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The content in this blog can get pretty heavy. Bullying, exclusion and social anxiety are no joke. My intent isn’t to be a downer, though; it’s to get people’s attention, dispel myths, and help parents who can’t figure out why their kids are struggling socially. I want to provide information – and relief. You know, make life more enjoyable!
So, in the spirit of amusement and lightheartedness, I share with you some possible clues I missed before learning my son is gifted. If you have a “kite kid” (my term for gifted and twice exceptional) and didn’t know it, I’d love to hear about the signs you missed, too.
When my daughter was a newborn, and my son was just hitting two years old, one way I kept him entertained was with a Winnie the Pooh puzzle he’d been given as a gift. It was 48 pieces as I recall, so when we received it, I remember thinking it would be years until he could do it on his own. One day as I was trying to keeping him busy, I pulled it out of the box, assembled the whole thing, and took out a few pieces at a time. He quickly put them back in their places, so I kept taking out more pieces each time and, within a week or two, he was building the entire puzzle on his own. I am not a teacher type, so I remember giving myself a little pat on the back for “teaching” him how to assemble a nearly 50-piece puzzle at barely two years old. As I now know, that accomplishment had little to do with me, other than providing him with the opportunity to do so!
Germs are terrifying
When my son was two years old, he began having nightmares; not about monsters, but “bad, scary germs.” It was due to an episode of Curious George, called The Inside Story, in which George got a head cold. George drifted off to sleep and, in his dream, he shrunk down small enough to go inside his own body and fight Toots and the Germettes, a blues-singing germ and his back-up singers.
For some reason, this episode was very disturbing to my son.
After several nights of waking up crying, my friend recommended using “bad germ spray” (a.k.a. lavender spray) at bedtime. Thankfully, it helped. After that, I joked that someday, when he was working for the CDC, I could laugh with him about how his career path began.
Flying monkeys are lame
Were any of you scared to death of the flying monkeys in The Wizard of Oz? When I was a kid, I was so creeped out that I always had to leave the room!
They’ve never frightened my son, though. What did absolutely terrify him, however, was the tornado. He could sense its incredible power on a level that most kids – and even many video-taping adults – don’t fully comprehend. In fact, four years later, tornadoes remain one of his biggest fears.
While I hate to see him tremble during tornado watches and warnings (thankfully, they’re infrequent), I can’t help but be amazed by how he was able to distinguish, at such a young age, what was a real threat and what wasn’t.
One day, when my son was four, he excitedly led me to the playroom to show me a book he’d discovered. “Mom, look at this cool book I found!” he exclaimed as he pointed to The World’s Greatest Architecture Past and Present. “Isn’t it great?!?”
He already loved building things and I suspected he’d enjoy this book at some point; however, I was surprised it was so soon! His enthusiasm was cute and it led to a nice conversation about: Stonehenge, the pyramids, the Leaning Tower of Pisa,
castles, cathedrals, and other architectural wonders.
Conclushns and Diugrafs
I keep an organizer between my kids’ car seats. It’s always stocked with paper, books and small travel-friendly games. When my son was five, he created this “journal” in a blank notebook over the span of several car rides.
I thought it was adorable, so I saved it. Knowing what I know now, I’m even more taken by it. It’s neat to see how that brain of his was processing things at that age.
(P.S. “Diugrafs” was a combination of “diagrams” and “graphs” – or something like that. Lol)
Waiting for our meals
When he was five or six, and we were at a restaurant waiting on our food to arrive, our son would build plans for sewer lines and other underground infrastructure with sugar packets. It always amused me.
Bring on a real challenge
By six years old, our son was assembling K’nex and LEGO sets designed for kids well beyond his age in a matter of hours. He was always so engrossed in these projects that we had to remind him to eat. (I now know that’s an example of the intellectual overexcitability.)
Places to skip when you’re traveling
We attended a party and my son asked the hostess about a map on the wall. It was the kind that has push pins, showing where the family has traveled. “You aren’t going to North Korea, right?” he asked her with concern.
By this point, “the G word” had been mentioned (but not confirmed) and as a look of confusion appeared on her face, I realized this wasn’t something an eight-year-old would typically say. I then joked that, the previous year, he’d heard how one of their soldiers, who escaped to South Korea, had worms in his digestive track and my son never forgot it.
The two-pound push
A few days after his eighth birthday, my son announced that his front tooth had finally come out. It was morning and he had just woken up, so I asked what happened. “All it took was a two-pound push,” he replied. I repeated this and asked if I’d heard him correctly. “Yes,” he said. “It only took about two pounds of pressure; maybe less.”