Friday, May 1, 2015

Twice Exceptional Hatters

I've written before about what having a twice-exceptional child looks like here in our Mooselandia home. Of course, by now that snapshot is two years old, and as with everything else, changed with time, experience, and the work and care of people we can trust. Let me bring you up to speed.  If you've never heard the term "2E" before, it means "twice exceptional." This is commonly a child who is gifted with some form of learning disability - ADHD, SPD, ASD, really anything. These kids are often overlooked in the school system, as either their increased ability masks their disability, or the school's penchant for treating the disability first means the ability is never recognized. But, being homeschoolers means that I get to see the full spectrum of my child - his good moments, his bad ones, and what is more "normal" for him than not.

I've been so excited recently, our good days are outnumbering our bad ones. Until today, it had been over a month since the last time Mad Natter went to bed and I called it what Skeeve and I like to affectionately refer to as A Boozeahol Night.

Yesterday started out poorly. Mad Natter did not sleep well the night before, which means he was in our bed and flopping around at 3am. When faced with the choice between a wailing child and a sleeping one, I went with the only solution that sounds sane at 3am - the sleeping one. So he slept beside me. When he woke up, he was obviously having a hard morning. I asked him to please use the bathroom, then come back to play a game on his Innotab (he's recently found it again and wants to use it). He did... and then leaned over and blew a kazoo-horn in my ear as hard as he could. Then there was the jumping on the bed, the punching, kicking, and grunting at invisible enemies, dashing up and down the hall, jumping on me... and this was all within ten minutes of his using the washroom. Hoo-boy, doozy of a day incoming.  But, we went downstairs, I got my hearing back, we got our medicines taken... and the rest of the day went well. A little more squirrelly than normal, but well. Crisis averted. Last night, he had a bad dream. Yes, I know. I need to kick him out of my room. He's six. He's not going to want to cuddle much longer, so I really don't care. He slept in his space in the big bedroom, but he slept. And he slept long. Finally. This morning, he woke smiling, and snuggled, and went to use the bathroom, then came back under the covers and said "Mama, after our snuggle, can we go downstairs?" So much better than yesterday, crisis averted for sure!

Never say "for sure."

We went downstairs, got our morning underway, did extra science experiments (which absolutely made his day), and then came up to math. It was Mixed Review Day. I've also mentioned what review is like here. He abjectly hates review. It doesn't matter what we're reviewing, he hates it. Today, we were reviewing addition with carrying. Starting with 27+9+35+25= it took half an hour for that one problem.  Why? First there was fifteen minutes of fussing and fighting about whether or not he needed to review, and why wouldn't I just believe him that he knew it without doing a single bit of addition? Then bathroom break. Then trampoline. Then cuddles. Then working together. Then, finally, agreeing to do the one problem. I stepped away to let him work.  He gave me back 16+10+20+30+20, and didn't understand why that wasn't correct. Another ten minutes spent in explaining that I do not want him to get the answers wrong, but he needed to give me an answer, and not another problem before the light clicked and he said "Oh. 96 then." and that was it. Mama wound tighter than a lute string, Mad Natter irritated that I'd make him show me he retained addition with carrying. At least silent reading was up next.

Mercifully, a break. For both of us, from each other. He sat and read his Star Wars LEGO Encyclopedia, I read some articles on anxiety. We both calmed down. Mad Natter finished, went and jumped on his trampoline some more, we did grammar together, and he listened to history - it was the Greeks versus the Persians at Thermopylae, he loved it. And then... the rest of the day was calm. He helped me cut fruit for lunch, he helped me get things together for dinner, he played and built with LEGO and watched a Let's Play of Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch.

Most kids, I assume, have ups and downs. What's unusual about 2E kids is that those tend to be just as extreme as everything else they do. In our house, it means remembering first and foremost that these extremes are not his fault. His body and mind are seeking out stimulation. If he doesn't get that stimulation constructively, he will find other ways to get it - and those kinds of days usually end in boozeahol nights.

This post has been brought to you as a part of the Hoagies' Gifted Blog Hop on 2E Kids! Please feel free to check around the Hop for more perspectives, or browse around here - our life is a twice-exceptional circus!