Monday, November 3, 2008

Life With Logue - Parenting a Gifted Child

When Logue was born, exactly 13 years, 7 months 19 days ago, I knew right away he was an old soul. He didn't like a lot of noise, activity or fuss. He would sit in his bouncy chair and laugh and giggle at a Native American mask a friend's father made for us. He hated sleeping alone as if he knew about solitude already. We started to call him our "Little Bhudda" he seemed so "Zen" (except when we had to put him on the washing machine to calm him down in the middle of the night). At 18 months his daddy asked him how his nasty cut on his eyebrow that he had gotten on the playground was and Logue answered, "It just IS Daddy."

When I took him to mommy and me class he was content to play on his own. If another child neared his area, he just moved on to something else. When circle time came, he was not about to participate. I know now what he was thinking: "Why join in with the others when I can have the Duplos all to myself and reinvent the pyramid?" "Besides, who wants to sing the ABC song when you can design a Lego airplane from scratch and really Mama, the wheels on the bus? We all know they go 'round and 'round." Logue resisted play time up in the gym as well. Other kids were not interesting to him, especially if they were ramming each other with various wheeled, kid powered vehicles. To Logue vehicles (Hot Wheels) were to be lined up in neat little rows, color coordinated and by make and model.

Preschool came and man did Logue put up a fight. Being young, first time parents, we didn't want to cause him more agony than he already appeared to be in every time preschool days came around. You'd think that the resounding "Logue!" shouted from every student in the classroom when he walked in would be a welcoming treat for a 3 yr old. Not Logue. We caved often when those crocodile tears came pouring down, "I don't want to go to school, it's too hard!" Poor teacher Nancy, the sweetest lady ever who adored Logue. She had her work cut out for her. But again, I knew what he was thinking: "What's the point in going to this place where you have to stand in line, run around in a gym and...What is all this nonsense about coloring inside the lines, for God sakes people, think outside the box!" A conformer he was not. Polite, gracious and kind he was (thank God for small favors) which I why I think they let him stay.

Around age four I started noticing Logue reading signs along the road in the car. At first I thought he was just talking, singing - the usual toddler stuff. It started to dawn on me that he might be reading. So, I tested him. "Do you know that sign says stop because you recognize the red octagon?" "No, mama, it says S-T-O-P, stop, just like that sign over there says Cleaners." "Oh, my bad." Soon it was cereal boxes, milk cartons and very quickly our house was bursting at the seams with books. That's when the worrying started. How do we parent this child? Are we supposed to send him to some think tank or boarding school for special smart 4 yr olds? Reading about gifted children and other parents with smart children brought me back down to earth...THEIR children were reading when they were 2 yrs old. Whew! be continued.

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