Wednesday, March 6, 2013

My child is gifted. In his own way.

Let’s be real. There’s no need to sugar coat things amongst friends. As a teacher, you hear the words, “My child is gifted,” very often. And more often than not, as a teacher, you inwardly roll your mind’s eye.

It’s not that I don’t believe your child is wonderful. It’s not even that I don’t agree with you. Your child very well might be the most gifted student I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. But it’s hard for any parent to remain impartial in a situation where aptitude and ability are concerned.

And as a new parent, I can wholeheartedly see why. Wyatt is God’s answer to all the wrongs in the world. He will cure cancer, develop a rocket ship that will maneuver the universe {vague enough, Aunt K?}, and probably preserve the world’s rainforests. All before 30. 

What? A hat that doubles as a tupperware bowl? Genius!

But, there’s also this…

For the past month, Wyatt has adopted a horrible habit of throwing tantrums. Sometimes they’re silent—he just gets into the balasana pose and remains there until the issue {whatever the issue—“Where’s your blanket?” “Did you hit the dog?” “Why did you pour my coffee out and rub it all over your midrift?”} is null. Other times he strikes the same pose and lets his lungs work out his frustrations.


Ironically, upon googling the correct name of this particular pose, I burst out laughing when I heard the English name for the pose itself. It’s the child’s pose. HAH. That particular Sanskrit humor isn’t lost on me. Very funny, Mr. Yogi.

After becoming increasingly tired of this behavior, I started asking around, “Do you think this is normal?” My mom-in-law said, “He’s acting like he’s already two.” My mom said, “If he’s already acting like that, I can’t imagine what he’ll do AT two.”

Could my little man be entering his terrible two’s early? Could I have an extra year of fit-throwing ahead of me?

Then, in the mail, I received an ASQ-3 via the United Way. It's a developmental questionnaire. They got my address through the Imagination Library funded by Dolly Parton. I guess part of her ensuring that the youth of the Southeast is literate also involves asking parents to fill out questionnaires and send them back in for statistical purposes. Okie dokie. {And before you’re all—“Why are you wasting Dolly’s money, buy your own books!” You should know that Wyatt has tons of books. But as a teacher, I cannot pass up a chance at a free book. Free books are too far and in between to cast aside.}

Anyway, I started filling out the questionnaire. I’m not sure if I’ll send it in; I might be too lazy to walk to my mailbox in my bathrobe. But after filling it out as best I could, while attempting to maintain an impartial judgment, I realized: I could totally be lying and I would never know it. I’m one of those parents.

He’s gifted.

Of course.

For instance, one of the questions say:

Does your child say eight or more words in addition to “Mama” and “Dada”?

Well, of course he does. He says, “Jabba jabba.” And then there’s “Oyoyoyoy.” And of course my favorite, “Beedle.” Which doesn’t mean bottle. I’m pretty sure it’s gibberish.

But the fact is, I hear him jabber so much that I can’t distinguish between real words and the gibberish that he talks the rest of the day. Who knows if he’s really saying words? And who am I to decide which are real and which are not? And for that matter, maybe they are all real to him.

After completing the survey, I think I’ve decided I’m not going to send it in. The United Way doesn’t need yet another subjective ASQ-3. I’m sure all of the ones that are returned say that the particular child is a nuclear physicist. I know mine does.

Then I googled for a milestone chart-- I used to read them all the time when Wyatt was learning to crawl, roll over, and walk. They would help me to know what I needed to be practicing with him, looking for, etc. Baby Center has the easiest ones, I think. 

Wyatt just turned 17 months old, so I scrolled down to the 16 month row and started reading. 

They have also broken down tasks into columns labeled "Mastered" (most kids can do), "Emerging" (half of kids can do), and Advanced (a few kids can do). I think that is super simple to use. ESPECIALLY because they describe each term with a generalization for parents to use as their own benchmark. "Most kids at 16 months can turn pages of a book, but only a few can remove a piece of clothing independently."

And what's that in the mastered column? {It's so funny to notice a behavior, be completely baffled by it, then pull up the milestone chart and realize-- COMPLETELY normal.)

Mastered: Has temper tantrums when frustrated. Well, we can check that one off our list. He's got that one down for sure. He's also very attached to his soft blanket (which is light blue with orange and yellow flowers-- sorry Colt, I didn't know that was the blankie he'd choose). I'm sure he uses 6 words regularly {Mama, Dada, More, Bath, Back (Mack), and Tanks (thanks)}.

Now onto the next column.. Emerging:

Discovers the joy of climbing: He might've mastered this at 7 months old. Climbing is his thang. I can't even let him go into his bedroom alone anymore, as I always end up finding him sitting on his changing table pulling wipes out of the container by the handfuls.

Stacks three blocks: this is something I just noticed him doing last week. Remember? We spent the day building "castles" and then destroying the kingdom.

Uses spoon or fork: OH YEAH. He won't even let us try to feed him anymore. He is the only one that can hold the fork. Or else no eating will happen.

Learns the correct way to use common objects (e.g., the telephone): he has mimicked us for a long time, so he can definitely do this. He's always grabbing my Blackberry, holding it to his chin and saying, "Hi." But this isn't just limited to the telephone. He's mastered use of the mute button of the television remote, can brush his own hair, and understands that he's supposed to push the broom around to clean up. He even grabs a washcloth and wipes the cabinets when I'm cleaning. #boyaftermyownheart

Onto the Advanced column {crosses fingers}.

Takes off one piece of clothing by himself: Do socks count? Because I've been finding them for months in the morning, thrown into the floor.

Get finicky about food: Let's just say that the new thing to do at dinner is turn his head to the side and say, "Nahhhh Nah."  {Which, if you look at the Emerging column for 15 month olds, is normal. No is his new go-to answer for everything.}

Switches from two naps to one: He's only had one nap for about 4 months now. He cut out his morning nap a while ago and has just held onto his 2pm nap. Honestly though, yesterday he didn't even take it. He just went to bed at 7 instead of 8.

So, what do you think? Totally gifted right?

{Cue all my teacher friends openly rolling their eyes at the computer screen.}

I knew you'd see it too.



  1. You forgot "nine nine" in the words he knows

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