I write a lot about my oldest son. He takes up a large share of time and attention, as does his younger brother because of their 2e issues. My daughter … she doesn’t appear to be 2e. In fact, for a long time I didn’t think she was gifted. She was “normal.” “Average.” At least, what passes for average in this family.
She’s the grand age of almost 5, and I’ve finally admitted that she’s gifted over the last 6 months. Sure, she’s young. She hasn’t been tested. So really, you’re just taking my word for it. That’s fine – because you’ve been taking my word for it when I talk about the Engineer or the Destroyer too. But it feels different to claim “gifted” for my daughter.
Not because she’s a girl. Good grief no. It’s the other stereotype: the classic, intellectually gifted child, who wows people with their abilities. That’s my oldest. That’s what my youngest is starting to show. It’s not how my middle child works.
The old enemy: imposter syndrome
In fact, how I feel about my daughter has made me take a good hard look at my own giftedness. I broke down and admitted giftedness after reading Paula Prober’s book “Your Rainforest Mind,” which is a darned good read for parents of gifted who “used” to be gifted. I’ve always know that my husband was gifted – he’s been tested and it’s fairly obvious. It’s not so obvious in me. At least, it’s not the classic stereotype.
To claim giftedness for myself seems like cheating. So by extension, it seems like cheating for my daughter too. After all, she’s not doing algebra at the age of 5, like her brother did. She’s not asking incessant questions about everything under the sun. She doesn’t display the less positive ‘e’s of 2e. She is herself.
The signs of gifted
My daughter is smart, but not drastically. She’s academically ahead, but not amazingly so. She’s fairly average socially, with no major delays or issues. What she does have is emotional and imaginational overexcitabilities. Lots and lots of them! So when, exactly, did I become convinced that she is gifted? I’m not sure. It’s been a gradual process, stuttering and stopping with a lot of “maybe that’s just normal?”
It might have been the time she first woke up at age 3, distraught because “mommy and daddy are going to die!” Then she kept waking up. Every night. And she needed love and reassurance that it was ok – that everyone dies when it’s their time, but we’re here now. We love her.
It might have been the crazy long amount of time it takes her to get to sleep. She has so many stories to tell her ponies and stuffies that she just can’t go to sleep yet! You would think a 3-4 year-old wouldn’t take two or three hours to get to sleep, but she does.
It could be the time that she woke up, sobbing inconsolably because “I didn’t get to ride the Ferris wheel!” It’s REALLY hard to comfort your daughter when all you want to do is laugh your head off. And she did get to ride the Ferris wheel, eventually.
Perhaps it was when she refused to look in the mirror after her accident, because she hated her battered face and loose teeth. What 4-year-old has a self-esteem issue over bruises and bumps? (She’s back to spending as much time as possible in front of the mirror now, making various expressions and studying how they look.)
It might have been when I realized that she’s stealth reading and concealing it from us. She slipped up and read the word cupcake off the snack list posted outside of her class, and that’s when I found out. I’m not pushing it, and she’ll “officially” read when she’s ready.
Maybe it was the time that I snagged a brown and blackening overripe banana out of the fruit bin to discard. The Princess exclaimed in a horrified tone “it’s decomposing!” because she thought I was going to feed it to them for lunch.
It’s possibly the long discussion we had about the properties of sound waves, and how much she wanted to visit the Sounding Sea in the world of the Cat and the Hat on PBS kids.
Maybe it’s her fascination with art. And her abilities are increasingly improving. I tend to discount that because I am an artist. You don’t have to be gifted to be an artist, but it does seem to help.
Perhaps it’s when she told me that “I’m going to play the movie in my head now” as she lay down to sleep. Which is an improvement on the wailing about “I don’t know HOW to go to sleep, mommy!”
It certainly had a lot to do with the extreme and over-the-top emotions she displays. Everything is a crisis, or everything is amazing. There is no in-between. Only deep despair or giddy heights of emotions. Whatever it is, she is not over-reacting and I try to treat her emotions as valid ones even when I’m torn between laughing or dismissing them.
Whatever it is
It doesn’t really matter when I changed my mind. I can tell you now with certainty and conviction that my daughter is not neurotypical. She is more. A different “more” than my oldest, and even my youngest. Which reminds me all over again that gifted kids are unique and individual. They are all different, they are not all the same.
Whatever level or type of giftedness my daughter has, I’m excited for her. Because she views the world in Technicolor while everyone else sees monochrome. She feels everything intensely when everyone else is blasé. She is alive in a way that others are not. And even when it’s overwhelming, it’s still amazing. I know this because I live it.
I’m excited to share it with her.
note: this image is one of hers. It’s an ancient Japanese technique called Suminagashi, or “floating ink.” You alternate the ink with a surfactant to create floating rings of pigment on top of water, then carefully place a sheet of paper on the water to absorb the pigment. She loves it, and watching her alternate paint brushes and blow on the water to move the pigment is amusing and scary as heck. She’s 4, going on 24.
This post is part of the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Blog Hop on When Did You First Realize Your Child Was Gifted/2e/Different? Hop on over to read more posts about this topic – every story is so different and unique!