Is Being Gifted Really a Gift?

Posted by Kathleen George on September 18, 2016 0 Comments

     “As expected getting back into routine is a little rough for Jane.  She has had 2 pretty difficult days.” As expected. That’s how her teacher started the e-mail she sent to me when we returned from a family trip to attend a friend’s wedding. As expected…she had two pretty difficult days. My daughter has an IEP (Individualized Education Program) for ADHD. I’m not going to get into ADHD being over-diagnosed and how it doesn’t really exist. Spend a few days with my daughter or husband and you will be a believer. In addition to her IEP, my daughter is in Kindergarten and reading at a third grade level. Originally, the principal wanted to move her directly to first grade after Pre-K but her ADHD coupled with lagging social and emotional behavior made the decision easy. Jane is in her first 60 days of Kindergarten and “as expected” she is having some difficulty.


     It’s hard to say when my daughter doesn’t have difficult days. My husband and I knew Jane showed some interesting signs when she was young, even as young as 18 months. She was an early talker and walker. She was singing the alphabet before she turned one and was having full conversations by two. She crawled at 6 months and was walking by ten. And she never slept. Ok, not never, but rarely. While the other parents were conversing about three hour naps, I was lucky to get an hour and fifteen minutes. By three, she was tested through the school district’s early intervention program after being kicked out of two other preschools. I will be forever grateful for early intervention. It is through that program that we learned Jane is “most likely gifted”. Official testing occurs in the second grade but based on the assessments the school has done, this is their opinion.


     One one hand, I was excited. I was an over-achiever myself and had always hoped for a protégé I could take under my wing. On the other hand, I knew Jane would already face issues in her academic future. And let’s face it, smart kids can be weird, odd, socially awkward and the like. As parents, we all want our kids to fit in and not face the perils of being left out, bullied or treated unkind by their peers.


Even moderately gifted children are vulnerable to a variety of adjustment difficulties. As the degree of intellectual advancement increases, so does the child's risk of social maladjustment and unhappiness.”*


     Only time will tell how being gifted will impact our child’s life but as of now, she is just a Kindergartner and as expected, we will support her every step of the way.



*(Hollingworth, 1942; Terman, 1925; Terman & Oden, 1947; Tannenbaum, 1983).


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Back To School

Posted by Kathleen George on August 29, 2016 0 Comments

Image result for frazzled back to school


Hooray! That’s what you are saying. Unless you are, of course, a teacher. Ahhh, back to school. The kids go back to school, the weather cools down and Mom can get back to…being busier? Along with back to school comes back to school activities, shopping, after school sports, parent/teacher conferences, etc. Here are some great tips to make it through the first few weeks and beyond.


  1. Teacher Gifts – Ok, I absolutely LOVE my child’s teacher but do I need to show up with a gift on the first day of school? Well, if so, Target gift cards and wine. That’s what the teachers want because those are the only two things I have given that created excitement in their eyes. Except, of course, the final day of school.

  1. PTO Money – I hear complaints about this one all the time but if there are Moms out there willing to donate their time to make the rest of the children’s school experience fabulous, great, let me write a check. Come on parents! It may seem excessive but the parties and the ho downs and ice cream socials create lasting memories for our kid’s school experience and the PTO (and Moms that run it) make this happen.


  1. School Lunches – It is SO hard to figure out what to pack for lunch that’s healthy, liked by your kids and also gluten, peanut and preservative free. Here is a link to some safe and peanut free lunch ideas.

  1. After school Activities - Keep it simple and limit after school to one activity per week. With homework and kids not even arriving home until 4pm, too much activity every night will just wear them (and you!) down. Don’t forget to take some time each day to unwind with your child and find out how they are doing. Big changes happen at school every year and this is the time when kids need us the most.

      There is a lot going on when the kids go back to school but before you know it, you will be taking that last day of school pic and wondering where the time went.

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      Do I Need a Planner for my Kid’s Birthday Party?

      Posted by Susan Brown on August 17, 2016 0 Comments


           I had kids later in life so I essentially grew up in the 80s. My fondest memories of birthday parties were going to someone’s house, hanging out in their basement playing games, eating pizza and snacks and then having cake. And ice cream! Side note, whatever happened to ice cream with birthday cake? I remember the giant tubs of ice cream after that slab of cake was placed on the plate and the parent serving would say, “would you like a scoop of ice cream with that?” Uh, yes please! After that, we would all sit around in a circle and watch the birthday kid open their presents and relish in the joy that we got our friend just what they wanted. My mother was the exception of course. I had clowns and entertainment and there was one birthday where she even got a trainer to bring a baby chimpanzee. But typically, we had house parties or went to Chuck E. Cheese, McDonald's or the ice skating rink, had some fun with our friends, had cake (with ice cream) and opened presents. That was the formula for a party. Then.

           Fast forward about, ahem, 30 years from 1986 and I now have one child turning six and one turning three. We get invited to no less than two birthday parties a month. A month! And during the school year it escalates. My three year old doesn’t even have friends yet so this is basically the birthday party ‘load’ for one child. It starts with the invite. You have to have a good invite because it sets the tone for the birthday party. Paw Patrol? Star Wars? Fairy party? Whatever the theme is you know everything from there on out related to the party will have that theme.

