May 27 2016

No title because no brain

It went a little something like this:

“Captain, we’ve had a core breach.”
“What? Scotty, explain!”
“Levels were high but all within normal limits. Engineering was working to bring them lower when BOOM we were hit. Half my team is down, there is matter and anti-matter everywhere, the place is a mess. I blame the Glutens or the Allergens, maybe the Stressors, you can’t trust any of those assh…”
“Keep me inf…”
“She can’t take much more of this, Captain! She’s gonna blow!”
“Dump the core.”
“Captain, are ye sure?”
“You heard me, dump it.”
<stunned silence> “Aye Captain.”

 

solar-flare-67532

 

This dramatic Star Trek inspired re-enactment was brought to you by whatever the hell knocked me on my ass this week. It’s bad enough that I finally got over a cold in May, but I’d rather cough and snot all over the place than have an energy core dump like this again. I was the red-shirted ensign of my own life the last few days. Could have been gluten poisoning, could have been allergies run amok, could have been end-of-school-year-I’m-so-done, could have been a migraine as a friend suggested, but dang. I’m a big fan of afternoon naps, but only on the weekends or holidays or when you can luxuriate in the bliss of midday slumber. Passing out in the middle of the day because you’re non-functional from vertigo and feeling like a gutted fish is not blissful, no it is not.

Or maybe I just have teenage boys who delight in tormenting each other, cranking the bickering volume to 11, and generally raising the angst level higher than this emotionally intense mama can absorb. (Reeeeeally kinda done with the two of them and we’re not even at summer break yet.)

Or all of the above.

Regardless of what precipitated the overload and core dump this week I am exhausted and ready for some low-key time. My flute studio is on break until mid-June, school is winding down for the boys, and I plan on spending this weekend as horizontal as possible for as long as possible.

I’ll just avoid red shirts for the foreseeable future.

May 16 2016

Keepin’ it real as a 2e parent

17Admittedly, I got cocky.

Things were going so well. One kid rockin’ it as a homeschooler, the other rolling along in middle school (BRAG ALERT: honor roll every quarter so far, and it is within his grasp to get straight As this quarter). I wrote a love letter to giftedness, I acknowledged that G2e teens/tweens are a challenge but still awesome as hell, I thought I knew what I was doing and had a handle on our lives.

Commence hysterical laughing now. No, really, please go ahead. You have my full permission to engage in a dollop of schadenfreude. I’ll even join in.

I’m going to share a little secret with you. Please don’t spread this around, it’ll totes ruin my rep.

OH MY GOD I HAVE NO FREAKING IDEA WHAT I AM DOING. At all. Ever. I barely know how to style my hair, much less guide my G2e sons into adulthood. (Note: My headshot is woefully out of date. I am no longer sporting the cute little pixie cut, but long waves to my shoulders. The plan is to go even longer and snag some highlights this summer. Because, by god, I may need to lose weight but gold and red highlights don’t care.)

There was no one event that smacked me upside the head and declared, “YO! You be an idjit, woman!!” Just a series of small, intimate panic attacks on my part as 1) I realized that Andy is finishing his first year of high school and I haven’t even started a portfolio or transcript for him, 2) Jack wants to be homeschooled and THAT is just not happening, 3) society is in a woven receptacle heading south and it’s getting warmer and warmer, and 4) I’d really like to no longer be responsible for anything, much less my sons’ education and general moral fiber. I thought I had the flaming batons under control, when in reality they were torching everything around me while I dealt with the spinning plates and glass balls. The temptation to stand in the middle of my life and scream STOP while I physically throw my arms into the air to attempt to halt the progression of time and responsibilities is nearly overwhelming. Unfortunately, it would accomplish nothing other than a scratchy throat and pitying looks from the people around me.

