2e Tuesday: What if you’re a grownup?

This is only slightly about twice-exceptionalities and mostly a book review, but given that I’m starting to believe that “vanilla gifted” doesn’t really exist, I’m doing it anyway. Feeling contrary like that today.

On the recommendation of Lisa from Deep Waters Coaching, I picked up Gifted Grownups: The mixed blessings of extraordinary potential by Marylou Kelly Streznewski. And I’m going to be upfront here: this is going to be a toughie to write, and not just because I have a four year old bouncing a stuffed duck on me as I type.

I’ve been digging into this book for several weeks now, and only because it’s due back at the library today was I able to finally finish it last night. That’s nothing against the book, it’s very well written, and everything against me and my schedule/mindset/choices. I’m having a hard time completing thoughts lately, not to mention books. Unlike many of the gifted books I have read in recent months, this one does not focus on children or on the educational system or on parenting gifted kids. This book is simply about gifted adults. I found it fascinating in that it helped me see down the road a bit in raising my sons, showcasing some of the roadblocks that may be ahead, through the anecdotal interviews of gifted adults looking backward at their lives.

I’m having a hard time describing the book, mainly because I’m still processing it, and because I have a four year old bouncing a stuffed duck on me as I type. I found this to be a fascinating read, and not just because I’m raising (very likely) gifted sons. I saw my husband in many, many of the descriptions in this book. I know he struggled with anxiety and social crap growing up, and I strongly believe it was because he’s highly gifted, grew up in rural Iowa in the 70s/80s, and the support he needed just wasn’t available. He swallowed down, in my opinion, a lot of crap (now would probably be part of a 2e dx) and became what the book calls a “striver.” Strivers are described as “high-testing teacher-pleasers,” that they take endless pains to do things right, and at the behest of authority will meet almost superhuman requirements. Dingdingding! Introducing my husband! He works tremendously hard and does not know how NOT to. It has made him very successful in his field, but has also made him very stressed and difficult to be around sometimes…which is not a lot of fun when he works from home.

So, I see my husband in this book, but what about me? Giftedness is very likely hereditary, and at least one of my sons would be considered gifted…what about me? And this is where I get all uncomfortable and squirmy. I have no idea if I would be called gifted. None. I was in pull-out supplemental classes in 4th and 5th grade (we studied advertising one year and law the next…how many fifth graders learn to write a case study?), advanced classes in middle school, and a few advanced classes (mostly English)  in high school. I had the unfortunate luck to have a craptastic high school counselor who told me, as an incoming freshman, that my math scores just weren’t high enough for advanced math classes and therefore I shouldn’t be in advanced science classes (my love) either. I still hear the reverberating kaboom from that meeting. So I excelled in music, where I was given support and positive feedback. But does that mean I’m gifted? It’s not difficult to recognize others as gifted, but seeing it in one’s self is. And at this point in my life, would it even matter? I think having a gifted designation for a child makes sense, because it helps get services from the schools. But a gifted designation for an adult? Why? Other than “oh! that makes sense now!”…why? Gifted Grownups also talks about parenting as a gifted adult and how balancing family and one’s self can be challenging. No kidding. I do often wonder about “the road not taken” because I’m sure I hide and have hidden behind my family responsibilities. Oh, can’t do that, wouldn’t be able to balance it with the family. Oh, shouldn’t do that, it would interfere with my family. I feel like I even turned down opportunities before I had children, because I knew that I wouldn’t be able to balance it once they arrived and then why even start. Yeah, I’m a real piece of work. No wonder I feel like I’m in a mid-life crisis.

And now I’m rambling, the duck is driving me insane, and we have things to go do. Get the book. Read the book. I’d love to hear your opinions on it.

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More creepier than hell stuff I find in my Sunday coupons

I thought the creepy monkeys were pretty bad. Then I came across this delightful little collectible.

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And all I can think is, people buy this shit? Just wait til I start posting the muu-muu of the week or the super-duper-uber ain’t goin’ nowhere bra! Amazing what’s in my coupons every week.

Dark Karma

You know, it’s almost getting comical. Things just keep getting more screwed up here. I went back through my recent posts to see how much whining I’ve been doing, and I’m sad to say, quite a bit. There’s not a lot of laughing at chaos lately. There’s been a lot of railing at the heavens and wondering which unheard of diety I pissed off. Illness, general societal malaise, winter blahs, sunburn, and snow days. The last several weeks have been just wonderful (choking on the sarcasm here?).

