Never look a gift horse in the mouth…

Doesn’t it sound nice? The word “gifted” I mean. Doesn’t it seem like the sort of thing you would hope for your children? When the first was still a baby bump, we wanted nothing more than for him to have everything. Hey, wouldn’t it be wonderful if he were a genius? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if he were the next musical prodigy or a scientist that invented something that changed the world?

Be careful what you ask for.

Turns out gifts in a child manifest in funny, awkward ways. That word “genius” is a suitcase that packs some other words. “Asynchronous Development.” “Twice Exceptional.” “Autism Spectrum.” “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.” And in the the front zipper of the suitcase we have some really fun difficulties to overcome. “I’m sorry, but the school just really isn’t equipped to handle a child like yours.” “Certainly you’d never expect us to alter curriculum for one child.” And “It must be a discipline issue.”  By-the-way,  the handy-dandy little suitcase carrier you bought before you started this trip that was one size fits all doesn’t fit the load you have to carry. Fun! Fun! Fun!

Genius probably means that your child won’t just have a pediatrician, he will have a psychologist, psychiatrist, allergist, occupational therapist, and a few other expensive ists you didn’t count on. And the rest of the world will see your special kid as a problem. Too loud, too excitable, too explosive, too much trouble. Get ready for a few relieved sighs when you decide to remove the kid from school, scouts, baseball, or whatever. Those do nothing for your self esteem, and just imagine what they’re doing to your child.

But they say never look a gift horse in the mouth. I assume that means that you shouldn’t be trying to find signs of normal in your gifted kid either. At least, that’s how I translated it…

7 comments on “Never look a gift horse in the mouth…

  1. I actually had two preschools, yes preschools, tell me that they could not offer anything to my daughter. It’s beyond frustrating and exhausting! Found your blog through Gifted Homeschoolers Forum. We are currently homeschooling for “Kindergarten”.

    • Yeah, we heard that song and dance from Head Start when Pumpkin was a preschooler. They also told us we’d done a “good job” with him. I suppose it made it even harder when, a couple years later, the kindergarten was talking about holding him back for behavior issues that were obviously because we “couldn’t handle” our child. Hang in there, Allie. Trust your instincts and don’t let the professionals get you down. They’re trained to handle the “normal” kids, and our kids are pretty extreme. Your child is probably better off in your hands anyway.

    • I had a Montessori school tell me I’d be better off keeping my son at home. He was further advanced than they could offer him help for. So we’ve been homeschooling for 5 years now.

    • I think we went through 7 day cares who suggested we “leave” with both of my girls over a period of 8 years – both gifted in extremely different ways. I was a single mom, so it took sometime to develop a career that would let me stay at home (yep, didn’t see that one coming!!). When my second child started to get labelled as “bad” after her sister bore the label for a few years, I put my foot down and FOUGHT for the right educations/therapies. The sad part is that my oldest, several years later, still has major confidence and self esteem issues over her first 5 years of feeling like a failure and outcast in school. The good news it’s that we are getting there, even though homeschooling isn’t an option for me right now.

      • Homeschooling ISN’T the best option for EVERYONE. Each of us needs to look at our individual situation and do the best we can for our kids, whatever that is. I know you’ve done at least one thing very right — you fought for them. Without a champion they could never see themselves as anything but bad. And you are that champion. That is something to be proud of.

        I wasn’t immediately able to leave work either. What I did that first year was find another homeschooling mom who was willing to teach mine as a sort of coop. She was great. I paid her for that in ways I could — she wouldn’t accept actual payment, but she’d let me chip in for groceries and fix up her computer. It was a good arrangement, and when I was ready to come home, she spent a week letting me shadow her. She’d never had the benefit of a friend who’d already figured out the ins and outs of teaching, but I had her. I cannot tell you how much that helped.

  2. I am a twice exceptional gifted adult living in this world and I can tell you all now it doesn’t get easier. The best thing you could ever do is teach your children about themselves and there needs, explain that they are different their special that most people will never know what it feels like to be in environments or situations that bring out the overexcitables the a.d.d, anxiety, excitable, tears, deep scents of empathy, pain not fitting in, sounds, some types of clothing, picking up on other people energy that drains the hell out of you, I could go on and on…. Read and read as much as you can on sensitive adults,children, and their stories and how they over came the hurdles we all have to face in life walking the path of a gifted individual. This helped me as my poor family had know idea even where to begin to help me.
    To all you mums and dads out there don’t give up. The system just likes to label people.
    Your child is perfect just the way they are!

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