These two boys of mine, that I still see as mah baybees, will be out in the world in the next 3-8 years. I’ve been blogging about them for a decade, so that shortened timeline hits me hard in the feels. And the worry, oh my god the worry. It’s not even that they are two out of the box kids in a world that builds boxes, it’s that the world right now is terrifying. Regardless of your political leanings (and if you can’t tell, I lean so far to the left that sometimes things are at a 90 degree angle) or country of citizenship, you gotta admit that the world today is far more frightening than it was in our youth, and we lived through the Cold War. Think about that. The world today is more frightening than the specter of nuclear war.

How do we prepare our out of the box, creative, march to the beat of their own drummer G2e kids for a world that is changing daily? For a world that doesn’t want to acknowledge or accept them unless they provide high value? For a world that is so screwed up that even adults are left speechless and shaking their heads? My boys are coming of age in a time of great uncertainty, and I don’t know how to guide them to adulthood. I thought I did but I find myself paralyzed by the enormity of the task. Paralysis By Analysis. A decade ago I thought potty training was going to do me in, and truthfully it nearly did, but this is a job for SuperMom and she is long gone. She took one look at the job description, laughed, flipped me off, and flew off into the night, never to appear again. I heard a rumor that she was sighted on a small tropical island, gently swaying in a hammock and sipping on an umbrella drink. Smart woman. Lucky bitch.

Parenting is a hard, often thankless job, and parenting outliers even more so. We have to fight battles others won’t acknowledge, against adversaries others don’t even know exist, all on top of the usual parenting battles which, let’s be honest, are enhanced because of the aforementioned outlier-ness. All this in a world, in a society, that is vastly different and less stable than the one in which we were raised. The best we can do, the best I can do, is to keep it real about the challenges and ignore the outside world as best I can. Teach the Golden Rule (or, in our house, Wheaton’s Law). Teach my boys how to think. They’re already pretty good at questioning authority and persistence, so teach them to put that persistence and questioning to good use and investigate all sides of an issue. Teach them to leave everything better than they found it. Teach them that not replacing the toilet paper roll is going to get them in trouble some day.

I know that kinda sounds like I know what I’m doing but damn it doesn’t feel that way. I just hope SuperMom is keeping a hammock open for me because one of these days I may run off and join her. I’m in the mood for some umbrella drinks; I hear they really help with throats scratchy from screaming at life.

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Today’s post is part of GHF’s May blog hop, on preparing G2e teens and tweens for their futures. Go check out some of the other writers; maybe they have more of a clue than I.

Preparing for their future: Parenting gifted teens and tweens

May 11 2016

Real Life Scaffolding

Real Life Scaffolding

 

That’s a picture of my flute right there. Notice anything unusual? Yes, the headjoint is pretty smeary, I hadn’t wiped it down yet. And the lighting isn’t the best, it’s been foggy all morning. Oh! That white thing snapped onto that bar? What’s that?

That’s my real life scaffolding.

Technically it’s called a c# extension and it’s an expensive piece of molded plastic that snaps onto my flute’s main rod. It allows my left index finger to be less cramped and painful, and I play faster and more cleanly. Not many people use these, or even need them. Most flutists play just fine with the keys set up the way they are, no problem. Others, because of injury or arthritis, have extensive modifications made to their instruments. I fall somewhere in the middle. In grad school my teacher and I experimented with different setups for me, various modifications that would eliminate and prevent hand pain while allowing me to strive for excellence. For awhile there I had all sorts of things clipped and velcroed onto my flute, but now I’m pretty much just down to the c# extension (and only because I’m still searching for a right hand thumb squooshy; Dr. Scholl’s quit manufacturing my perfect solution). Over the years the temporary modifications I’ve tried (including taping my pinkies into curves for several months as an undergrad to break the terrible habit of playing with locked and double-jointed pinkies) eventually fell away, leaving the one remaining that I still need and may need indefinitely. I’m good with that.

Does my c# extension make me better than others? No, not by a long shot. There are still plenty of flutists out there much better than I, that’s for sure. Does it give me an unfair advantage? Nope, it just allows me to play without pain and helps prevent injury to me. Shouldn’t I remove it now, since I’ve improved so much? While I could play without it, and play well, I’d be straining my left hand and index finger well past pain and into injury territory; just because I’ve improved with the assistance doesn’t mean I no longer need it.

