Tuesday, January 30, 2007

"Will I be able to see ...

inside the coffin when I'm dead?" asked Ian after waking up from a terrible nightmare yesterday morning (in the wee hours). This is just type of question we are bombarded with on a daily basis as the parents of a child with special needs. And I do mean special needs. I have been reading an awesome book on the advocacy of gifted children, and it has been just the resource I have been looking for and needing in regards to helping Ian.

People have come to think that "Special Needs" kids are those with learning disabilities, behavioral disabilities, physical disabilities. But there is another whole category of "Special Needs" kids that are being overlooked-
the gifted children.

How ironic it is to me that 2% of population (children traditionally known as special needs children-whether it be physically, emotionally, behaviorially or some combination of) have governmental mandates that see to it that they not be "left behind"-having resources like individualized instruction and paraprofessionals working daily with them on a one-on-one basis to meet their needs. And yet gifted children are left to sit much of their days reviewing topics they have mastered months or even years before. Being drilled on the mundane and not allowed to test out and move on to topics that stimulate their interests-that stimulate their minds.

Please, don't get me wrong-I completely sympathize (and empathize) for those parents of the traditional special needs child. It's not that I don't believe these children don't deserve a paraprofessional or one-on-one training and teaching, or every opportunity to thrive in this world of ours. But in a country where we pride ourselves on giving every one the chance of a free life and an American Dream-why should the gifted child not have the same opportunity? The gifted children are a population of individuals -that aren't having their "special needs" met. Who aren't being challenged in their current school settings. Who are not being stimulated in their current classrooms. Who may be learning topics at twice the age of their peers. Who have the mental maturity of years beyond their chronological ages and yet dwell in bodies of their chronological ages.

Why is it that it is OK for these children to be left behind? Is it because of their giftedness that we feel "If they are so smart they can figure it out on their own?" These are the children who are oftentimes raising the scores on the standardized tests. These are the children who have oftentimes grown to be awesome contributors to this world. These are the children who have the greatest POTENTIAL to be awesome contributors to life in this world-in terms of their inventions, their discoveries, their creations. However, POTENTIAL, it just that. If a gifted child isn't able to utilize and express his God-given abilities and talents-what's to happen to these kids? While some go on to be great inventors, CEO's, Nobel Prize Award winners, some of these gifted individuals drop out of college where they had full ride academic scholarships only to end up working their way up to manangement at the local superstore. Or worse yet, become so depressed an isolated among us that they feel the need to end their own lives or attempt a Columbine like situation. How tragic it is for these gifted kids who had so much potential-but never had the opportunity to shine with their gifts-because it was stifled in their early academic years by an inappropriate academic environment.

AGAIN,I ASK,WHY ARE THESE CHILDREN BEING LEFT BEHIND??? It's simply NOT OK to just accept that this is just the way it's going to be. It's not OK for any child to be discriminated against for any reason-INCLUDING their intellectual level.
For those of you who know me-I am a passionate person. And yesterday, when my little guy was trembling in the night-wrought with anguish as his little 8 year-old self was grappling with the acknowledgement and realization that he WILL die. IT was INEVITABLE. It was heart wrenching to both Mick and to myself. Trying to console a little soul whose brain works well beyond his chronological years and whose emotional maturity varies with each given situation. Why should he have to be wrestling with these heavy (even to adults) concerns?


This was another light bulb event for Mick and me that we are indeed parents to a special needs child. You can't just answer Ian's with simple answers. For gifted children (and for Ian), it just doesn't cut it. It's one question after another filled with a matrix of complicated analyses and more questions.