I have to keep reminding myself that in the grand scheme of things we’re in good shape. We’re happy (usually), healthy (for the most part) and have a roof overhead. But it’s the little things that are getting to me. Nothing earth-shattering, merely soul-bruising. Things like finding out we owe an unholy amount in federal taxes this year, after years of getting a refund. A refund that really would have come in handy this year to pay off the medical bills from A’s first endoscopy last fall. Things like losing my cell phone on Friday night because I had an Alzheimer’s moment and left it in the movie theater bathroom. Luckily I have a tenacious husband who went back Saturday morning and found it, saving me the time and trouble of replacing it…and having to put off my iPhone lust even longer. Things like getting a terse letter in the mail today, telling me that my services are not needed for the Colorado Mahlerfest this year. Oh, and thanks for your years of service. I don’t know whose shoe I pissed in, but when you need six flutes for the symphony and they let an experienced flutist go, someone is ticked. That one really hurts; it’s the only gig I play all year and feeds my soul for the other 11 1/2 months. I suspect that rehearsal last year hurt me.

I just feel like things have been happening at me lately, one after another after another. Not huge things, just little splinter-under-the-fingernail things. Painful but not debilitating. Please tell me I’m not alone in this! I strongly suspect I’m having a pretty hefty mid-life crisis, especially after getting that letter today. What the fuck am I supposed to be doing with this life of mine? I’m apparently doing something wrong, my karma is all screwed up. Nothing is going right lately. It truly feels like no matter what I do, it’s the wrong thing or it turns out wrong or it just doesn’t work out. The hell? I just can’t do anything right lately! It’s enough to drive a woman to drink! …too late… I’ve been trying to look on the bright side, but sometimes the bright side is just some dude mooning you with his big, fat, hairy ass. Even the thought of trying to improve something brings to mind the image of the mooning. Ain’t gonna work, Jen, don’t bother…and hey, check this out!

Aren’t y’all so happy I shared that mental image?

By the way, just so you know, it’s not marshmallow season. Just in case you were wondering. The boys wanted hot chocolate after playing outside and were disappointed that there were no marshmallows. J deduced that it just wasn’t marshmallow season. Nope, the marshmallow bushes just aren’t producing this time of year.

I have no plans to get out of this slump. None. And that’s a little frightening. Usually I have some sort of inkling of what to do, but this is an unusual situation. I’ve never been this rudderless. Ever. And I’m scared to death that I’m wasting my life.

I just know that marshmallows are now on my shopping list.

Flashback Friday: Oops!

Now for something completely different!

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I’ve had more than my share of “oopsies!” in my life, but I can’t find pictures for most of them. When I slid down the front stairs on the way to a piano lesson and broke my elbow/bruised my tailbone? No picture. When I got my roller skate wheels locked together and oh-so-gracefully flew forward, bending my left hand back to my wrist and spraining it in the process? No picture. When I walked across the floor with my foot asleep to the hip (during a Chicago blizzard, no less) and got the foot caught under me and snapped all the ligaments? No picture.

Just call me Grace.

But I do have a picture of my all-time ever-so-graceful oops, taken when I was four. Hard to top this one.

disney-lost-toothLovely, no? This is a cautionary tale of what not to do. Do not run to the van with your arms inside your shirt. Do not do this at Disney World. Do not fall smack on your face and knock out your front tooth and give yourself a fat lip. Highly recommended that you do not do this.

Or your sons will remind you of it every time you mention the upcoming trip to the World.

Oops!

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For more Flashback Friday: Oops! stories, visit My Tiny Kingdom.

A tenuous hold on sanity

Caught national news lately? Happen to notice that Colorado got hit with a blizzard yesterday? Yup, Colorado’s Whiplash Weather. A lovely 79 degrees on Sunday, 15 inches of snow yesterday. I wish I was making this up. That much snow means only one thing: SNOW DAY!!!!! Kids out of school, stranded at home. We still haven’t shoveled the driveway; yesterday it was too cold and windy/pointless and we just haven’t gottten to it today. We=Tom and the boys. I have sons. I don’t shovel. The sun is out today, but guess what? SNOW DAY!!!!! Yup, a district that rarely calls snow days called two in a row. The last two days before spring break. Next week the boys are out of school, something I was not exactly looking forward to. Adding two surprise days to the front end…gah.

Am I the only mom on the planet who…no, bad phrasing. I envy the moms who want their kids out of school. The moms who enjoy having their kids around, who make muffins on snow days because it’s tradition. Who can’t wait for school to get out in the summer not because it means the homework wars are on hiatus for a few months, but because they like having their kids around. It makes me so sad to know that I’m not that mom. I love my sons so much, but they’re exhausting. Everything is an opportunity for argument or negotiation. Time spent together isn’t refreshing and fun, it’s nerve-wracking. The boys are best friends…and play and fight like it. I don’t get it. I wanted so much to be a mom, and now I just feel like hiding from my children most days. This afternoon I’m signing them up for summer camps at the Y. Not necessarily because I’m going to be working all summer, but because I can’t entertain them all summer. I’m not that good of a mom. And that makes me so sad.