So where am I going with this?

Scaffolding is simply assistance. Removed IF deemed no longer necessary by the person using it, kept if needed, given freely and without judgment. It’s not an advantage, it’s not cheating, it’s not unfair.

It would behoove the education system to remember this.

Apr 20 2016

Sixteen things parents of gifted kids are sick of hearing (and what they’re thinking when they do)

  1. Sixteen things parents of gifted kids are sick of hearing (and what they're thinking when they do)Must be nice to have a gifted kid.
    Heh. Yeah, so nice. It’s just…hysterical giggle…awesome. <twitch> Everything is just so….sob….easy peasy. Please offer me free respite care for a few days and then we will talk again; my brain may be back online by then. 
  2. If he’s so gifted, why can’t s/he <fill in the blank>.
    Allow me to introduce you to my Asynchrony Stick. I shall now beat you about the head and neck with it.
  3. Whoa, is Little Einstein going to college already?
    Dude, that’s insulting, and unless you’re ponying up the cash for tuition it’s none of your business. Besides, he wants to be called Batman these days.
  4. Oh, all kids are gifted, they just open their presents at different times.
    Just.Shut.Up.Before.I.Shove.The.Wrapping.Paper.Down.Your.Talk.Hole.
  5. Pfft…that’s not gifted, that’s ADHD/Asperger’s/Spoiled Child.
    <Blank, despairing look> Your picture is next to the description of Willful Ignoramus, isn’t it?
  6. Quit pushing that child! You’re just a pushy Tiger Mom.
    Pushing. You think I’m pushing. Not so much. I’m duct taped to a cheetah here and I’m just praying I can tuck and roll if he slows.
  7. Schools can handle the needs of a gifted child just fine.
    What color is the sky in the little world you live in? 
  8. What the hell is this twice-exceptional crap? Sounds like a made up diagnosis for excuses.
    This crap, as you so eloquently (sigh…and accurately) described it, is a child who…you know what, you don’t really care and you’re not listening anyway. Bugger off, you’re not worth educating today and I’m tired from dealing with the aforementioned twice-exceptional crap.
  9. Gifted kids don’t need any help, they’ll be just fine on their own. Cream always rises to the top.
    Sure, if the cream is kept in the best possible conditions for rising; stick it into a deep freeze and see how well it rises to the top then. News flash: IT DOESN’T MAKE ICE CREAM.
  10. What has your child achieved? I don’t see any high test scores or eminence. I thought all gifted kids were brainy over-achievers, like the ones on those TV shows.
    And I thought all adults could distinguish between real life and scripted TV. My bad. 
  11. You’re over-reacting.
    Come a little closer and say that. A leetle closer, I can’t reach your throat. That’s good….what were you saying again? Hmm, can’t hear you, I think you’re over-reacting to my hands around your neck.
  12. You don’t know what you’re talking about, you’re not an educator/psychologist/therapist/doctor.
    Nope, I’m a parent, I’m all those things stuffed into one hyper-caffeinated package, and I specialize in THIS child. I know what he needs. No one ever learns as quickly, deeply, and completely as a concerned freaked-out mother, so yeah, I do know what I’m talking about. I have a PhD in THIS kid: Parenting higher Difficulties.
  13. Boy, we really expect great things from <child’s name>.
    Wow, me too. Only I will still know that he has that gifted wiring if he doesn’t accomplish a damned thing in his life, whereas I suspect you’ll think it was a mistake all along. 
  14. So glad my kids are normal.
    Whoa now…back that shit up…really, you think giftedness is abnormal? How interesting. Kindly elaborate. <intense stare>
  15. You didn’t need any help growing up and you turned out just fine.
    Right. Define fine. Just 31 flavors of anxiety-ridden fine right here, swirled with over-excitabilities and a dollop of intensity sauce. Dig in, here’s a shovel, first let me smack you with it.
  16. Oh, it’s can’t be that bad.
    Mmhm…where’s the wine?

