She's often described as "spirited" as in "can you make her stop talking and moving around so much?" and "a good leader" as in "bossy" and "mature" as in "I'm sorry I didn't think she would get the sarcasm and irony of that joke."
She gets it. Usually, and sometimes unfortunately, the first time.
I saved this one as a note in my phone when she was about 5 (this was before I blogged, yo):
The Kid: <telling a very detailed horror story to me and my sister in the car>
My Sister: Kid, I think you'll grow up to be a famous writer like Stephen King.
The Kid: Yes, but I'll be Stephen Queen.
The older she gets the harder it is. Seemingly small things set her off. She has trouble making friends. She doesn't try something if she thinks she is going to fail. She hates criticism. Small slights are the end of the world. She doesn't want to stop what she is doing. HEAVEN HELP YOU if you move something she spent hours setting up. She makes up wonderful stories. She likes to play pretend. She loves dragons and plastic animals. She knows how to work the system. Her socks cannot be too tight or too high or too thick or too thin. She described herself as "Type A" to her neurologist.
I *hate* labels.
At one point someone suggested I get her tested for the Gifted and Talented Program in our school district. Seriously, I am having a really hard time even writing that because EVERY time I hear someone call their kid gifted I think of Kathy Griffin's routine (starts at about 0:28).
"This is our daughter, Hannah. She's two days old. She's gifted."
In second grade, I signed her up for the test but she didn't "pass". We forged ahead. I am ashamed to say that I believed them -- that she wasn't gifted. So I've spent the last few years trying to make her normal. It hasn't been working. This year has been the toughest yet.
It's not that she does phenomenal, academically, on paper - we have a smattering of A's and B's and an occassional C. She excels in some areas - like science and reading comprehension and could give or take others - like math and essay writing. At her first parent conference this year her teacher told me two things that stood out: 1) she could probably teach the science curriculm and often tells (in a nice way) her teacher if something is wrong in the book and 2) her teacher will make a joke and she will be the ONLY one who gets it.
I knew exactly what she meant.
We're at the zoo. She's 6.
Me: "Oh look at that crocodile!"
The Kid: "That's an alligator. Look at his jaw."
I recently started reading this blog and following the author, Heather, on Twitter. I love her perspective on everything - including her "quirky kid". I identified with a lot of what she was writing. At one point, either on her blog or via twitter I found a reference my way to a book called Living with Intensity (I can't seem to find the blog post/tweet I was reading at the moment) but what I do know is that I immediately went to Amazon to see what it was about. After reading the first few pages, I purchased it immediately.
When it arrived a few days later, I admit that I didn't read it right away.
The kid has been struggling the last few weeks. Emotions are running high. Really high. This weekend we had a mah-jor freak out over socks and being told that something will last 20 minutes, and not the 15 she expected it to last.
I decided it was time to get into this book and figure it out. What IT is, I don't know.
After reading just the first two chapters of the book, I'm convinced that she is one of those children. You know, the gifted.
And now it's time to figure out what to do about it.