So what does sleep have to do with raising a profoundly gifted child?
Take trip through cinematic history with me, back to a Cary Grant Film called I Was A Male War Bride. In this farce, the lead character couldn’t find a place to bunk because her didn’t fit the authorized profile of a war bride- female. All the paperwork was designed for females, asked personal questions for females and- here’s where we fit in- he didn’t fit their red tape and so he didn’t really exist. It was beyond their duty to help him, so each clerk shuffled him along while stating “I know. But you can’t sleep here.”
Follow me beneath the fold. (I promise to put funny anecdotes at the end!)
We first got the clue that we didn’t belong when she was 2 and we joined playgroups, which moms are told are essential for socializing their kids. One of the fun things about this for parents is the chance to talk to another adult. They would usually talk about baby milestones and tell anecdotes. Notice I said “they” because I quickly realized that I wasn’t allowed to celebrate my daughter’s accomplishments in the same way. They saw her reading, listened to her speak and felt that they were bad parents because their beloved child wasn’t doing these things. I usually got 2 reactions. The first would be requests for teaching materials, the second a slur about pushy moms. Time to move on.
Look! Preschool! That has got to welcome her. Why I saw the room was filled with shelves full of activities. Oh, she’s too young? But she’s reading… I see. She needs to socialize with her peers. Fine. Put us in the toddler class and we’ll wait.
You get the idea by now, but it continued for her for years. In elementary school we were told to just not give her any work and see what she does with her time (and my $4,000 of tuition!) One psychologist did the numbers for us- 1 in a million, which means that a teacher would encounter one child like this in 6,666 years of teaching- if this teacher taught 150 students each year.
This last spring we met with the local high school principal who completely agreed that her academic needs were at that level (if not beyond) but because she is 9- she can’t go there. So I’m forced to homeschool, which has been wonderful for the family, but when I try to get lab equipment from the school district I’m told that “lack of science equipment is one of the things you have to put up with when you choose to homeschool.”
As you know from my last diary, things are going quite well now. We’ve created a safe space for her to thrive- and she can sleep here.
And since I promised you stories, here they are.
Once when she was five, she sat in the back of the car doing what kids of that age do when they are bored and have only fingers and nostrils to amuse themselves. I caught a glimpse in the mirror and did what moms do in such circumstances; say boogers are gross, dirty and not food. Her counterargument?
- Nasal mucous is meant to catch pathogens that would normally make us ill.
- Vaccines make antibodies by introducing the pathogen in a safer way.
- Ingesting these pathogens is actually a smart way to protect yourself against getting ill.
You want another?
My daughter has always been interested in babies. She devoured books on child development, focusing on the blastula and gastrula stages with great interest. Since we wanted her sex education to be gentle and introduced casually we got a book that spoke about what happens when mom and dad feel loving… and I left it around for her to find.
She glommed onto it immediately, and I braced myself in the kitchen for THE INEVITABLE QUESTION of how the sperm get in mommy.
She came out and said “Mom, I have a question about what I read in this book.” More bracing on my part. “Yes, honey?”
“How does the matrix of the egg change so quickly that only 1 sperm gets in?”