Apr 20 2016

Speak your truth!

Speak Your Truth!Speak your truth, they say.

So I will. Because they said so.

 

  1. As the executive function for the entire household, the frontal lobe of the House of Chaos, I am drowning under the mass onslaught of everyday life, dragged under by the tidal wave of four intense lives. There is too much life in my Life. Kindly send a Saint Bernard, complete with brandy around its neck. Or a wine of the month club. I’m not picky. But if you send the Saint Bernard, send someone to clean up after it. I’m done with doing that.
  2. Zucchini is the worst vegetable ever. It and its summer squash bretheren. Don’t tell me it’s glorious browned in butter with parmesan or spiralized as “noodles” or shredded and baked into bread. It is a vile instrument of pain and should be eliminated from the earth, preferably by fire. It shows up far too often in gluten free restaurant meals and is why I often end up just getting a salad or a naked hamburger. The flavor is nauseating, the texture is abominable, and it quite literally makes me ill. No joke, zucchini has the privilege of hitting my system and bloating me up like a dirigible. It’s not even the fun kind of gas, where I could crop dust the boys’ rooms, NO! (Mother of the Year, right here, folks) It’s the evil kind, where minutes after ingestion you are curled over pillows with a heating pad praying for the sweet release of death and cursing a blue streak. The only thing zucchini is good for is a triple word score on Words With Friends.
  3. I’m sure it’s just the end of winter speaking, or maybe the election cycle, but I’m really kind of sick of everyone and everything. I find myself wanting to tell the whole world where to go, how to get there, and what to do with themselves upon arrival. Or telling individuals to eat dog shit and bark at the moon (learned that little line from my dear mum, yes I did). But not you. You’re good. <side eye>
  4. My sons go through enough maple syrup that it would be cheaper to just invest in a maple grove. We got married in a maple grove 20 years ago this summer, maybe that’s why. I’m convinced the reason J loves cheese so much is because I ate pounds of Velveeta queso when I was pregnant with him.
  5. This time of year frustrates me. Not quite warm enough to garden or wear short sleeves, not quite cold enough to put away the winter parkas, it’s a lot of sitting around and waiting for spring to finally arrive and stay.
  6. I hate to shave my legs. They are long, with some considerable real estate there, I’m not the most flexible of 42 year olds, and our shower does not allow a lot of room for maneuvering. Thankfully, this is northern Illinois, where it is cold eight months of the year and frickin’ freezing four of those months; leg hair is insulation. But then it comes time when it’s just warm enough for capris, and you don’t want to scare small children (or encourage small woodland creatures), and so you stare at the Sasquatch that has taken over your lower limbs and you pray you don’t land on your ass under the shower head.
  7. I may not do much right in my life (I don’t exercise, my stress is off the charts most days, I feel like I am failing my adulting final exam, don’t even get me started on how I feel homeschooling is going) but I do one thing so right I feel the need to brag. I wear earplugs every single time I pull out my flute. I know, right?! I’ve worn earplugs since high school; my hearing is stellar. If my hearing were a physical being, it’d be the cover model of Cochlea Monthly. It’s that perfect. Thank you for your adulation. No applause please, just throw money. I also shower every single day and fill the gas tank when it hits 1/4 full; celebrating the little things, here.
  8. I’ve really been struggling with balancing honesty, privacy, and the desire to not scare off any potential employers as I blog lately. But, who am I kidding…potential employers…ha.
  9. Can’t decide if I need a therapist, a life coach, a personal trainer…or all three. Yeah, all of the above. I’m sure you can relate. Please say yes or I will need to refer you to #3.
  10. I’ve been tossing around some great ideas for the future that would allow me to 1) be a self-employed entrepreneur, 2) keep my flute studio, 3) make a difference, and 4) be creative. Once I can harness the addled hamsters that appear to have run off with my attention span I’ll be able to move forward with them. Stay tuned.

