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Jan 06 2009

So what do I need?

Through the curiosity that is Twitter, I met Lisa at Deep Waters. She’s a life coach for, and this is truly kismet in its finest form, moms of gifted kids. And lives about 30 minutes from me. Today, browsing through my tweets (and WTF is going on with Twitter today? Is MacWorld really screwing with it that badly?), I noticed she had posted a note asking:

If you’re a woman who happens to be a mom of 1 or more gifted kids, what would you say your greatest need is?

Well, there’s no way in hell  that I could answer that in 140 characters or less. Actually, I can barely answer that question on this blog, and there ain’t no limit here!

But I’ll try. Because I’m sure she has a reason for asking and I don’t know if I’ve actually thought that question through. It’s hovered around in the back of my mind, but I don’t think I’ve dug into it.

So what do I need as a mom of 1 or more gifted kids? I’ll tell ya what I need.

I need acknowledgment that giftedness is more than just book smart, school smart. That giftedness comes in all shapes and sizes.

I need recognition that twice-exceptionalities are a freaking pain in the ass. That a child may be gifted and still have to deal with ADHD or sensory processing issues or medical issues related to ADHD/SPD that hold him back and make him appear to be less gifted. That a child may have a speech delay and therefore is more introverted and his light doesn’t shine as brightly because he is difficult to understand.

I need other parents to quit giving me that look if I mention something about one of my sons and the difficulties associated with 2e. You know the look: how hard can it be? Your kid is so smart!

I need support from the school, a wonderful school that has a GT focus but still doesn’t really dig into GT until 3rd grade. Apparently giftedness only appears when you’re eight, like a magic fairy that twinkles down from above. I need the school to help me, really help me help my son. I need the teachers to recognize that writing is extremely difficult for him for several reasons and that should not hold him back from the areas where he really shines.

I need to grow a backbone so I can advocate for my son from the perspective of a parent, and not from the perspective of a teacher who has 35 kids in her class.

I need to know if my sons really are gifted, or if I’m just deluding myself. I’m around them all the time and after awhile you just don’t know anymore.

I need help with the homework battle, before it starts to kill A’s love of learning.

I need a local support group of other moms of 2e kids, so that I have that community around me. I need others around who are on this path, so that I can vent and get help and give help and not get that look.

I need help parenting these two amazing sons I have, to parent their entire selves and not just the gifted part and not just the challenging part.

And I need help not losing my mind while developing those of my sons.

So, Lisa, I guess I don’t have just one greatest need. I’m still early in this journey of giftedness and the needs are so great and so varied.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

One more day to enter the “Only in Iowa” contest. Go drag your mind through the gutter!

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  1. cms8741

    I have a question for you. Do you feel like the challenges that your kids face are obstacles in front of their giftedness, or are their issues kind of in tandem with their smarts?

    Is that a poorly worded question? Probably. Let me know if I need to clarify.

  2. Robin

    That 2E as a pain in the ass thing? Right there with you, and we’re still several years behind on the path.

    Even without coaching, maybe just articulating this here for the blog will help you focus on what you really need most.

    ((hug))

  3. Rory

    Jen –

    This blog post is amazing. I’d like to figure out some way to share this with my readers (if that’s okay). Like Robin, I am sending out a huge (friendly) hug, and a big high-five.

    If there ever was a way to explain the actual problem in this situation, you nailed it. Everyone blames these children and the parents – when there is so much (or so little) the system has to offer these kids.

    As a gifted child, I fell straight through the cracks – even despite being in a gifted and talented program early on. But wait – my public school system did away with it after a few years.

    But what I learned in those brief few years, set the tone for everything I do in life. And of course I can’t thank Mom and Dad enough for being powerful advocates and allies, making sure I got all that I needed.

    I truly hope you will keep this passion burning!

    Rory
    http://www.twitter.com/rorystern (just b/c I want to connect)

  4. cursingmama

    I totally agree with schools/teachers etc… acknowledging that kids can be gifted in one area (Math) and not at all in another (writing). You are also correct to mention that It would also be fantastic if that acknowledgment could go a step further to recognize that kids who are gifted can face learning disabilities or similar (ADHD etc.) and that the way things are presented to these kids greatly affects how well they do.

    And homework – for the sake of homework just REALLY needs to go away. If my kid gets it – do they really need to prove it to you with 45 problems every night of the week? GAH!!!

  5. ChiTown Girl

    I’m right there with you on this one. I thanked God everyday for Lex’s school. I have no idea what I would have done if I had to send him to a “regular” school. His first grade teacher made our lives a living hell, I will admit, and I think she killed his love of learning for a while, but once we survived 1st grade, and Lex finished jumping through all the hoops he needed to to get an IEP in place, etc., things were much better. Not perfect, but better. He struggled with behavioral issues all through grade school, but luckily for us, his school knew how to deal with it, for the most part.