           Now for the location. Although some people do still have parties at home, they are not just parties at home. Got a juggler? What about an acrobat? Or some live animals to pass around. At a minimum you had better have a bounce house or better yet a water slide because these kids can’t just entertain themselves, people! But really, who are we kidding, why have a party at home when you could have one at a zoo, trampoline park, movie theater or even a hotel! Yes, a hotel for a child’s birthday party.


           Luckily, the birthday food of choice hasn’t changed much since pizza. Everyone loves pizza and all great birthday parties serve it followed by…a very expensive cake? Some people probably spent less on their own wedding cake than some of the cakes I’ve seen at birthday parties. Is that five tiers?! Is that the kid’s name written in gold dust on the side?!!? After the cake (no ice cream, thank you) there are no presents. I mean, everyone brings presents but the gifts are never opened at the party. I’m not sure when this ‘switch’ happened and I’m not sure how the kids feel but I kind of miss that part of the party. Plus, I just like to know if they like my gift.


           Oh, that reminds me, it’s time to get MY child’s gift…the gift bag. This is another phenomenon of the 2010s, the kid’s birthday party thank you gift bag (personalized and themed, of course). Moms, or maybe their birthday party planners, work tirelessly to create a fabulous gift bag for the attendees of their child’s birthday party. I think it’s superfluous and to all the Moms out there…YOU DON’T HAVE TO GIVE OUT GIFT BAGS!. There, I said it (gasp!) gift bags are unnecessary. That being said, I would like a thank you note. So, now the formula for a kid’s birthday party is… fancy invite, great locale and entertainment, pizza, over the top bakery cake, no gift opening and fabulous goody bags. I think I need a planner.


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      Posted by Susan Brown on July 18, 2016 0 Comments


           I'm waiting outside Marshall's Home Goods at 10:48am on a Sunday morning. I didn't even know the store didn't open until 11:00am but that's fine. I'll relax outside on the bench because I don't have my two kids with me. If I did, I would have to create a quick contingency plan. 12 minutes?! Ok, I have 12 minutes. I can't sit in the car because my 2-year-old son screams and cries if I park the car and we don't immediately get out and head to our destination. These 12 minutes can be critical in setting the stage for the whole experience. If my kids were with me. Today, though, I bask in the relaxation and get about 15 texts done in five minutes flat. Sometimes, with the kids one text can take three and a half hours. And then I forget to hit send because (insert Mom interruption 10,462 of the day). 


      Here are some of the highlights of shopping without kids that I completely took for granted before children. 


        • My purse gets to ride shotgun! My handbag collection is kind of like the family dog after the first child is doesn't get nearly as much attention as it once did and loses the cushy spot in the bed for a swaddled newborn.

        • I get to peruse every section and some twice! When shopping with kids, you never know when you may just need to abandon the cart and get out while you can. Seeing a tantrum coming on is sort of like watching a slow-motion scene in an action movie…you see the pin coming out of the grenade and the hand cocking back to get ready to launch and you know that grenade is coming right at you.

        • I’m not a walking 7-11 when I shop alone. Snacks? Check. Water sippies? Check. Gum, wipes, Kleenex? Do you need a hair clip or an organic granola bar? Boys size 3T undies? I’ve got it all in my purse. Shopping with kids can also be compared to camping in the deep woods for three days. If you are not prepared, bears can eat you.

        • While in the fitting room, I don’t have to constantly say things like, “please don’t open the door, Mommy’s not dressed” or “I’m almost done, and just give me one more minute, please”. I don’t have to listen to Dora on the Kindle or answer questions about why I have dimples on my legs. It’s pretty quiet in there on a Sunday morning.

        • I’ve made it to the check out and since I’m not shopping with kids I get in line, make some small talk with the cashier and I’m on my merry way. Otherwise, I spend that time talking my kids out of all the things they “need” while snaking through the rate maze prior to approaching the cashier.

        Shopping today was glorious! I should definitely do this more often. Said every Mom on the planet.


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        Can summer heat make you SAD?

        Posted by Susan Brown on June 27, 2016 0 Comments

        Summer has just begun! Can it make you SAD? Seasonal Effective Disorder (SAD) is a type of mood disorder that affects a person during the same season each year. Those with summer SAD — also known as reverse seasonal affective disorder — tend to sleep less, eat less, lose weight, and may become extremely irritable and agitated. People can get very depressed in extreme heat and become trapped in their homes. It is difficult to engage in outdoor activities when it's so hot. Most will stay in their homes waiting for the sun to go down. But their energy level will still spike, making for extreme productivity at night. Also the heat just makes people irritable.

        How to manage SAD...

        Stay cool - Those with summer SAD should crank up the air conditioning and take cool showers. Sufferers can even freeze water bottles and place them at their feet come bedtime.

        Keep Moving – Exercise is good for many reasons: physically, mentally and socially. Take a local exercise class offered indoors. Participating will get you out of the house and help you interact with others.

        Get your sleep – Maintain a regular sleep schedule of approximately 7-8 hours by waking up and slumbering promptly at the same time each day.

        Get out of Town – Plan a stress-free vacation. A weekend getaway where the temperatures are cooler and breezy.

        Seek Treatment – If you notice a change in mood in the summer that disappears in the fall, it’s an initial sign you could have SAD. Visit a mental health professional to discuss proper treatments such as behavioral therapy, cognitive therapy, and practiced self management. In some situations, medication can also help.


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