There. I’ve spoken my truth…or rather, the truth that I’m willing to share with the whole interwebz. You wouldn’t believe the self-censure involved with writing this post today.

I blame the hamsters…and I always, always blame the zucchini.

Apr 14 2016

Fifteen

So my baby is 15 today.

The boy who made me a mom, who dragged me into the life of giftedness and advocacy and writing, the boy who made Calvin a real life child in my life…is 15.

And, of course, he’s still sleeping.

He’s become an amazing teen. I enjoy him more now than ever. We joke with each other, we can have great conversations, his brain and his personality is exploding. He is more comfortable in his skin now, and when he loses his shit he collects it more quickly. I still worry-panic about him, but it’s less about what is wrong with him (and/or how to “fix it”) and more about if I’m doing enough to prepare him for college and real life.

Technically he’s now old enough to take Driver’s Ed and get a permit and be allowed to get behind the wheel of a very large motorized vehicle and take it on the road while I’m clutching the dashboard and hyperventilating next to him. By mutual agreement, we’ve decided he’s not quite ready. Or, as he put it, “I have a hard time focusing on homework alone in a quiet room, I don’t think I can concentrate on everything needed to drive.” And so we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief, and my auto insurance drops back down from Klaxon Horn Red Alert.

The kid is an epic troll. I left him to work on a writing project on my computer (fewer distractions), and returned to find my desktop photo changed to the slothstronaut. 6aRkCQbU_400x400Mmhm. I got him back with creepy baby photos wishing him a happy birthday. He’ll find them hidden all around the house today…in his coat, in shoes, in the frozen waffles, in the dishwasher… Don’t mess with mom, she plays to win.ANDY BIRTHDAY Life is good.

He’ll only be living with us for a few more years, which is hard to believe. He was a very difficult baby/toddler/preschooler/kid/tween, and so I fantasized about him going off to college at an early age. I don’t regret those fantasies, they got me through many a witching hour, but now that is almost on the horizon. Three years, maybe four or five, and then he’ll be off to put his dent in the universe. Well, more dents, he’s already put a few dings into it. It’ll be wonderful to watch, and I’m privileged to have a front row seat.

Happy birthday, Andy. Go kick ass and take names.

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4/15/16 Edited to add: He was finding those pictures around the house ALL DAY LONG. I haven’t laughed so hard in ages. I out-trolled the teenage troll…and now I wait for the inevitable revengence backlash. Totally worth it.

Apr 04 2016

The mixed metaphors of parenting gifted and twice-exceptional teens

The Mixed Metaphors of parenting G2e teens

 

Parenting teenagers is like nailing jello to a tree.

I’m sure you’ve heard this. I heard it back when my boys were wee young things, when potty training was the issue du jour and I rarely got a moment to myself (wait…that was yesterday…never mind). However, I find it to be inaccurate. You can nail jello to a tree. With enough time, the correct nails, and the proper consistency of gelatinous snack product, I bet I can get that jello not only attached to a tree but be the walls of a treehouse to boot. Not the floor, I’m not that good. It’s tough, but it can be done. A wiggly, jiggly, parenting treehouse. Appropriate.

Parenting gifted or twice-exceptional teenagers? More like managing a large mercury spill. You can do everything right, follow all the instructions by all the experts, stock up on hazmat suits, and it’s still more than likely it will all end badly. It ain’t for the faint of heart, yo. Every day is a new adventure, not one you expected or wanted, and you’re leading the expedition with an outdated map and mercury in your socks…not to mention mixed metaphors. And the treehouse is probably in full-scale nuclear meltdown.

Parenting teenagers is like being pecked to death by a chicken.

