It’s hard having a gifted child and I should know this better than most, because, recently I’ve discovered I have one myself.
He’s about yea high, and about so-so wide, he has eyes, a nose, a tongue and not to boast, but two ears – which I’m happy to announce have found an ideal home on either side of his head.
At age two he’s already packed so much into life that it puts mere mortals to shame – he’s slept for most it, defecated for a large portion of it, learnt to say ‘cock’ when he means ‘chicken’ and managed to make my once pert breasts now resemble an 18-wheeler’s mudflaps.
This level of raw talent is almost too much for an average parent to get their head around so thank god I’m not average – he’d be lost otherwise.
So how did I discover my son was gifted?
Simple. I overhead other parents talking about how gifted their kids were.
‘The minute the doctor said Tonia was soy intolerant, we just knew she’d be an early walker’ *as I look over at 2-month-old Tonia trying to lift her head and failing.
‘…I walked into day-care, and Giles looked up at me and said ‘hi’. The teachers tried to play it down, said it was quite common for 2-year-olds to be saying ‘hi’ – but it wasn’t what he said, it was how he said it. So…we’ve started looking at selective high schools…’
‘…and we turned around and there she was finger-painting with both hands. I mean she only just turned 18 months and four days old! Crazy! That’s why I started my blog – Living with an ambidextrous child.’
‘Caleb (6 months) is in the 99th percentile for his age in weight. But he’s not letting it get him down. He’s so body positive. It’s inspiring. You should follow him on Twitter…’
‘He followed me into the toilet and said ‘daddy, I go potty now’. I mean, I often find myself wondering how is anyone going to teach a kid who already knows everything?’
What I learnt from these conversations is that I’ve been setting the bar too high, we all have.
You see back when I was a kid; gifted meant you graduated high school at 13, spoke fluently by two years old (and I mean fluently as in the absolute, undisputed definition of it…not a gurgle of words you’ve convinced yourself was a sentence) or read the Canon by Grade 6.
No one thought to be looking at more subtle indicators of preternatural talent. Just think of all of the soy intolerant Tonia’s the world has overlooked?
Armed with this new understanding of what constitutes gifted in today’s society, my husband and I have been looking at ways to cultivate our son’s gifts:
Monday – witnessed Gus* trying to stick a pencil in his ear, possibly indicating talent in the area of assassination, global espionage, neurology?
Wednesday – pooed and spilled his spaghetti on the good rug at the same time. Yet to clean up until we get his latest work assessed by a curator friend of ours who worked with Pro Hart at the height of his Australiana period. Potential for Stainmaster Carpet brand alliance.
Saturday – Gus came up and said ‘mummy sad?’ (I wasn’t. I was drinking) – F**cking Empath! Need to keep him safe at all costs! If he were to fall into the wrong hands who knows what government or stealth organisation would do with him and his empathy?
As you can see it’s been a busy week and as we suspected, Gus’s gifts grow more and more each day. If we don’t intervene and guide him now, who knows that what may become of our child’s gifts – real or perceived?
And we’re not alone with these concerns – every day, someone out there born after 1979 has a child, and my research suggests it’s our generation that is giving birth to more gifted children then the world has ever seen!
Unfortunately, there is little help out there for gifted toddlers like ours. Google ‘toddler life coach’ or ‘Graduate high school without being able to read or write by 3’ and while there are some options, they are few and far between.
As a mother of a gifted child I can only hope this harsh reality changes and soon, that our children are provided the support they need, you know, just in case I have another gifted child which we all know I totes will.