I know this is a pity party, table for one, but it’s been a long few weeks. First I was sick, then J got sick/well/sick again, snow days, spring break…but these are thoughts that have been trickling through my brain for awhile. I’m tired of arguments, I’m tired of my sons embarrassing me (example: wanting to do an after-school activity then after I get involved as the head volunteer, having a lose-his-shit-apalooza out in the hall. Or wanting to take violin lessons, then getting to lessons and refusing to participate.), I’m tired of researching twice-exceptionalities and what to do next. I’m tired of feeding J every 20 minutes because he has the stomach the size of an acorn. I’m tired of being bounced off of, I’m tired of tripping over the dog, I’m tired of being “base” in indoor tag games. And then a friend mentioned that there are something like 30 days of actual school left. I may have thrown up a little in my mouth.

Enough. My hold on sanity is loosening, unraveling like a cheap shoelace. I need to wrap it tight, before summer gets here, or it’s going to be a longer than usual break. I miss looking forward to breaks and snow days, but nowadays, they just mean more stress and sadness for me. Pathetic.

Kinda like this post.

But I’ll be a FIT sheep

Blogging mamas rock. Last night I got together with a bunch of blogging mamas, courtesy of Mile High Mamas. There was much laughing and talking and drinking of wine and a good time was had by all. I won the mega door prize of a free super-duper-uber teeth whitening (woot!), and we all wondered if we were really going to get the snow the weather folks were swearing up and down and sideways we were going to get.

Heh. We got it alright.

It’s been snowing for less than six hours and I’d guesstimate we have at least a foot of snow in the backyard. And now it’s blowing; I can barely see the school thisclose behind my house. Yes, a snow day. Right before spring break, and four days after my sunburn. So far we’ve had only one instance of Lord of the Flies here in the house, and a seven year old who is convinced the DVD player hates him. Good times, good times. But I’ve made cookies in honor of the blizzard and I’m not freaking about anything today. Chances are we’ll have at least a late start day tomorrow, if not another snow day.

Back to the blogging mamas last night. Apparently many, many blogging mamas are doing the 30 Day Shred. Not just Cursing Mama, but EatPlayLove and The Casual Perfectionist as well. Even the Crazy Bloggin’ Canuck is going back to it. I have been swearing up and down and left and right and upside down that I wasn’t going to do the Shred because I, you know, like not being in pain. I like pain-free a lot. And what I’ve read has convinced me that I’m just happy as a pig in poop NOT doing the Shred. Because of the pain. And I’m a world-class wuss when it comes to exercise pain. And mashed potatoes are in better shape than I am. Then The Casual Perfectionist mentioned she has lost an inch off each thigh after one week.

And suddenly pain wasn’t quite an issue.

And I, desperate as I am to not be mashed potatoes anymore, am now a Shredhead Sheep. Le sigh… Just need to get the DVD, stock up on ibuprofin (melts snow!), and get to it. Tom even said he’d do it with me.

Just as soon as the blizzard ends.

Baaaaa….

shredhead_button

Payback’s a bitch

Familiar with the Karma Principal? Probably not, since it’s something I pretty much just made up. It’s also known as “what goes around comes around” and “God’ll get ya every time.” I call it the Karma Principal, sounds more official or some crap like that. I try to live my life by the Karma Principal. For the most part it works really well. But then there comes a time when there’s a glitch in the Karma Principal and things get all borked up.

I wasn’t sick for two years. No joke. I’m about to start week three of this Virus From Hell Attempting to Suck My Will to Live Please Sweet Baby Jesus I Want To Stop Coughing And I’m Sick of the Vague Nausea No I’m Not Pregnant. Never acknowledge that you don’t get sick. Apparently full-on burnout last spring and my attempt to bounce back from that isn’t considered sick in the Karma Principal.

We’ve had an extremely mild winter here. Mild as in, uh, was that winter or an extended fall? This culminated in the Oh How Delicious Sunday Was With The Record-Tying High Of 79 Degrees and My Antibiotic Sunburn That Still Frakking Hurts. We’re under a Winter Storm Warning from 6 am tomorrow til 6am Friday, with an expected foot of snow. Every time I turn on the news, more snow is expected. And this won’t be champagne powder, no no no, not in March. March Snow is heavy, wet, and a PITA to shovel. If A gets a snow day the day before Spring Break I will cry.

The Karma Principal is why I do not discuss a certain Chicago baseball team from the North Side, the one with the record that makes grown men cry. Last season people were talking about them. A lot. Talking about their record. Ooh, mistake. They borked it in three games. People? Shut up when the season officially starts next month. Look up scores in the paper, nod in recognition of the score, and go read Garfield.

So, in recognition of the Karma Principal, I’m ending this post. I really don’t want to get kicked in the teeth in some other areas of life. It’s bad enough to know that somewhere out there there is an orthodontist who is drawing up plans for a boat, knowing this is coming his way:

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