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Archive for the ‘Gifted Children’ Category

Nope. We are not. It has just been too damn busy around here – for a myriad of reasons – most good, but some – not so much. I am sneaking in a quick post so that all our friends in the blogosphere do not think that our children finally did in fact – send us to the loony bin.

For starters. the hubbies are off in Gettysburg for a LONG weekend. Doing what you ask? Ghost hunting. That leaves 2 moms and 3 very gifted children with major OEs. We have officially been outnumbered. Not only that, but my cherub is  devouring protein at an astounding rate. He has eaten more chicken breast this month than I think I have eaten all year. At first I thought it was a growth spurt, but then in talking with Ecemom about something completely unrelated, I realized that the boy has been running non-stop since the warm weather finally arrived here in Northern IL. He is needing the extra energy stores and when he has too much sugar – oh my – the sass that comes from his mouth is ‘teenage’ in characteristic. (He is also experimenting with humor and sarcasm, but he hasn’t quite gotten when it is appropriate to use this with his ‘cranky’ mother.)

There are family issues (UGH), work issues, school issues, home projects, getting to know the new neighbors, more family issues (You can pick your nose, but….), and last but certainly not least – summer fun to be had. You see when the frozen tundra finally thaws, we only have 3 very short months to enjoy the weather (and Ecemom’s free time) – so of course we are ceasing this opportunity.

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Camp Invention ended yesterday. EE was sad. He loves Camp Invention. I love his enthusiasm. {SS also attended his first ‘camp’. I think Ecemom is going to blog on his experience. (It was a huge developmental step for him.)} Seeing EE’s face light up with his discoveries makes it all so worth it. Can’t wait to see what he comes up with in July during his Leapfrog Robotics class.

Ecemom and I are contemplating starting a parent affiliate to IAGC for our area. The state of Illinois is a financial cluster *&^% and we fear that if we do not organize ourselves quickly, we may lose what little gifted programming that we currently have in our district. We have been informally networking with other parents, but it may be time to get ‘serious’.

We re-scheduled our meeting with the principal and gifted coordinator until August. This was not by choice but more because of scheduling conflicts. However, it does give me more time to prepare.

I am trying to get some ‘home schooling’ in.  We are working on our Times Tales and it seems to be ‘sinking in’.  It is a mnemonic system for memorizing multiplication facts.  YAY!!! He is reading 60 minutes most days. We are trying very hard to get those Harry Potter books finished. Writing still remains the Achilles heel. He has done some but I need to really find some good exercises for him. Oh, how I wish there were more hours in the day.

So we are hopeful to get some more writing done here. Lord knows these children give us enough material.

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Anyone else get these?

Not the whole – ‘holy smoke my kid will be home 24/7 for the next 3 months’ blues. What I am talking about is the feeling you get as the parent of a gifted child when you look back on the past academic year – not unlike most parents do – but rather instead of feeling like there was growth for your child –  having the sinking feeling that yet another year went past and you are still no closer to seeing him challenged appropriately – despite your best efforts and intentions.

{{{SIGH}}}

This was by far – a much better year than last. Hands down. However, I started the year with such optimism and hope. Now – I feel like a stretched out balloon. Deflated. And devoid of that puffed up feeling that I had 9 months ago.

We are trying to look at the positives…

He was much more secure socially. He has actually connected with his classmates. He is building friendships – not acquaintances. He LIKES his school. He likes his teachers. For this we are extremely grateful.

For the most part, he did not complain about going to school and sometimes was even eager to go. (HUGE improvement.)

Despite the fact that he did not ‘qualify’ for the ‘gifted’ program. (Damn CogAT.) The gifted coordinator still made time for him the last trimester and a half. She worked with him on a Greek Mythology Family Tree which he presented to his class at the end of the year. (He was also told by several of his cluster-mates that they were jealous and wished they could go and work on Greek Myths.)

Math was somewhat accelerated. This was good, but we still have a ways to go there. Hoping for 5th grade math next year.

We spoke with the folks in Denver. We have made a ‘plan’ and are trying to execute it. The next step is speaking with the Principal. We will do this in a few weeks.

I just feel like I climbed a mountain – only to get to the summit through the clouds and realize that I am facing yet another climb and this one has no end in sight either.

I just want to have ‘fun’ and blow it all off. However, we have work to do. Whatever ‘label’ you want to give EE’s difficulties, we have to ‘deal’. We have to help him find ways to ‘cope and compensate’. I am not an educator. I am not an OT. I am not anything but a mom on a mission and I am afraid that may not be ‘enough’. What to do?