    The average person has no idea what it really means when you say you have a ‘gifted child.’ They immediately just assume #1) you’re bragging and #2) your child is just a short adult, completely mature and capable of taking care of himself, etc. God forbid he act like a child (or worse, a child with behavior issues!) and you become the worst mother in the world, who can’t control her child! Ah, enough complaining! I don’t really care what the outside world thinks, I think he’s pretty damn terrific!

  6. melissaz

    Ok, I so need to process my thoughts on this. I’ve got two 2e kids and there are days, man are there days. I’ll be back ….

    I’m going to check out her site. That sounds like a godsend to me.

  7. Libby

    I feel for you. I’ve been there from both sides. I’ve got gifted kids, kids that are gifted with “learning differences” and one kid that is …oh- I don’t know what he is. He is so far behind, and has learning disabilities, emotional problems, doesn’t care, doesn’t try – ONLY likes socializing and sports! Schools here stink. He’s 17 and in the 10th grade. Some testing just came back and he writes (independently ) on grade 2.6 grade level. He get’s by because they let him re-take his tests (they cut the number of questions by 1/2 – and he can take all the time he needs to finish) They give him extra credit for the stupidest things so that he can pass with a D. They don’t even want to talk to me about any technical programs that he could get into – BECAUSE – they want more graduates so that they can get more money. And where do they spend the money… FOOTBALL!
    Ummmmmm – my blood pressure has just shot through the roof, so I need to go eat some chocolate.

  8. Lisa Lauffer

    Hello, Jen & all you commenters out there!

    Wow. I am BLOWN AWAY by your post, Jen, and by all the comments the rest of you have made. I asked that question–if you’re a woman who happens to be a mom of 1 or more gifted children, what would you say your greatest need is–because as a coach to moms of gifted children, I want to understand what you most need. I know what I need, but I’m only one person. I’ve done a lot of research, and I have ideas what this population needs, but I wanted to hear from people walking the journey.

    I have heard in spades! I understand–I’ve experienced–each of the needs you’ve expressed: the need for school support, the need for people to understand 2e, the need to have other parents not look askance at what they don’t understand, and all the other needs written and unwritten.

    I would love to find a way to support you all along this journey for each need. AND when I asked myself what the overall theme is of this post & comments, here’s what I gleaned: we all want to be SEEN and UNDERSTOOD. Parenting these delightful children is tough, raises so many issues, and most people don’t get it.

    Well, I see you all, and I understand. And what I don’t see and understand, I WANT to see and understand. So please keep talking! You can reach me at info@deepwaterscoaching.com. And if you’re interested, I’ve created a small, growing online social network for moms of gifted children. It’s by invitation only so it’s a safe place for us. If you’d like to join us, please contact me for that as well.

    Please continue the conversation, and know I’m out here for all of you, and I’m actively looking for answers to the questions you’re asking. And pay attention to Rory up there too–he’s a kindred spirit, and has so much to offer (esp. if you’re dealing w/ ah AD/HD dx.).

    I’ll be back!

  9. Ilana Johnson

    I have a potential twice-exceptional – if you mean gifted but with a challenge of some kind. J has sensory issues which are a pain but is extremely smart. He is almost three so the entry to certain schools is being potty trained. Of course he isn’t because of all those issues and may not be for a while. I have found very little help through the schools in my area. I finally put him into Montessori as i feel this will be the only way he can get what he needs.
    Ugh. This is so frustrating. Anyone have luck at this young of an age to get the assistance you need?

    Ilana (lanaclevermomme on twitter)

  10. denise@EatPlayLove

    I heart twitter. there I said it. glad we jumped ship together, we seem to have many parallels chica!

  11. Michelle

    I have a 2e and this is what I need: a hotline. Yes, I need a hotline to call on the spot when I’m in a jam. Here’s why. There are millions of books out there about raising kids. This we know. But if you kid is not text book, and you 2e moms know what I mean, then looking up that answer in a book is laughable at best. I need to be able to call a hotline and say, “okay, this what just happened” and then have them give me the answer, the comeback, the holy grail of 2e motherly advice right there and then because if you wait til later, your opportunity to get it right is gone. When that 2e kid comes at me with a whammy…I want to be able to be like (doot doot doot – doot doot doot- doot doot doot doot) “hello, 2e hotline?…yes, 2e kid just did this and said that…can you give me the tools?) Bam! Mama comes back with a winner. 2e kid is stunned that her little issue hasn’t gotten me all flustered. Mama’s got answers…and good ones now. Okay, that is what I need. A hotline with experts.

  1. From the Deep » Blog Archive » What Do You Need?

    […] it in 140 characters (the Twitter limit), so she blogged about it instead. (You can read her post here.) In this beautiful, poignant rant, she listed many things she needs, from true school support to […]

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