Archive for the ‘Early Childhood Gifted’ Category

I think starting Kindergarten is hard for any parent; but I have found it especially hard as a mom with a child who has over excitabilities. There was no doubt in my mind that my son was ready for the academic aspects of Kindergarten. But what to do with those OE’s. Do you tell the teacher? Do you tell anyone or do you let life happen as it may, and divulge after.

This summer prepared us for the transition into the world of formal schooling. We sent out oldest to Camp Invention through the recommendation of our school’s gifted coordinator. The silly new mommy in me thought this week-long camp (full day) would give me a nice time to catch up on the household items always put to the side (never mind the benefits for my little man). Well my bubble got popped about hour 2 into the first day. The phone call… my son was workin’ it: didn’t feel well; missed me; cried, etc. So I spent pretty much the whole 1st day with him (along with my un-napped 2-year-old and my dear friend). Day 2 I compromised and meet him for lunch, etc. My son was present when the director of the camp called me and told me my sons list of ailments. She then suggested that he might just have a nervous tummy (as perfectionist often do). He now uses that phrase when he is trying to maneuver himself out of new situations ” you know Mrs. H told me I have a nervous tummy.” Clever kid!!

That experience – hard for us both for different reasons – actually made the transition into kindergarten much easier. The first week of kindergarten I have found both hysterical and stressful all at the same time.

Knowing the experience we had over the summer and that my son has OE’s I did all I could as a parent and early childhood professional to help my child transition into his new setting : picture of the teacher ahead; color of village; set up play dates with other children listed in his class. I was prepared and so was he….until the school changed his room assignment 3 TIMES (all within 2 weeks of school starting).  After several phone calls and my wanting to bulldoze the principal and hearing all the same crap I dish out “children are resilient, etc.” – Yes most children are very resilient (and it is often the parents who are not) but my son is not most kids he has OE’s – emotional OE’s. We got through that.

About day 2 my son cam home (loving his teacher) and saying “she did the cutest thing….FOR THE KIDS THAT DIDN’T KNOW THEIR NUMBERS.” I thought a minute about his sentence before asking the next question (The “kids” that didn’t know their numbers – he was excluding himself from that group on day 2). He explained how she had them sing a song to remember how to draw the number 5. I asked what he did during that time: he said he drew four 5’s and then figured out that four 5’s would equal 20 if you added them all up. So do you share that with teacher after day 2?

Day 4 the gifted coordinator emailed me to say she popped in to meet TJ – good sign.

I have spent countless hours in my sons early childhood experience both as mom and as his teacher intervening and preventing some emotional meltdowns from OE’s through my controlling the situation or my talking him through his own control. I can’t do that at school now. I am not there to see that the frustration is due to perfectionism and talk him through that. I am not there when someone makes fun of him for knowing the answers most of the time to let him know it’s OK to be smart and be proud of that (yes that has happened already too). Or to tell him to let others answer the question even when he knows the answer 1st (this one has been hard; but we talk about it at home).

We all do it… we let go little by little…allowing them the spread their wings and hopefully use the tools we have instilled (both coping and other) to go to school. I just didn’ think this would be so hard on me!


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Tonight my dear friend and I went to a OE workshop given by our school district. In a room filled with maybe 15 people – I thought to myself, this is such an unrecognized aspect of education and “caring” for our children but SO important! We know the importance as we live the meltdowns, the over reactions, etc.

I took away a few things on the subject that I was compelled to share immediately with my husband upon coming home from the workshop and now I will share with you.

1. Don’t ignore your child’s OE’s as if they don’t exist – respect them enough as people to respond to their over response.

2. You are not able to “change” your children (or your spouse) – they are who they are. They are MORE EXTREME

3. Ask yourself during a OE moment – “What does it matter?” or “Does it really hurt anyone?” My son does not like the feel of paint on his hands – does it matter that I will not be getting a painted picture from him in school – no – there are so many other areas he expresses creativity.