Some days I’d rather take my chances with the chicken. I can dropkick that little sucker across the road if need be (and there’s the answer to the age-old riddle). But for the most part, this age is infinitely easier than the infant/toddler/elementary ages. They have the basics of self care down (I don’t have to wipe butts anymore, which I just canNOT emphasize enough how much I appreciate), car seats are a thing of the past, and if they don’t sleep they sure as hell know better than to involve me in their late night insomnia. We have wonderful conversations, their humor is broadening past knock-knock jokes and poop (mostly), and I really really enjoy my sons now in a way I wasn’t sure I was ever going to see. Hearing them sing old Weird Al songs and quote Monty Python sketches may drive me batshit crazy (because it’s non-freaking-stop), but it is so, so awesome.

But DAMN it’s mentally and emotionally taxing. If I were newborn-level sleep deprived on top of it all I’d be a basket case. More. I’d be more of a basket case. I have a metric crapton of baskets over here and I keep weaving more. Maybe I’ll build a Mom Fort from baskets. There’d be plenty of storage for my accompanying baggage.

Parenting teenagers is why animals eat their young

I’m convinced the boys are messing with me. They always had this Goofus and Gallant thing going on, but now they’re swapping roles without warning. A case of good cop/bad cop, kid-style. One kid is rolling his eyes and mouthing off and struttin’ his ‘tude and the other is in the kitchen, calmly unloading the dishwasher without being reminded while having a conversation about his deep thought of the moment. And then, before you know it, switcheroo, a la Freaky Friday.

Parenting G2e teens is like random emoji from your text-happy teen: 🙃💤🦄🌪⚡️🍕💩💩💩💀🚽🙄🙄🙄🖕🏻🖕🏻🖕🏻🖕🏻😡😈😻💩😘💗

You have no clue what’s going on, are grateful they shared, now have a slight headache, and are wondering if the wine glasses are clean or if you could get away with lips directly on the bottle. Box dispenser. Whatever.

We had a small taste of empty-nesterhood a few weeks ago when the boys went camping for several days. It was odd. Quiet. The house stayed clean. We had uninterrupted conversations. I could think without the Mom Radar going off, which was bizarre. I shoveled off my desk and got some long-due stuff done. I could crank up Perry the Parabolic Heater without worrying that Andy had his heater on in his room, thus tripping a circuit and losing power in my office which is why I’m returning to this post an hour later because I’d had it and I was hungry and might as well do laundry while I was downstairs so turn off your damned heater and put on socks because I AM WEARING MULTIPLE LAYERS AND I AM STILL COLD I GET DIBS ON THE CIRCUIT FOR THE HEATER WHY DO I SEE SNOW IN APRIL?!

Ahem. It was nice is what I’m saying. But it was also kinda dull. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s the kind of dull I could use slightly more often, but I was glad to have my boys back. Wish the attitude had been taken out to the mountains and thrown into a bear den to be destroyed by a pissed-off mama bear awakened before she was ready, but it was nice to have them home.

Even if it meant the jello treehouse was full of chickens eating their young, melting down from the mercury spill, and texted to me in 21st century hieroglyphics.

🐔 🐣 🌳 🏡 🌡 ☢ 2️⃣1️⃣ 📜

Mar 09 2016

Living with teenage tech support

Living With Teenage Tech SupportIf you can handle the adolescent smugness and middle-aged feelings of inadequacy, I highly recommend having teenaged live-in tech support.

Andy fixed my website.

It’s all downhill from here, folks. I already don’t know which remotes and buttons and in which order turn on the Roku vs the Apple TV. If my life depended upon correctly setting up and playing a DVD my sons would be orphans. And let’s not even start down the road of computer talk. My eyes glaze more often than Krispy Kreme. Mmmmm…..donuts…..

I may snark and I may see my relevance fading away, but damn I’m proud of that kid. I will be bragging here, it’s my website I’m allowed to do that. This geeky, quirky, out of the box, marches to the beat of his own drumline young man is finally coming into his own. Ten years ago I wasn’t so sure I was going to let him live to see age five. The sensory overloads, the stubbornness, the overexcitabilities, the meltdowns, the incessant movement, the need for less sleep, the unquenchable curiosity, my complete lack of knowledge as to WTF was going on, and the never-ending exhaustion of parenting all that. Hard. So, so hard. Even now I can’t read a lot of what I wrote back then, because the memories and emotions come flooding back and I fear I’d drown.