So while we are prepping for camps and play dates, we are also devising a ‘summer home school curriculum’ to make up for the areas that he did not see any growth in this year. We are looking at ways to make rote memorization easier – perhaps through visualization? He is aware. He is not pleased, but he has finally realized that I am not ‘giving in’. I will do my best to make it fun. I will do my best not to ‘overwhelm”. I will do my very best to reward effort and accomplishment.

I will also probably consume copious amounts of alcohol and ice cream 🙂

Can you relate? Do you want to ram your head against the wall? Or perhaps roll over and pretend that the alarm is not going off – just be lazy?

Because remember – “What does she have to worry about? Her kid is gifted.” LMFAO!!!!!

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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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Okay so we are back from our much anticipated (and very needed) vacation to Walt Disney World. (It has been a month now – I want to go back.) It was an amazing trip, despite the icky weather. (I will take rain over snow – any day.) We had a great time. However, when we first arrived, it took EE some time to acclimate – which is funny because this is usually one of his strengths. He is pretty good at adjusting to new situations. Disney was complete and total over stimulation! We did not see this when he was four. He was just so excited to be there. But this time….different story. I think all the sights and sounds and sensations were just too overwhelming for him. He almost completely shut down which is not like him at all.

It probably took us 2 full days to all get into “Disney” mode and start enjoying our trip. The first 48 hours all I am thinking is, “What the hell is the matter with us? We are in Disney World, ‘The Happiest Place on Earth’ and yet, we all look miserable. Then I had that Oprah ‘ah-ha’ moment. We were all experiencing some sort of overload. EE the senses. DH and I were in an emotional pressure cooker (Stress and baggage from home mixed with the desire for EE to have a good – NO great time.) What the hell did we spend all this $$$ for if we are not enjoying ourselves? So my epiphany triggered a tongue lashing for DH. (“Just because you like to be scared $h*tless on rides doesn’t mean EE does, nor does he have to like any ride. This is not about you. This is a FAMILY vacation. Got it? Good.) Which initially, he didn’t take so well, but after he cooled off (and realized how his emotions were affecting EE), he was more relaxed and the fun Dad that I know. Once he and I relaxed, then EE started to unwind and the rest was ‘magical’. We thoroughly just enjoyed being in the moment and really isn’t that what the Disney experience is all about?

Oh right, the book. Disney this time around opened my eyes to just how much OEs can affect kids. Disney is a booby-trap of sensory delights for most, but for those with OEs or other types of sensory challenges….Watch out! Yowza! The imagineers are truly geniuses of their craft. However, some kids (and adults) just can’t handle all that stimulation. Their imagination just can’t fathom that this is all just ‘make believe’. Even if they logically KNOW it, it is another thing to be submersed in the drama and intensity of the 4D theater and REMEMBER it. The sights, sounds, smells and yes….feelings of many of the attractions is amazing, but could trigger quite a meltdown in more than one child that I know. So parents of gifted children, especially those with sensory OEs, I advise you to do your homework before embarking in Walt’s Kingdom. Prepare your children (and spouses) for the inevitable rush that is Disney.

A few things to consider…..

  • Any 3D or 4D movie (ie – It’s tough to be a bug, Honey I shrunk the audience, Muppets, etc) is very intense. It is not just loud and colorful, it’s literally in your face and at your ankles. Small children WILL be overwhelmed.
  • Soarin’ is hands down one of the best rides ever, but think carefully about bringing anyone with the potential for motion sickness or sensory issues on this ride.
  • Stitch’s Great Escape and Dinosaur are NOT for preschoolers. Period. They’re way too intense. EE barely handled it this time around. Last trip, he was fascinated by just about everything, but these rides.
  • The fireworks and light shows are LOUD!!!! Bring ear plugs or noise canceling headphones. You will get wet at Fantasmic if you sit in the first 15 rows.
  • Mickey Mouse looks like a giant rat to an infant.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are sights and sounds everywhere in WDW. I LOVE IT! It is really one of my absolute favorite places to be, but this trip really opened my eyes. I truly believe that you need to be prepared for Disney. It is a lot of money to spend on a vacation. Worth every cent. However, I also really believe that a lot of families have NO idea of what they are getting themselves into. If your child has OEs – you really need to research and apy attention to what other families are saying. There is nothing worse than getting off a ride or leaving a show with a child who is terrified. What fun is that?  So my biggest advice…buy a good guide book and research online which rides your little dumplings may have trouble experiencing.

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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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