So it's winter, David Bowie died (I'm so upset about this it's embarrassing), and I'm having a hard time keeping chipper with the new quarter starting and snow and all. So let's talk about Absurdist Child.
So you know how everyone wants to have gifted, quirky kids? Yeah, forget that. Absurdist Child, who I'm renaming Spirited! until he earns a new name, is completely tempermental and OCD. Absurdist Husband mentioned that since his eggs were hot, maybe he'd like to eat his sausage first. (Sacrilege!) While I was shaking my head and then holding it in my hands out of Spirited's view, Spirited explained that there was no way he could eat his sausage because he always likes to eat his egg first and that is just what he does. (He loves to say that "people are different, and I'm X") He also said "come look -- my egg is in the shape of South America! Last week, he ate his egg in the shape of the United States, marking out California and Florida each time. That is super cute. This is the same kid who does his 30-minutes of PBSKids games and gets really mad at himself when he does not nearly do as well as a time before. He gets really mad. And he told me the other day to not bother saying that it's not about how well you do, but whether you're enjoying it and trying. He said he's just not like that. (See how my hardwon wisdom falls on the deaf ears? Dude, it took me 40 YEARS to figure that out. This is gold. Yeah, not so much.)
Could someone please tell me how my seven-year old turned into a teenager?
He was completely tempermental with a very low frustration tolerance all of the Fall from Hell, which is what last fall was, though I dare not call it that at the time. (I was trying to cultivate a "good attitude," and trying to get through it without gritting my teeth about it. I pretty much suck at all that -- I'm not a natural-born grin-and-bear-it person. I admire it, but I cannot be it.)
I'm not quite sure how it happened, but in the last weeks since I've been home (though I was working a lot) his reading has absolutely bloomed. While we had read Magic Treehouse before and he'd read it on his own but
wasn't very into it, he suddenly got very into it and is now gobbling
them up, especially, naturally, at book time. But other times too. Now, a part of this is that I've taken him to the library religiously (really -- I don't go to synagogue or church -- going to the library is the closest to religion I have!) and supported him in his Magic Treehouse acquisitions, but he's doing the reading. We've gone to the library for ages, though it fell off during the Fall from Hell. An important facet of his love of Magic Treehouse, I think, is that they have numbers. He's into anything with numbers, so now he wants to read all of them. (He's also driven to acquire whole collections, like his racecars. My goodness, what does this mean?) He has a list. He fills in the number when he's acquired the book. (He's a nutter!)
This morning he told me that it's so sad that half of the rain forests are gone. (I agreed with that one. I tried to tell him that this is why it's so important that we know about it, so that we can try to stop the destruction, but do I know what to do about it?) This evening he came in every few minutes telling me about some horrible fact about tornados and 20 tornadoes a week in Tornado Alley during tornado season.
These gifted kids! You know, I'd love some help with him. What do I know about math and number-love, after all? I love words. I shrug at numbers. Wasn't particularly good with math. Thank goodness for the reading -- I know something about that -- and he reads the Research Guides, so he's learning stuff all the time, which is good because we haven't had official homeschooling since before the holidays. He finished the Life of Fred primary series and is now somewhat into the intermediate series. What to do with him? For him? I'd love for him to do an academic talent search because they give you info on what your child needs, but he gets so frustrated! The book I have on math giftedness suggests that a kid with a low frustration tolerance should probably wait until 4th grade to do it. Spirited is in 2nd grade! What to do with him until then? He'll be in calculus before I can get my bearings (or learn calculus). We've also got to get him out into some kind of activity or club, so he can hang out with other kids, preferably likeminded, though as academic as he is, he's not a kid to sit in the corner doing math or reading a book unless he's alone.
What should we do for MLK Day? MLK is the only historical figure he really knows and who has been held up as a hero or moral leader. (Okay, so we've done some things very very right. He also doesn't watch any violent TV. I've recently been reading Dr. Spock for the first time and felt great when Dr. Spock warned against violent TV and its dangers.) We should do something, but what?
Any ideas what to do with these math kids? These low-frustration tolerance kids? It's so hard, just like it's hard for me to help him go to sleep, because I have those same challenges! Absurd!