4. “RISK” – this was my favorite part of the workshop tonight. The word came up in a dual context. The word was used in a gifted group as a vocabulary word that many children were not familiar with; the word is also (as I learned tonight) something so many of our overexcitable kids have reactions to because they are afraid of it. RISK – to try something new and possibly fail. To a perfectionist ( a trait very common among gifted children) this is a scarey aspect. I liked this aspect so much because of how I left my house tonight for the workshop. My 4-year-old son was on the computer doing a math game (adding subtracting) and when things got “hard” for him, he shut off the program. My last words to him before leaving tonight were ” it’s OK not to get the correct answer – that’s how you learn.”

Before going to the workshop my co-editor and I enjoyed a quite child free dinner – talking about our children. I shared a story of how my son asked what selfish ment today. I used examples of him in our family to define the word for him. The day came full circle for me tonight when listening to te OE workshop and the items mentioned above. I leave with you this; that of which I discovered tonight – Don’t be selfish when it comes to parenting your OE child. It might not make sense to us or fit into “our” plan, but respect their sensitivities enough to not ignore them and wish they (the OE’s) didn’t exist. Tonight I appreciate my child’s OE’s and all the “more” he and she have to offer. (Tomorrow might be another story 🙂

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We celebrated my mother’s 60th birthday this weekend. One of the many festivities included children – my overexcitable children! (Remember one is the psychomotor poster child and the other is the sensual /emotional poster child).

So going into this evening event – I knew were we in for a fun evening. Not sure if I was more worried about the kids or how the OE husband would also handle the kids. Never mind over who – I was stressed!!

Upon arriving early to the function with my oldest (son) – we began to prep the banquet room. Now my son for years prior had strong aversions to smells and become very emotional over them. Children with OE’s have heightened awareness. Whatever we experiences (smells, sight, sound, touch) they experience it times 100. We had taught him (and family members) coping skills with this issue – although we had not experienced it to this degree for a while.

No food in sight, my son sinks to the floor and covers his mouth and nose. I did the immediate stressed mommy throwing a party reaction: “this day is about your grandmother, let’s not do this now.” Not very early childhood, but a somewhat typical stressed mother reaction. He collected himself – for about 10 minutes and did it again. He insisted that something smelled horrible in the room. I am looking and looking and finally see on the table salad dressings… italian and creamy GARLIC! BINGO!! I brought the garlic over to him and asked him if this is what the smell was – his face gave me the correct answer. So I removed the dressing from our table and life was good again.

Two things ran across my mind: #1 thank god my husband was not here yet (he doesn’t handle his smell issue (or any issue well)). #2 I am glad I took a moment (even when I didn’t have a moment to spare) to respectfully acknowledge his OE to the senses. I have learned the hard way, that although we try to teach most children to cope – these are not most children we are dealing with. I have found that the more I respect his OE’s that he really has no control over – the more I will get a bit of the normal in return. If you have not done so – and your child has overexcitabilities – read the links on how to help those type of gifted children.http://www.sengifted.org/…/Lind_OverexcitabilityAndTheGifted.shtml 

This link was a great resouce I gave to my husband who was a bit tired of me telling him on how to “handle” our very specail children. He’s a bit touched himself as well.

Once my husband did arrive with the psychomotor child, who ran circles around the banquet tables – chaos began again. It was a nice 30 minutes of living without chaos. We try – and that’s all we can do as parents!

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Putting children to bed in general is not always an easy task, but putting a child to bed that is gifted with overexcitabilities is at times an impossible task. Now try putting two of them to bed – UGH!!!

When my son was one, I literally hated and dreaded bed time. I so enjoyed our day time together, but as night approached I hated what I was in store for. I found myself saying “no” to many social invitations, with the knowledge that 3-4hours of uninterrupted sleep might be the best I could hope for. I wish I knew then what I know have learned about these little brains that don’t always shut off.