For Mick and me, we have always striven to be patient, striven to be supportive, striven to be understanding. The realization of it is-as frustrating as it is for us to answer all of the questions to Ian's satisfaction-it has to be even more frustrating for him to be thinking of all of these questions that are fleeting through his mind. But,we feel we need to give him every opportunity to express his ideas and concerns because he's most certainly not getting the opportunity in his traditional classroom. WE are, truly grateful that he gets at least one day out of his week where he is stimulated(in his ALERT class)And mind you, we do not feel this is the fault of his teacher (who is a delight and seems truly concerned for Ian's well-being)-we do not feel it is the fault of the principal (who is doing a fantastic job dealing with many big issues including a school population that is currently about 137 students above capacity). overhauled. I respectfully believe the "No Child Left Behind" had at it's core ideology-great intentions-but in it's implementation and in it's reality, it is failing desperately in the ability to meet the needs of the gifted. To meet the needs of every child. Failing to see that no child is being "left behind."

There's so much more I could write now-but I'm truly drained at this point and need to take a break. This won't be the last you hear about this, I just needed to vent. To reflect. To regroup. To devise a feasible, practical, pragmatic way to see to it that the needs of these gifted children are met. And to accomplish this before it is too late. Not just for Ian but for all of the others out there.

One other thing I'd like to change. The stigma surrounded the label "gifted" Not to change it solely for the child. But for the parents of these children. At times it can be a lonely place to be. Talking about the gifted to other parents who haven't had the privilege,the responsibility, the frustration that accompanies taking care of these kids-we POGO's (parents of Gifted Offspring) are often looked at as being braggart or audacious. Any one who takes the time to listen-will know that we "POGOS" are just wanting the same for our children as other parents want for theirs. To raise our children in environments where they feel safe, where they feel connected, where they feel welcomed, where they can explore their world, question their world and learn about their world without being stifled, without being under stimulated, without being LEFT BEHIND.

As I said above,I'm sure this won't be the last time I reflect on this topic-but I'm just tired of not being able to talk about it. Tired of worrying about what others will think. Thinking I'm some arrogant mom who thinks her kid is all that. For those of you that truly, I mean truly know me-know that is not what all of this ranting is about. It's about a boy. A boy that desperately wants to be challenged. That wants to learn. To explore. To discover. To invent. To let his ideas be known. To let his voice be heard.

'Nuf said!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

"Which kind of...

...CARABAN are you going on Mommy?" is what Ethan asked today after we were discussing an upcoming cruise. To which I replied, " A Western Carribean Ethan." That boy! :)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

the boy is growing up

...this picture is very telling to me of just how quickly he's growing up. Into hats... and posing for pics like a "Cool Dude" would...pretending not to be the slightest bit interesting in girls (although I know the wiser but hope the hormones don't kick in for many years yet-I'm just not, I repeat NOT ready!)and yet, he still comes up to me at night and wraps his arms around me as I hand wash a few pots and pans and says, "I love you Momma." and then simply runs off to bed. Aw...melt a momma's heart.

"I've got sprinkles...

on my feet momma!"
Really?" I said, "How do you mean?"
"Well, um. I was sitting too long while I was painting, and I got sprinkles on my feet and now I am trying to stomp them away."
"ohhhhhh.I see. Because your feet fell asleep from sitting on them?"
Uh-huh. Yep! That's it!"
Gotta love the kid. The perspective. Life lived through the eyes and the mind of a child.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Look who turned 1

Benjamin hit hte big Numero Uno last week and this pic is from his BD party. Hard to believe the (little) Big Guy is one! Time sure flies. The other pic is of my beloved, tolerant cat, Hugsley, who humored me with this shot!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Catastrophic Ice Storm

hi all. I'm gonna be quick to post as last time i attempted to update everyone on our current weaterh situation-we lost power again. The longest we have been without is about 30+ hours. We have been getting by nicely thanks in great part to two ventless fireplaces that we have that are about 99% efficient. When the power has been out we grill outside on the deck. We still have hot, running water and are counting our blessings that we have had power for the length of time that we have had. We have lost several large branches off of our large trees at the edge of our property and our river birch near house are bent over and nearly touching the ground. We have been VERY fortunate but with temperatures dropping we still worry about freezing pipes and such. I'll try and post some pics-before and afters. We are currently(and have been for about one day now) the only street with electricity as far as we can see 360 degrees. Our six houses on our street were without while everyone else had power-so it's a strange turn of events and even more strange to look out and see total blackness except for our street. Better get to the pics...ok...I'll have to try again later-site is encountering problems with posting the pics-imagine that? Hmmm..... :)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The BCS CHOMPionship

