started to read, he started to talk. Other moms had me worrying like crazy there was something seriously wrong with him. He would go play alone for hours. I really thought the other moms were making things up or were slightly mad when they told me how hard parenting a toddler was. He never said "I can do it", he just went and did it.

Boy did I learn all about high needs with my second though

The Tabbie Family; DH , DS , DD , a few :, a couple : and me.
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#18 of 18 Old 09-28-2006, 12:56 PM
 
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Wow, this was a great thread to read, this sounds so much like my 9month old. He is super intense and strong willed. he didn't cry much, no colic, as long as he was with me though (he still sleeps with me at night, a habbit which I really hope to break soon) he is a real light sleeper, never sleeps through the night (consequently neither do I). He has always been very active, he could pick his head up at birth, sit unsupported at 4 mo. (with an occasional topple over) and walking independently at 8 mo. now at 9mo. he is running around. He has no interest in TV and never has. I'm not a big TV person, but out of curiousity tried out some of the multitude of baby videos I received as gifts, not even a passing glanse at the TV. He lives music though so anytime a some comes on (in a commercial etc.) he stands in front of the TV and starts dancing.
His intensity is what gets me though. he can play, occupy himself, but I need to be sitting there paying attention. If I try reading, he comes over from whatever he is doing and proceeds to rip the book from my hands, he's done this since he was little. I'd be nursing him and trying to read (I'm in grad school, so the reading is necessary) he would stop nursing and proceed to kick or try to grab my pages until I just gave up.
I can actually identify with sooooo many of the behaviors talked about in this thread. this thread is particularly great because all the other parents I know w/ babies of a similar age are sleeping through the night and seem to be able to get more done. It's nice to know there are so many others going through the same thing.
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