As Her Unique Mind Settles


B likes me to tuck her in and have a bedtime chat. I snuggle down between piles of books and stuffed animals.

“Are you sleepy, Honey?”

“No. I’m waiting for my mind to remember everything it just learned. Sometimes when I learn so much in one day, it all goes to the same spot and gets scrambled up and doesn’t make any sense.”

I imagine a room full of boxes where information floats through the air and has to land in its rightful destination. She tells me it takes some time, but eventually her thoughts settle in the correct places.

After a few moments of quiet in the dark,

“Mom, how do you think Homer wrote so much if he was blind? Did someone write the words for him? How do you think he knew how to describe everything? I guess there are a lot of things that you don’t need your eyes for. Sometimes you can just see with your heart.”

We discuss this and new ideas she has and topics that I am studying.

Recently, I read “A Forgotten Voice: A Biography of Leta Hollingworth“, by Ann Klein. She was a pioneer in gifted psychology; a brilliant, dynamic woman during a time that did not offer women as many opportunities.

I tell B about Hollingworth, and how she led the way in the investigation of how the mind works, and studied people whose minds could learn more and faster than others.

“Like me, Mom? That’s how I am. I learn so fast and I feel like I can learn everything and my brain will never fill up. It’s like a notebook, and every time I fill a page, I can turn the page and there is another blank one to write on.”

Yes, I say, like you. I tell her about how Hollingworth also studied the role of emotions in those whose “brains never fill up” and how they often feel more intensely than others.

“Like me, Mom! When I get so mad I cry, and when my beaker fills up so fast and I feel like I’m going to explode!”

She asks if the people whose minds work differently feel differently in the world too.

“Sometimes I feel like everyone likes me and sometimes I feel like I don’t fit in anywhere. Do you ever feel like you don’t fit in anywhere, Mom?”

Not long ago, I spoke with a young man who is battling depression. He described feeling much like this when he was young. His “rage to master” is still present in his twenties, but the more he learns about the world, the more it feels like a burden. Navigating the intense emotions that come along with deep understanding can be challenging. “Fitting in” is a concept he’s given up on.

B articulates how she feels and learns beautifully.  I hope that her mind’s notebook pages keep turning and filling, and that her father and I can encourage her through the passionate and lonely and expressive moments in her future. I hope she’ll find her tribe where she is understood. I hope that when she’s older,  she’ll embrace her uniqueness the way she does now.

For now, I hope our bedtime chats continue for years to come, for I love to hear her thoughts as her unique mind settles.

This post is part of the#NZGAW Blog Tour for Gifted Awareness Week. 

Click here to read more posts from gifted bloggers and children!


22 thoughts on “As Her Unique Mind Settles

  1. This is just so beautiful, Nikki! Your writing is so compassionate and descriptive that I can so clearly see how your daughter’s mind works. Beautiful writing and beautiful minds!


  2. I spent so much time on the computer that I missed my daughters smiles every morning.She would come out of room and I could see her out of the corner of my eye staring at me.While I never turn my head away from the screen to let her know I see her.The tv was in the next room and after no welcome to the day from me,she would go directly to it,me thinking I would only be another minute online and go speak to her while she was still fresh from waking up.But I never did pull away and when I did the moment was lost.That was like that from time on,then she stop stopping by me and went straight to the tv.When we went to visit relatives entering the room,they all sat with their laptops out,I could see the exasperation she felt and the head drop.Now I know she understood it was the lap top that took up everyones interest and none for her.I don’t what will become of her for not having someone to share those moments with her when she ran from the bed to greet me.


    • It can be difficult to balance feeding your craving mind and giving much to energetic youngsters. Perhaps this is much more true in the digital age – yes. There is not just good info to consume & use but also a huge amount of distraction. I’m sure many share your experience and concerns in our generation. More so in gifted parent population? Generally, the current generation of parents were not prepared for this age and I imagine a variety of factors have challenged our “success”. Good News: Today is a brand new day & there is much that can be done to heal & move on from any perceived mistakes. Forgive yourself first. The heart & brain have the capacity for renewal. If they didn’t this world would be without hope. Best to you!


  3. Oh wow! This is just beautiful and I can totally relate to this. Every evening I do exactly the same with our daughter – snuggle down and chat about the day, her thoughts, her worries, her challenges, etc. These conversations help her mind to settle and rest for the day. They are the best!


  4. I enjoyed your post very much and will keep reading here for more inspiration.And hope to learn along the way,before the song ends about being 21 and going out the door and having children of your own.


  5. Bedtime was always such a special time in our house …. I read to my daughter and my husband read to my son most nights. I remember the not so subtle criticism that was whispered about when we shared with those who really didn’t understand how special this time was to us as parents; ‘why on earth would you bother to read to kids who were so smart and could read on their own?’ We would simply smile in return; the bonds that grew in those quiet moments will never be broken or forgotten. Relish this time with your daughter. It is the soul of parenthood.


  6. Inspiring and powerful: a clear and loving example of how self-connection and self-understanding precede fitting in. These conversations undoubtedly contribute to peace in the world.


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