Way to GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO GATORS!!! The game. How exciting. Awesome. Full of what I affectionately call "Rudy" moments. I always love it when the underdog wins.
Now, tonight...more Gators action...this time it's the hoops. Taking on my parents' and my aunt's (and several friends) alma mater. No offense to y'all, but ib a cheerin' for my Gators! Da.dah.da.dah.da...GO...........................................GATORS!!!!!!!(For those of you who couldn't tell, I was writing out the Gator cheer chant. :)CHOMP.CHOMP.CHOMP. I'm looking forward to a little "PORK" dinner tonight! ;) BIG SMILE here.
I would post a pic but, I don't want to get in trouble from the professional photographer who took the pictures of the great event!

Sunday, January 07, 2007


..the BEBZ requested that they go outside to ride their bikes and hit the baseball-and who am I as a mother to deny them that childhood liberty?Wish I could just drop all of my responsibilities and just hang...oh, I guess I did since I obviously was outside taking these pictures!LOL. Seriously though, I went right back in to continue tackling the laundry and paring down my scrapbooking stash. The last pic is of my cousin Holly and Ben. See any similarities? BTW, not sure why I am all of a sudden get my vertical pics laying on their side-they are not in my Adobe PS album that way. Maybe it's my new template settings, huh? NTS: have to check into that.

Got back from church and have been continuing to tackle the SB section of our "Everybody" Room. Still need to clean out the fridge and get the garbage out before small group tonight. Back to the routine tomorrow-but...the Gators are playing so it will be a fun evening tomorrow (that is IF they upset THE Ohio State University! Goooooooooo-GATORS!!!!!!:)
BTW-just look at that smirk on the Boomeister! What an imp-(Doesn't it just scream "Full of Mischief?") The other pictures I took before capturing the one above, he was in full pseudo-pout form! One things for sure-you'll always get some kinda picture with him-just not the studio type!:)

Friday, January 05, 2007


Wow...the week is flying by. I had meant to post on NY's Day but was busy taking down the Christmas tree and cleaning house-including the much neglected laundry basket! BTW, my 13 yo Kenmore finally quit heating the clothes. The tumbler still worked but not the heating element-so rather that waste time and money for the mimimun$100-"let's take a look at it to see what's wrong" and then pay more to MAYBE get it fixed-Mick and I lugged the boys out to Sears for a new one. Nothing with all of the bells and whistles but similar to the one we had (after all 13 years with no maintenance is a pretty good record, don't ya think?) While we were there we got Mick an early Father's Day present-a new stainless steel grill. They had a great closeout deal going on-complete with assemby (gotta LOVE that!). So, guess who'll be a grillin' out this weekend! ;)

New Years Eve was a nice, quasi-quiet evening at home with the BEBZ and Holly and Mark and baby Ben (he's nearly a year old now-yikes!) We played a new Christmas game called Rumis-that all of us really enjoy playing as well as a few rounds of hearts. HM and ben left around 2AM and made the long trek home (approx. 1/4 mile). So nice to not have to worry about the trip home-ya know?

Tues. brought with it a return to semi-normalcy. Ben was here and had a blast watching the boyz dance to the new Blue Man Group keyboard. He kept screeching with glee as you can tell by the pictures above! The boyz would collapse at the end of the music in a slump of exhaustion-to which Ben enjoyed even more. I'm so happy I caught it all on film. I told Holly it really made me aware of how life would be with three-REALLY LOUD AND BOISTEROUS! Seriously though, I sat back on my heels, camera in hand and thought to myself-I truly hope these boys get to grow up together-and if they do what a blessing that will be-and if they don't let me just cherish and enjoy the moment.

Well....ahem...I just tried several times to post the pics-and it's not a workin'. I'll try again later.