Monday, April 20, 2015

Gifted at Different Ages and Stages

This blog post is part of the GHF Blog Hop for April.
Check out the other blog posts on this topic here.

Giftedness was not in my vocabulary when I was a first-time mom. I equated the word gifted with talented, very good or highly-skilled. 

But since my eldest son was assessed to be potentially gifted when he was 2 years old, I started reading more about giftedness. I have learned more about the topic since then.

I have also witnessed and noticed more of the traits that I have read about gifted children in my eldest son.

Then, I had another son, my second baby. 

We have not brought him to our developmental pediatrician yet, although he is already 3 years old. But I know that he is also gifted like his older brother. Why? Because I now know the signs and traits that gifted children manifest. I see some of his older brother's traits in him, which are mainly overexcitabilities in different areas and advance development in language and music. He exhibits giftedness in other areas, too. But they have a lot in common.  

Sadly, even though I already know that he is gifted just like his older brother, I still make a lot of mistakes in dealing with him and some of his behaviors.

It has been over 4 years now since my husband and I learned that our eldest son is gifted. There's still a lot that we have not figured out though. We still struggle a lot in putting our very active kids to sleep, getting them to finish their meals within an acceptable time frame and teaching them to be obedient to us. Each day is not complete without a power struggle. I'm still not used to their noise, mess and constant chatter. 

This past week has been extra challenging for me because our two helpers left. I can't help but feel overwhelmed and drained in the past days. I can't keep up with my kids' energy level on top of caring for my 4-month-old baby boy, whom I also breastfeed. This gifted adult craves for time alone, silence and reflection; but I could hardly get that, since my kids sometimes do not want to nap and they sleep late at night.

That's me and my gifted boys during my third baby's baptism. 

What I had been doing and what helped me survive these past week was to pay more attention to my gifted kids' behaviors that warm my heart and make me happy. 

So, I consciously took note of their creativity and powerful imagination. I did my best to listen to most of their stories and to play with them during their pretend plays. I patiently read books to them and told them stories, too; even though, I was already sleepy and my throat was hurting. I reminded myself that I'm blessed that my kids share my passion for books. I savored the music played by my eldest son in the piano. I praised him and gave him tips on how to improve the books that he has written. I chose to be grateful for the opportunity to mentor him. I chose to smile at my 3-year-old who kept hugging me, saying "I love you" to me and singing to me the birthday song this past week. 

I'm really thankful for these adorable, sweet and smart kids. I just feel exhausted this week doing my best to keep them safe, teaching them good behavior and values, and making sure they are well-fed.

I hope and pray that my husband and I would learn more ways on how to better parent our two older kids; so that we would do a better job in raising and parenting our third child, who at infancy is already showing signs of giftedness like his two older brothers. I noticed that he also gets distracted while nursing. His motor skills are also developing fast. Sometimes, he seems to be conversing with us. He just can't articulate the words yet but it's obvious that he is trying to tell me/us something. I do my best to respond to him but he still gets frustrated sometimes.

I'm thankful that I have been part of forums or support groups for parents with gifted children. I've been learning a lot from their sharing and stories. I also feel less alone in dealing with my struggles and challenges.     

We still have a long way to go. But stories from parents who have gone ahead of us and who have raised gifted kids successfully encourage and inspire us. Their stories also remind me that parenting gifted children gets easier as the kids grow older and mature.  

What challenges and joys are you experiencing now at this stage in your gifted kids' lives? Feel free to share in the comments. 

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