The term gifted means a lot of things to a lot of people. To me, the term feels a lot like those bumper stickers you see everywhere: “My Child is on the Honor Roll at XYZ School.” It’s a statement of fact that the parents are justifiably proud of, but it feels pretentious and braggy to me.
I hate being pretentious and braggy.
I hesitate to call the Engineer gifted because he’s never been tested for that. He consistently tests whole grade levels above his grade in other evaluations. He’s clearly smart and curious, but is that enough? Do you have to officially pass the “gifted test” to use that term?
I don’t know.
What I do know is this:
He’s beyond curious. Questions pour out of him like water out of the faucet he’s determined to play with.
I once read that smart children know the answers. Gifted children ask the questions.
If you go by that criteria the Engineer is the most profoundly gifted person I’ve ever met!
If you might think that I’m proud and amazed at his abilities, you would be right. But that’s far less important than the fact that I can’t keep up with him; I’m constantly barraged with a bewildering amount of detailed questions that I can’t answer. Every child is curious. This is curiosity on meth. This is curiosity addicted to knowledge and begging for its latest fix.
It’s exhausting. It’s overwhelming. It’s depressing (my kid is smarter than I am!) and it’s frustrating.
Frustrating? Yes. He’s happiest when learning, but he has little patience for boring things. Things like T-ball. Grocery runs. Worksheets. The inevitable doctor’s visits that having three small children requires. Being bored triggers behavioural issues that are growing increasingly worse.
When you add the asynchronous development, the ADHD, the ODD behaviors, and the anxiety and Sensory Processing Disorder, it’s almost more than a parent can handle. I say almost because I haven’t run screaming yet. There’s always tomorrow.
I don’t like the term gifted and all the connotations that it implies. I can tiptoe around it all I like – the fact is, the Engineer is different. He learns differently. He thinks differently. He uses logic and reasoning in ways that a typical 5-year-old will not.
If I use the term gifted and you associate him with these behaviors, great! But most people will probably hear me say “gifted” and think I’m just another pretentious mom determined that her special snowflake will get special treatment.
I would gladly trade the deep discussions on whether cannibals would kill you first before they eat you for a neurotypical T-ball game. I would love to have some time for my brain to rest, to stop researching things like injection molding and how glass is made. I doubt that’s going to happen until I can send him off to bother his college professors.
He is who he is. And I love him despite it and because of it all at the same time.