This 2e kid. This amazing 2e kid. The schools didn’t know what to do with him. He fit in no box, couldn’t and wouldn’t “play the game,” driven so strongly by his internal gears that anyone and anything that tried to alter his path earned scars from the friction. My scars have calloused over, making me not heartless but resilient. I know I can handle what is thrown my way, including his superior knowledge and ability, and the insufferable case of teenager that I’m sure is yet to come. Four years into homeschooling and I still worry I’m failing him, until something like this happens.

He is going to do big things. He is going to be a change maker. He is not like any other teenager, not like any other gifted or twice-exceptional homeschooler. He has a mind I will never comprehend but I appreciate and love. He learns in 3D, holistically and completely. He understands computers and programming as though it comes from his very core, but also knows he doesn’t know nearly everything, and wants to feed that core with every bit of knowledge he can absorb.

It is amazing and an honor to watch him mature.

But so help me, his tech smugness…sigh…he’s earned it.

<I have been informed that my memory is less than accurate and that both boys, at separate times, came to my computer, stared over my shoulder, and went “huh, THAT doesn’t look right,” and told me how to fix it. Two t(w)ben tech gurus in the house. OY. Apparently running a Minecraft server in the basement has taught them something applicable to real life. Guess I’m glad I gave in on getting Minecraft.>

Mar 01 2016

Dear Life

Dear Rosie,
I just love when you come to a dead stop in front of me halfway up (or down) the stairs. I know in your sweet little peabrain mind that love means ensuring I keep my razor sharp reflexes as I desperately attempt to avoid going head over heels over your fuzzy little butt and/or not spill a full mug of scalding hot tea. You’re a sweet doggie octogenarian, but one of us isn’t going to survive this stair master routine. Kindly knock it off before I stop rubbing your belly in retaliation.

Dear treadmill,
I realize you’re 12 years old and counting, but this was really a bad time to conk out. We rely on your hamster-wheel abuse; me for attempted weight loss, my beloved husband for lower back pain management. Repairing you nearly equals the cost of replacing you, and that isn’t in the cards right now. So…you’re a bugger and I dislike you even more than usual right now.

Dear MomVan,
Do NOT, I repeat, NOT, get any ideas from the treadmill. I know you’re the same age, but we can walk for exercise; walking for transportation isn’t possible, we’re too far out in the sticks for that. I pinky promise to replace your brakes ASAP; just give me another 18 months/50,000miles. Please. Just…please.

Dear sons,
You say you’ll do anything to earn money to buy yourselves a computer, but strangely enough the “Job Board,” complete with cold hard cash I will pay you, hasn’t been touched in weeks. Being programmers, I assumed you had a better grasp of cause and effect, but just in case, let’s review. You do these jobs around the house without parental nagging…I pay you. BOOM! Needless to say, your father and I are reevaluating the Job Board, as it doesn’t appear to be a strong enough motivator for you to help around the house. Also? We’re reviewing the tech usage around here. See, your father and I do have a grasp of cause and effect, and we totally see the connection between tech and stuff not getting done around here.  Ya done messed up, dudes. Sorry/not sorry.

Dear February,
Adios! Don’t let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya!

Dear March,
You’re certainly coming in like a lion today, though I do appreciate that you pulled back on the 8-11 inches of snow I expected when I went to bed last night. I will allow you another two weeks of snow and sleet and wind and general misery, and then I want to see my rhubarb popping up, m’kay?

Dear Super Tuesday Primary Voters/Caucusers,
Just…please…I can’t even…

Dear Perry the Parabolic Heater in my office,
I love you. You’re so hot. Let’s go steady.

