Fitting In

Sometimes, the comments B makes make me happy.

I was quizzing her on math facts while driving her across town, and she answered them all without hesitation.

“You need something more difficult, daughter.”

So I asked her subtraction facts instead, answered with equally quick replies. I was surprised; we haven’t really worked on subtraction very much.

“How did you figure those out so fast?”

“Well, you know, Mom, everything is really just addition.”

My teacher self was so proud.

Sometimes, the comments B makes are painful.

“Mom, that girl at the park was so clever!”

“Oh really? Why?”

“She was really great at losing me!”

*Sigh*

I want my kiddo to be able to go to the park and find a buddy to play with. Yes, she has her sister, but sometimes a 5-and-three-quarters (as she likes to say) needs a bigger-than-three to play with.

Instead, she finds kids that are good at losing her, while the rest play happily together.

I see her sweetness, her immediate love for all, her ability to make a friend in three seconds. They see her lack of respect for physical boundaries, her intensity, her oddness.

It’s hard on a mama.

We were at a girl scout cookie booth last weekend. B was tired, she had been at a practice for a play all morning. There were lots of people, lots of noise, unfamiliars everywhere. She decided to build a fort with empty cookie boxes instead of help sell cookies. I could see her point…it was quiet and shady in there. I would have liked to crawl in if I could have fit. Then, she chased balloons around like a kitten, paying no attention to where other people were standing or what they were doing. She had to be asked to stop. So, she took a ribbon with a balloon weight attached, and “walked” it, telling everyone it was her pet, Smiley.

Which was all fine. But odd. And little girls pounce on odd. A few of them took over her fort and wouldn’t let her in. Another scout reprimanded them and helped B recover her spot, which made me want to hug that little girl. Finally, we had to leave when B decided that she had had enough and settled down on a bench for a nap.

When I write it all down, it doesn’t seem so bad. But in the moment, it was uncomfortable, embarrassing, out-of-place. The other girl scout moms were watching her, no doubt wondering “What is UP with that kid?” while their children stood at the booth and happily sold cookies to strangers.

I feel awful when I am embarrassed of my girl, when I want her to conform to social norms and act like the rest of the kids. That is not who she is, and I doubt she ever will be. In fact, I don’t want her to be – that would mean that something broke her, and she gave up her exquisite self to be someone else, to fit in.

I need to put away my own pride and emotions in those situations and make sure that I support her in who she is when her individuality appears. That’s difficult some days.

Gifted

Some days I dislike that word, that label. “Gifted” is showing off, “everyone is gifted”, “gifted” is fictional.

But to those it applies to, personally or otherwise, it is a mix of emotions. It is joy and amazement and excitement. Some days it is dread and fear. Gifted is complicated, different, painful, wonderful, innovating, surprising…I could go on. Every day is varied – a roller coaster experience that few understand and definitely not acceptable playground conversation.

Gifted is like a different set of glasses. Same world, same people, much stronger lens. It means you feel more intensely, hear at a different volume, see everything in a stronger way.  Sometimes this leads to epiphanies and explanations of things much beyond the years. Some days it just means melt downs over loud places, or food or clothing that doesn’t “feel” right.

And I need a place to talk about it, to be excited without fall-out or dirty looks, to vent my frustrations and fears. Maybe, even, to find support or support others who know exactly what I am talking about.

So, here I am.

I have three daughters. Two are gifted, no formal testing yet, but I am really looking forward to when they are old enough for some valid results, for a variety of reasons. My husband is PG. I haven’t ever been extensively tested, but I feel like I fit into the just-gifted-enough-to-be-out-of-sync-with-people category. Just typing that makes me feel awkward, like I am bragging. I’m working on that.

I want my kids to understand who they are, and be able to work with their abilities and sensitivities in order to navigate this world successfully. I wish I had known about overexcitabilities as a child/teen…it would have made so many situations make more sense. I am often grateful for my OE‘s now; they have helped me understand my little ones so much better from the beginning, even if I didn’t have a term for them back then.

I home school, mostly unschool, with some structure thrown in here and there. This is a regular struggle for me…realizing what my five year old will learn if I just leave her alone to learn, and second-guessing whether I am teaching her/exposing her to enough. Listening to my three year old’s vocabulary grow daily, and feeling reassured. Navigating the melt downs, the perfectionisms. Heartened by the progress. The pendulum swings back and forth all the time.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.