Did you guys check out the latest Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Blog Hop on Parenting 2Es, OEs, and Everything in Between? I relished reading all the posts the other day. I saw so much of my family in each poster’s words; it was reassuring to know that our “normal” is normal for other people, too. Today, I am going to tell you about my PG, 2E, and full of OE afternoon.
Yesterday was a very busy day over here. The Monday morning to-do list was very long, and additional to-dos kept getting piled on as the day progressed. You know how it never fails that, when having work done on your home, something else is discovered? Well, I arrived home Monday afternoon to learn that the electrician installing our exterior lighting had discovered corroded and melted wires in our meter. Certainly not the type of news you want to come home to, right?
As I was sitting on hold with the utility company, I was feeling grateful that we had managed to squeeze in a quick library stop on this super busy day. My little poppies were too busy having a kids-only snuggle party with all the new books to harass me while I was on the phone.
Well, when the bucket truck with the flashing lights finally rolled up our driveway, it was dark outside. The gentleman told me that he’d need to shut the lights off for a bit while he worked on the issue.
Folks, when I was a kid I loved when the lights went out! My brothers and I would get to use flashlights- we’d sent morse code messages or play flashlight tag, or just shine them in each other’s eyes like my mother told us not to. I loved the sudden stillness when the lights would go out. I would still love it today except that Leo never fails to totally freak out.
When the guy told me he’d need to turn the power off, the very first thing I did-even before finding the flashlight and candles- was say, “Hey Leo? The guy needs to turn out the lights out for a little bit to fix the issue. He will turn them back on when he’s done.”
We parents of 2E kids know to give ample warning, in attempt to stave off some of the repercussions. Certainly it helps, but it doesn’t stop what is to come, it merely slows the storm down a smidgen. A brief hiccup, if you will.
“WHAT?! WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?!?!” (I think I’ve mentioned before that Leo has one volume when feeling any sort of extreme emotion and that volume is EXTREMELY LOUD).
Calmly, I repeated, “He will need to turn the lights out for a little while. When he is done, and the problem is fixed, he will turn them back on.” We parents of 2E kids have weathered innumerable 2E storms and we know it’s best to remain calm throughout.
“WHAT!?! WHY?? HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE? WHAT IF HE CAN’T FIX THE PROBLEM?!”
At that point, the lights went out. The house was still. That moment was anything but peaceful.
“AHHHH! I DON’T LIKE THIS AT ALL!!”
I gave my frantic little worrier a big, huge bear hug. We parents of 2E kids know that hugs are a form of deep pressure. Deep pressure will often calm a 2E kid during a moment of crisis, if only an iota.
Next, I gave the kids Schizz’s flashlight. They love Schizz’s flashlight because they are only allowed to wield it when the lights go out. I suggested they carry on with the library books. I told them how I used to love to read by flashlight.
We moms of 2E kids know what will help to calm our individual child. Books have always helped Leo to calm down, even before he could read.
“I DON’T WANT TO READ A BOOK! I’M VERY, VERY WORRIED!”
“Leo. Do you want to take the flashlight and go upstairs to cuddle with Flap?”
We parents of 2E kids know not one, but several, emergency comfort strategies.
“NO! I WOULD BE MORE SCARED UPSTAIRS WITH FLAP! THIS HAS TURNED INTO A VERY BAD DAY!”
At this point, I handed Leo one of the battery-operated tea lights from our upcoming Fairy House project (I can’t wait to tell you guys about it- stay tuned!). He knew just what to do: tea light hide-and-seek. He grabbed the flashlight and took off for the playroom.
“NO ONE LOOK IN HERE! I GET TO HIDE IT FIRST! NO CHEATING!!”
We moms of 2E kids know that distraction is a very important strategy. Divert the 2E attention, emotion, and energy, if even for a moment.
“I’M READY! T! SEUSS! COME IN HERE AND FIND IT!”
The kids successfully and happily played tea light hide-and-seek for ten minutes or so, until Seuss took the flashlight and held it under his chin, illuminating his face, and then morphed into Jacob Marley (did I mention that I had to take Jacob Marley to mass with me on Sunday, folks? Sigh.) Well, we moms of 2E kids know that a full-of-Imaginational-OE little brother pretending to be Jacob Marley and other ghosts is not calming.
“STOP DOING THAT, SEUSS!! IT’S NOT FUNNY!!”
“I’m a spoooooooky Christmas ghooooost! I will haunt your attic!”
“MOM!!!!! SEUSS IS HAUNTING ME! MAKE HIM STOP!!”
At this point, Seuss erupted into vicious giggles while Leo started doing the frantic pacing and the weird, dramatic breathing and sighing thing that he always does when he’s extremely worked up.
“Leo, can you please calm down?”
“NO! I CANNOT BE CALM WHEN THE LIGHTS ARE OUT! THIS IS SCARY. THIS IS THE WORST NIGHT EVER. THE GUY HAS BEEN OUT THERE A LONG, LONG, LOOOOONG TIME! WHAT IS TAKING SO LONG?!”
At this point, there was a momentary pause while Jacob Marley bounced through the room shouting, “Spooooky! Spooooooky!!”
“HOW MUCH LONGER WILL THE GUY BE? CAN YOU CALL OUT TO HIM? CAN YOU SAY, ‘HEY! SIR! DO YOU HAVE AN ESTIMATE?!'”
“No, Leo. He has not been out there very long. When he’s done, he will turn the lights back on.”
“WHAT IF HE NEVER TURNS THEM BACK ON?!?”
With this, I handed Leo a book, a library book that he had yet to see. I told him he’d fill my bucket if he could read just this one book to T and Seuss while I brought some laundry up the stairs. Leo cannot resist a book he hasn’t read. I’m not kidding. Last year, in Kindergarten, his teacher would make comments that Leo would read any new books first, before playing with children during free choice time. I asked her, “Well, does he play with the other kids afterward?” and she replied, “Well, yes. It’s just that he reads the new books first.” Her words were no surprise to me, folks. And you know what? I bet I did the same thing in Kindergarten.
Leo took the book and read to T and Seuss, all snuggled up together on our couch. They read a small stack of library books by flashlight before the power was restored. It was very sweet, and it was actually calm. It had only taken Leo about forty-five minutes to calm down. We’ve come a long way, baby!
When the lights were finally back on, and my little poppies had resumed their kids-only snuggle party with library books, I brewed a cup of tea and feasted on the GHF Blog Hop. As I read, I recognized my family in all of the posts. I saw Leo, again and again. And I realized, once again, that parenting a PG, 2E, and full of OE kiddo had become lighter and more manageable. Yes, we might still have moments in our day that require more patience than days with the average 6-year-old may require, but it’s our normal and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Wondering if your child is gifted/2e?
Wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now.
Cait co-hosts The Homeschool Sisters Podcast and is co-founder of Raising Poppies, a community for parents of gifted and twice-exceptional children. Cait is also founder of the Family Book Club at My Little Poppies, a fantastic community of book-loving parents and the Gameschool Community at My Little Poppies, a vibrant community of gameschoolers.
Cait is a contributing writer for Simple Homeschool. Her work has also appeared on The Huffington Post, The Mighty, Scary Mommy, GeekMom, and many others. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram
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