Dear responsibilities,
I’m kinda over you. Maybe it’s because I have so many of you, or because you just never end, or because I desperately need a vacation somewhere warm, but you’re burning me out a bit. And by a bit I mean a lot. Kindly ease up so I can be and not always do.

Dear Life,
You’re pretty cool and I’m grateful to have you.

Feb 22 2016

{GHF Blog Hop} A love letter to giftedness

{GHF Blog Hop} A Love Letter to GiftednessDear Giftedness,

You’ve been here so long that I can’t remember life without you. We’ve had a tumultuous relationship, haven’t we? I haven’t always appreciated your presence, and god knows I’ve wanted to send you back more than once. But it hasn’t all been challenge and chaos, and it’s time I let you know just what about you I enjoy and respect.

I never expected to be where I am today, and it’s because of you, Giftedness. As I write this I’m sitting at our gifted homeschool co-op, with parent conversations on twice-exceptionality and gluten-free baking and “when is that Shakespeare field trip?” as my soundtrack. I never expected to be homeschooling, and certainly not because of you (and your sidekick 2e). Weren’t gifted kids supposed to excel in school? Weren’t they supposed to be the leaders, the high achievers, the Valedictorians? My life has been enriched because of your presence, Giftedness. I’ve learned more about learning than I ever did as an education student or teacher. I’ve learned that intelligence is not what a person produces, that quirky is not a pathology, and that a bored gifted child is something to prevent, because hooboy…

You’ve forced me to be a better parent, Giftedness, to ignore the “experts” and follow my child’s lead. I’m not saying it was easy, or ever will be, but when I remember to toss out the “shoulds” and work side by side with my boys instead of forcing something upon them we’re all a lot happier. You made me search out answers that worked for us, not just generic parenting advice, because these kids aren’t in any manuals. Like the nurses said over and over in childbirth classes…the babies haven’t read the books and don’t care. Multiply that by infinity and that’s parenting gifted and 2e kids. Parenting by trial and error and prayer, because parenting books just don’t apply.

Giftedness, you’ve made me a writer, something I didn’t see coming. I started this blog as a way to just, I dunno, putz around with words, and as time went on and I griped more and more about your starring role in our lives, suddenly I was a writer. People read what I wrote! I had a book! Something I wanted to be, long before I became a flutist, actually came true. Now I have a second book in the works and a few brain tickles for some fiction. I don’t know how you managed that, but I thank you for it.

Because of you, you unexpected gift I’d often like to return, I’ve found a passion for supporting other parents as we all flail in the dark together trying to find answers and help. We all just want to be recognized and heard and acknowledged, something that doesn’t happen terribly often, because society thinks we’re bragging about you, when in reality we’re just trying to get through the day. And besides, talking about what my kid can do isn’t bragging, it’s just talking about my kid like other parents do…with maybe some code words thrown in so I can find other parents who “get it.” But I can’t help but be grateful for your arrival, for I’ve met so many wonderful people because of you. I’ve found a passion for support and connection with others that I hope to continue.

Life with you has been anything but easy, Giftedness, but I can’t imagine our lives without you. Just as you are the wiring in an individual, you are also the electric connection within my family. If you were missing, we’d be vastly different, and as I like who we are and how we relate to the world (at least now…not so much a few years ago…), I appreciate your crazy chaotic oftentimes difficult role in our lives. I’m not going to send you back, but I’m also not at the point of sending a gushing thank you note either. The last decade has been challenging, painful, entertaining, humbling, frightening, fraught with anxiety, and overflowing with laughter to keep from screaming. It’s not what I expected, it’s not what I wanted, but it’s what has made me and my family into what we are today. You be you, Giftedness, just go easy on us all for awhile.

Love, kisses, and Malbec,

Jen

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12747959_10156598315855002_7041565823761907458_oToday’s post was part of the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum February Blog Hop, where bloggers near and far discuss the unexpected gifts of giftedness. Please pour your favorite wine and visit the other writers. Unless it’s early in the day, then I suggest your choice of coffee or tea.

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