I often say that Leo is a 0-60 type of kid, and he always has been this way. He’s 0-60 with his emotions, his movements, his ideas, and his development. Many gifted learners reach developmental milestones extremely early. You read about children who sing entire songs at six months, children who walk at eight months, and who read fluently with comprehension at two years. Not our Leo. His development was often within normal limits, but at a quick-fire pace toward mastery. Leo can go from not doing something to mastery in minutes, or overnight. When he was younger, this used to floor me; I couldn’t wrap my brain around how it happened and I was often left feeling guilty. How can a mother not see signs of what is to come in her child? How could I not know that this child, with whom I spent all my days and many of my nights, was about to walk, to talk, to read? What was I missing?
|Schizz & Leo at THAT BBQ. He’s not walking.|
Early the next morning, while Leo was busy dumping books out of various book baskets, I sat on the couch with my much-needed cup of coffee and turned on the television to get the weather report. While sipping from my big mug, I vividly remember being aware of something moving under my line of vision. This something was short, and moving pretty quickly. There, before my bleary eyes, was Leo… and he was walking. Sure it looked a bit awkward, but he was walking. Mouth agape, I watched him walk across our entire family room before losing his balance and tumbling in a little heap. In amazement, I watched him quickly get himself back to standing and walk again. A friend showed up for a playdate a couple of hours later and exclaimed, “When did Leo start walking?!” to which I replied, somewhat sheepishly, “Um, right now?” He walked 80% of that entire day. This was the Tuesday after Memorial Day… less than 24 hours after I had said he wasn’t even on the map yet. He was running, and running well, by the weekend. We didn’t even have shoes for him to wear outside yet. Zero to sixty.
|Less than 24 hours later… he walks.|
It was around this time that Leo said his first words (aside from Mama and Dada), and this was within normal limits. Within a matter of weeks, however, his vocabulary exploded and he began linking two words together. And then three words. Leo was diagnosed with reflux and was failure to thrive for his first 2.5 years of life, so he was very small. When he was a tiny little toddler, we’d be out together in Target or the supermarket and he’d be blabbering on a blue streak about this and that, peppering me with questions as he did all day long (and continues to do now, years later). I often felt somewhat self-conscious in public, as his running commentary never failed to elicit remarks from complete strangers who were amazed by the questions and vocabulary pouring forth from this tiny human. I have pages and pages of quotes from before he turned two: Mumma, do scarecrows scare away peacocks also?; Do werewolves poop like us, Mumma?; Mumma, I’m standin’ under the tick tack toe (read: mistletoe) so you need to come smooch me; Mumma, I have an important question for you: What do frogs do when they get mad at you?; Why is T droolin’ like a komodo dragon?; Mumma do you know that it sometimes feels good to whine?; Mumma, could you wipe T’s boogie holes?… Zero to sixty.
A week after Leo turned three, I was on the couch with the stomach virus. Suddenly, his little face appeared in mine and he said matter-of-factly, “Mumma, I am not going to wear diapers anymore.” In all honesty, these words made me grimace. This was not a good day. Still, I knew I was supposed to follow his lead. And so I did. He trained for day and night that very day. We didn’t have underwear for him yet, or a potty. Discounting times when he peed a drop or two in his undies as he frantically pulled them down in front of the toilet (he continues, to this day, to be too busy to pee until the very last second), he has never had a true accident. Zero to sixty.
Wondering if your child is gifted/2e?