Ethan started a new preschool at the beginning of June. I cannot express the difficulty of making this transition on top of having a newborn baby in the house. But that's another post all of its own.
Over the first month, Ethan began to settle and adapted quite nicely to "Big School." It provides more structure, which is something he really needed. The first thing we were asked to do is to help Ethan learn how to use his "inside" voice. My son doesn't talk. He yells. He always has. I think part of that comes from where he was going before where he was always trying to gain the attention of the adult in a room full of loud kids. So we worked on our "inside" voice and continue to do so. Along with that, comments were made about his energy level. He never stops!
Now I will say that his previous caretaker always told me that Ethan was one of the brightest kids she has ever had. And her husband told us many, many times that we'd have to watch him. He's extremely smart! But as a parent, we all think our children are smart. How often do you hear a parent say, "My kid is dumb" and mean it? Not often. So I didn't want to jump to conclusions and start bragging about my child's giftedness. And then it happened.
Clint came home one evening and said that Ethan's teacher was emphatic in relaying his smartness. She quantified her assessment with two Master's Degrees, one in Early Childhood Development. In saying, "You realize he's smart," my husband responded with, "Yep. He's pretty smart." Her response was to say, "I don't think you understand what I'm saying. He's really smart. He's extremely smart and you guys are going to have to stay ahead of him because he's also the type of child that will get in trouble if he isn't engaged."
Apparently, she is already having trouble keeping him engaged. She really has to work. And when he's finished with everything, which is before the other children, he gets up and gets into things or goes to the other classrooms. He's easily distracted because he "thinks he knows everything that they are doing." And I've seen the worksheets. He does know everything they're doing. That's true.
And so one day I picked him up and his teacher said, "He is just so smart!" I said that my husband and relayed the conversation and asked, "So is he just really smart or do you think we need to do something special with him?" She said that we need to get him tested when he starts school. She admits that he asks her questions that she doesn't know the answer to. That he comes up with conclusions that she doesn't know how to respond to. He's above his peers and holds a conversation like a six year old.
So I don't know if he's gifted or bright. I know he's wickedly smart and can add and subtract in his head. I know he could read if he wanted to, but he doesn't want to. I know his reasoning skills could rival an adult's reasoning skills. I know he needs little sleep and is a ball full of energy from the moment he wakes up till the time he goes to bed. I know he bores easily and is constantly ready to move on. And I know that when he starts kindergarten, they're going to tell me he needs medication for ADHD because they won't know how to handle his energy and boredom with things he already knows. Once he learns something, he moves on.
I also know that gifted children are not easy children to raise. I know they take more time and more energy and more creativity as a parent. I know they question the rules way before the teen years and come up with reasons why your rules are not adequate. He already does that and sometimes, he's on to something. I know they need to be raised differently because their intellect and emotions are quite different. I know for those that are full of energy, trouble is always right around the corner and keeping them engaged is difficult. And I know that the parent has be an active advocate in their education because the average public school struggles to meet their needs.
I also know that it is truly a gift to have a child that expresses so much interest in the world around him. My son can tell you all the ways that your heart and lungs work and why it's so important to take care of your body, lest those organs turn brown. Having conversations with him keeps me on my toes. Maybe he isn't gifted. I don't know. But I do know that I wouldn't trade for the world and that he is special and bright and engaging and challenging and independent. He is a sweet, loveable kid that keeps me on my toes! And I hope I can do him justice as a parent regardless of how difficult it may be sometimes!