Monday, December 19, 2016

"Every Child is Gifted...

They just unwrap their packages at different times". I love this.

Jordan just missed the cutoff, which would have gained her access into the world of the gifted. Her scores on the verbal section of the WISC, are what pulled her down. The verbal section. Let's think about this.

Jordan was pulled out of her comfortable classroom, asked to sit in a room with a total stranger, and prompted to answer a bunch of questions. Out loud. Jordan, who at this point in her life wouldn't ever, make eye contact with adults. Every time we went to her pediatrician for a well visit, and the doctor would ask her the usual questions regarding her health habits, I would constantly have to remind her to look at the doctor, not at me, when she was answering. I was aware that her brief answers were only the tip of the ice-burg, as compared to the information she wasn't sharing, but I didn't want to come across as a helicopter mom who hovered too closely, and spoke for her child. For whatever reason, she was uncomfortable when speaking to adults.

Initially, I was angry. I wondered who would get in, if a child who gets 100% on basically everything, did not. It was obvious, at least to me (and I certainly wasn't the least bit biased) that she was a child who had been graced with many gifts. So that would mean she was gifted, right?

Eventually I got over the initial, parental sting. It took a few conversations with Weeze, Dad, and Adam, for me to gain a better understanding of the situation. Perhaps the gifted class would not have been the best fit for Jordan. She wasn't bored in school. She also didn't strike me as the type of student who thought "outside of the box”, to the point where she wasn't benefiting from the standard curriculum.

What Jordan was, was a smart, motivated, organized, diligent, rule following, happy (albeit sometimes overly emotional), eight year old.

Who needs labels anyway?

Thank you,

Us Too

Saturday, December 17, 2016

To Be Gifted, or Not to be Gifted

That was the question.

Jordan's second grade teacher recommended we have her tested for the gifted program. At the start of this year she came home and said happily, “Every year the teachers just keep telling me how great I am!" Now I ask you, who wouldn't like hearing that every year?

We weren't surprised by the recommendation because she was reading at the fifth grade level in second grade, and her memory seemed to be almost photographic. At this point, school was not very challenging for her. We had reservations about the program, so we met with the principal. He told us we were the first parents ever, who contemplated not putting their child in. Here's why; Adam was in the gifted program in elementary school, and it wasn't a good fit. For a number of reasons, the program ultimately had a negative effect on his self esteem and self confidence. But after this meeting, we felt that perhaps it would be a good fit for Jordan.

She was tested, and she didn't get in. They said her IQ was not high enough.


If you know anything about me at this point, you can probably sense the sarcastic, annoyed, somewhat competitive tone in my reaction. Wait until you hear which section of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC) pulled her score down.

Thank you.

Us Too

Monday, December 12, 2016

Self Pity Sucks

Before moving on, I would like to make sure I'm portraying our stories accurately. I don't want to minimize, or sugar coat any of the difficult experiences we went through. If I did, the ultimate purpose of Us Too would be lost. Again, it's purpose is to reassure families that they are not alone. No matter how isolated, frustrated, or dysfunctional you think your family is, there are most likely other families going through similar situations. People just don't like to talk about it.

One of the many benefits of journaling, is it allows you to write down the initial, emotionally charged thoughts, which are bombarding your mind. This is a good thing, because I know first hand, that nothing positive comes from verbalizing these rants. Here's an excerpt from my journal, written after Jordan gave me the note:

How about just clean your damn room when your dad tells you to! How about not getting into an argument about it, refuse to do it, and then pull the "poor me" attitude. All because your mom and dad had the audacity to confront you about it! You're life is unfair? What about my life?

Feeling sorry for myself in this way was never my thing, but it was slowly and meticulously beginning to creep into my psyche. I didn't like it.

It was frustrating to deal with this kind of crap over and over. Once again, I didn't understand how it was possible for me to have a child who was so different than I. One who felt sorry for herself. One who appeared to give up on difficult situations so easily. One whose choices and actions seemed to be self defeating, and to defy logic and rational thinking.

It was very difficult for Adam and I to stay attentive and consistent all of the time, especially with two younger children. There were numerous occasions when life was moving along so smoothly; Jordan was sweet, even tempered, and extremely pleasant. It was these times when we would inevitably ease up on her behavior chart. That's when life would become more tumultuous. and the crap would begin to hit the fan again. We would be forced into having one of our “talks” with her, and try to explain why her actions were unacceptable, or worse yet, unhealthy..

As the years progressed, and her behaviors became more extreme and hurtful (to herself and/or to others), so did my reactions to them. It wasn't good.

But remember, with patience, communication, professional help, and most importantly, love, we got through the seemingly impossible times. Nothing is ever perfect, but I can honestly say that today, I thoroughly enjoy spending time with Jordan. I am constantly in awe of, and inspired by, the strength and persistence she is forced to tap into each and every day.

Hope is a wonderful thing. :)

Thank you.

Us Too

Sunday, December 4, 2016

You Would All be Better Off Without Me...

For better or for worse, when I was growing up, I couldn't stand the girls who pulled the whole “feel sorry for me crap”. It drove me nuts. My attitude was: Suck it up, get on with your life, and please don't involve me. Cringe? I don't think I was never rude about it, I just tried to avoid the drama.

And now my own child was throwing the ultimate feel-sorry-for-me-drama", at me. I felt emotionally manipulated, and I didn't like it.

After Adam helped calm me down, we talked to Jordan, making it vibrantly clear how good she had it growing up in our home: we respect her, we love her, and we value everything about her. We added that we will always be there for her, and conversely, we deserve the same in return. Lastly, I informed her that this type of behavior will not ever be tolerated.

What would possess an eight year old to throw this type of guilt trip on her parents? I wasn't even sure it was a guilt trip. I didn't know what to think. Was her plan to upset us or to run away? Maybe she didn't have a plan. Maybe she felt too much after seeing me lose it on all three kids, and she had no idea how to cope.

Although this post appears to be filled with only negativity and angst, I hope you can see it differently. We may not have expected the note, but at least we reacted to it in a calm and loving manner. And thankfully, Jordan heard us. She was receptive, and the look in her eyes showed that she understood how truly important she was to us.

And there's nothing negative about that. :)

Thank you.

Us Too