Friday, August 31, 2012

Intrinsically Special Part I

Intrinsically Special: noun.  A child who is special or different in a positive way.  This specialness comes from fact, not the opinion of the parents.

Once upon a time, Philosopher Child's 1st grade teacher decided there was something wrong with him.  He didn't act like the others.  He didn't concentrate on his work.  His social skills were awkward.  She told me he ought to take a trip to the pediatrician.

I refused.  It's not that I'm a bad mom or that I wanted to believe my child was perfect, but she was in a roundabout way suggesting that he had ADHD.  My view of that is complicated and would cause me to be long winded.  Let's just say I disagreed.  I suggested that perhaps he was bored.  I mean, he did already know a lot of the material that other kids were seeing for the first time.

"No.  Even the clever ones just sit down and get their work done," was the response I received.

Even though I knew in my heart of hearts that he wasn't ADHD, something was clearly...different.  I wouldn't say wrong, but different.  Maybe he had ADHD after all?  Maybe he was just young compared to his classmates?  Maybe he had a mild form of Aspergers?  A mild form of Aspergers  was a possibility, I thought.  But it seemed more likely that Philosopher Child was just smart.  Why do you think I called him Philosopher Child?

Then the reading test came.  The teacher looked at his score and discovered that his reading ability was high.  Really high.  She suggested he be tested for the gifted program the following year.  She warned me, however, that the waiting list just to get the initial screening done was extensive.

"Well, everyone wants their child to be gifted," I joked.

"Well, they can't," she replied.  Straight-faced.  Ultra serious.

It was almost an entire year before his turn for the screening came.  During that time, he had a rough emotional year in 2nd grade with a teacher that didn't understand him and was relentlessly bullied by a group of girls.  Yes, girls.  I didn't know the extent of the happenings until the last quarter, at which point I pulled him from that classroom and put him in another.  He had a better time there, but a lot of emotional and academic damage had been done.  I don't particularly blame anyone for this tumultuous time.  Philosopher Child had been afraid to get in trouble for "tattling" by telling us what was going on.

During the last quarter of the 2nd grade, Philosopher Child received his initial screening.  His results showed him to be higher than average, but not necessarily gifted.  The score was high enough that he "qualified" to move on to the next stage of testing.  This bigger, official IQ test to be done by a psychologist would give more accurate numbers.

Of course, if he was just diagnosed with being a clever ADHD student, the story would end here.  But there's more.  Oh, so much more.

This concludes part I of the journey.  Stay tuned for part II, posted tomorrow.  Or later today.  It depends.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Cartoon Mirroring Part II

Part one here.
Cartoon Mirroring: verb. To imitate a cartoon.

It's not uncommon for Philosopher Child to forget something in the classroom and I have to walk him back to get it.  On one such a day, as he found his missing items, I chatted with the teacher.  However, as I turned around I saw that Little Viking was on the floor.  I was worried that he was hurt, since I had never seen him just drop onto the floor like that.  But...he was sitting oddly for being hurt.  He sat with the soles of his feet together, back straight, eyes closed, hands in prayer position in front of him.

"What are you doing?" I asked in confusion.  "Get off the floor, please."

He complied, and we moved to leave the classroom.  The teacher said something to me and I turned to respond to her.  When I turned back around, Little Viking was back down on the floor, in the same position.  I asked him again to get up, and we left the classroom.  Partway down the hall, the teacher said something to me again.  I stopped to talk with her, and immediately Little Viking was back on the floor.  He did this several times on the way out of school.

When we got home I asked him about this strange new practice.  He explained that in a cartoon he was watching, there were ninjas that did that.

"Oh, I guess they were meditating," I said.

"Yes.  It's a Chinese thing."

OK, but ninjas were Japanese.  One thing at a time.

Now to teach him dropping onto the floor at a random spot is not the appropriate action when mom stops walking for a minute.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Wait, APRIL????

I won't lie.  I kind of dropped the ball here.  I've said that several times over the last few months...pretty much every time I disappear from the blogosphere when life gets in the way.  Life has settled out a little here, so let's get back to it.

What you've missed: Philosopher Child had some pretty significant struggles in school, culminating in his IQ being tested for the gifted program.  He qualified  by... a lot.

Little Viking just turned 5.  He's tall for his age, and I'm constantly getting asked if I intend to put him in school this year.  My answer has up to this point been a resounding "no."  Why?  Because he JUST turned five, about a week and a half before school started.  Even though he already knows most of what is taught in kindergarten, he is not emotionally mature enough to start.  You would not believe the flack I've been getting from other parents about keeping him out another year.  One even said, "Just put him in, and then if it's a problem, he can just repeat the grade."  Sorry, what?  Why would I do that?

We're about to start the fall garden.  Photos!  Photos!  Oh, yes, there will be photos!