by Jen Merrill of Laughing at Chaos
I have one, chances are if you’re reading this you have one…I’m not talking about navels, but gifted kids. They do not permit navel gazing by their parents, no no no… These amazing children are far too intense, questioning, and demanding for the respite of parental navel gazing. No rest for the weary! Or is there? Surely there’s a way we can survive raising a gifted or twice-exceptional child to adulthood without sacrificing our sanity along with our time and bank accounts?
- Wine. Yes, the fermented juice of the grape so beloved by all. Sometimes a locked door and a nice glass of red keeps the screams in the back of the throat quiet for another day. The neighbors appreciate that.
- A tribe. Whether online or real life, we parents of gifted/2e kids absolutely must find other parents in the same leaky boat. Now, I do not recommend accosting strangers with the line, “My kid is gifted, please help me and be my friend,” as that tends to alienate other parents. You must use code words, like “complex” and “thinks differently” and “42 is the answer to all things past, present, and future.”
- Find something fun and outrageous to do. Take flamenco lessons, learn to juggle flaming chickens (I do not condone setting chickens aflame), tightrope walking. Something to remind yourself that A) you can learn something new, B) you’re allowed to do something completely different, and C) if you can do that you most certainly can raise a gifted/2e kid. There’s also the added benefit of your kid thinking you have completely cracked, and he might tone things down a bit for awhile, in deference to your delicate mental state.
- Date night. You and your spouse must spend time together, preferably without the kids. No, let’s make that most definitely without the kids. If a sitter is out of the question (see aforementioned comment about sacrificing the bank account), and you’re not comfortable with duct taping the kid to the floor for a few hours (I KID! Mostly…), then allow me to introduce Dinner Date Night. One night a week (ours is Sunday), we throw our boys into their rooms around6 pm to read/talk/rouse some rabble while we make a nice dinner with wine (see #1). We talk, we watch some Not Appropriate for Children TV, and enjoy a cheap date.
- I…don’t have a number five. I’m far from an expert, I’m a living laboratory raising a 2e kid. I have far more questions than answers and can often be found banging my head repeatedly on the desk. I have days where I’m hanging on to my last shred of sanity with my teeth, and days where I’m so on top of things nothing bothers me. There’s a lot more of the former than the latter, and I suspect that’s the case with a lot of parents of gifted kids. So I raise a glass to all the parents of gifted kids out there, who know it’s not all sunshine and roses raising these kids, and somehow still manage to stay just one step ahead of them.
Jen can be found at Laughing at Chaos, where she writes about the absurdities and insecurities of raising gifted kids. And a bunch of other stuff.