I think I finally stumped my sons brain. You see that is the trick to getting one to bed whose brain doesn’t shut off. Ater years of telling him “time to turn your brain off” after hours in bed of “what if ” questions and mathematic problems in his little preschool head…I figured it out with the help of a song and a book. “The Ants go Marching “- it’s a great book with the theme of the old traditional song. Howev er this book has each ant multiplied on each page. Yes we had to count everyone on every page. This struck a nerve in his little 4 year old brain and we love multiplication. He asked on night how I know my facts so well. I said you memorize them. So I asked if he would like to hear them. Big shocker… he said yes. So I began going through the multiplication tables and by the time I got to the 9’s he said “you gotta stop, I am so tired.” I layed next to him in his bed, rubbing his back and reveling in my moment of stumping and exhausting his brain to sleep.

Now the little lady in our life, as I sit here and type now, was put to bed about an hour ago. She has since recited (word for word) 4 separate children’s books. She is 2 (newly) and just recited Brown Bear, Baby Bear, Bear Hunt and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. I have yet to stump her brain. Suggetsion s welcome!!!

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I was interviewed today about my children and their “exceptionalities”. It was good and eye-opening for both the interviewer and me (the interviewed). It was good for the interviewer to be able to hear what life with overexcitabilities is like.

The interviewer posed a great statement to me: “You are aware, that there are children and parents out there who have it more rough than you do.” I totally agreed with her and her statement. I am SO appreciative of my exceptional family members (all 3 of them  –  husband included!!) I just was not prepared for them, and in a way neither is school or society.

After agreeing with her statement – I went on to explain that having a gifted child with overexcitabilities becomes a disability for your child when people are not aware of your child’s low area of uneven development. Some children, just be looking at them, make you aware of their abilities or lack there of. Other children travel from one classroom to another with an IEP or 504 – allowing others to view inside – getting a sneak preview of what is in store of what is needed.

I explained that with my son, I can’t tape a post-it to him (or my husband) saying “use caution – “extremely emotional and sensitive.” “Warning – may explain the rotation of the earth to you one minute and 2-year-old melt down the next.”

I can however advocate for him and make those I am close with aware – family, close friends. And in other instances – I watch his emotions and things that I have found that affect his emotions.

Children with higher brain function use more protein. Children with higher brain function usually sleep less (some need less sleep / other like my children – need the sleep, but can not stop their brain from processing to fall asleep). These are things I can help control – My motto – control that which you have control over!!

The interviewer, was in fact, my sister!

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This is often thought to mean that the person needs lots of movement and athletic activity, but can also refer to the issue of having trouble smoothing out the mind’s activities for sleeping. Lots of physical energy and movement, fast talking, lots of gestures, sometimes nervous tics.

The above statement is from the website listed above. The item lacking in this definition however is a photo of my daughter. The two are synanomous. The constant motion actually started in utero. Do you know when you are pregnant and about to fall asleep in the last months and little junior starts kicking – most of the time you win. The little in utero bundle of joy finally shifts position – NOT MY DAUGHTER!!! That should have been clue #1 for what I was in store for.

I always joke that my two children are exhausting – but for different reason. SS is mentally exhausting with his emotions; constant quest for knowledge, etc. My daughter (DD) physically exhausts me. When my co-author and dear friend is over she always says that my daughter is exhausting to watch. My husband will often sit on the couch and stare in amazement saying “what if she were a boy? Have you ever seen a girl this active?”

The name for DD in this blog actually came from my co-contributor and dear friend – as she refers to my daughter as danger prone daphanie – thus DD.

Both children, we now have to remind them to “turn their brains off” to go to sleep at night. To say that children with overexcitabilities have active minds, both day and night would be an understatement.

As for fast talking…I was fully ready to take my daughter in for a speech evaluation when I thought she was not speaking enough and clearly. (Remember my occupation is a hazard to myself). Well, long story short she was talking and  early – we all just thought it was jibberish – because it was too fast. Now my little lady is no wallflower, and has plenty to say. We have gone from worrying about her development to saying OMG!!! about her development. She will be 2 the end of February – knows all alphabet and their sounds; pretty much has toilet trained herself and has the fine motor skills of a 5 year old. She walks the walk and talks the talk – she IS psychomotor!!

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