Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Makin' It Work!

In the course of talking about gifted education, we often criticize pull-out programs, because you know, gifted children aren't only gifted one hour per day, or one day per week. But the thing that gets less attention is a continuation of that same fact – gifted people aren't only gifted when they're children, and they aren't only gifted when they're in an academic setting.  So, how do three gifted people with varying overexcitabilities, needs, and degrees of introversion manage to live in a house together – without killing each other?

As is the case with probably literally everything else to do with gifted people, this gets complex. Our lives are often like a dance. Mad Natter needs much more social engagement than Skeeve or I do. Not because “others” say so, but because he's just social that way. I'm the midline. The translator. I manage to bridge the gap – Mad Natter, who needs ALL THE PEOPLE, ALL THE TIME, and Skeeve, who needs OMG GO AWAY, I'M INTROVERTING. In this aspect, I'm the lynchpin on which the entire system rests. Skeeve cannot ensure Mad Natter gets out. It's taxing, it's overwhelming, it's detrimental. So this is the part I play. I step in, and I manage my own introversion by sitting up in bleachers, or at the back of the room, or out in the car. Mad Natter gets out, I get out some, and, Skeeve gets to hang back and recharge.

At the same time, Skeeve is exceptionally laid back. On the intensity-meter, he rates somewhere in the -10 area. Mad Natter, however... is both a different story, and his mother's child. We both rate somewhere between “drama llama parade” and “fireball just exploded in the living room.” This is where Skeeve fits in. He is able to see when tensions start running high, and he can interject. He's able to diffuse situations that could easily end in shouting matches as Mad Natter and I both come to the end of the day, our patience is frazzled, and we're tired, and...  Prone to explosion.

While Skeeve and I both suffer more at the end of Mad Natter's day, it seems to work out for us. We're compatible in exactly the right ways. Mad Natter reaches the end of the day and wants someone to watch his every move, watch his videos, watch this face, watch this-watch this-watch this. None of us handle this terribly well, and it's one of the most trying times of the day. It can end in shouting from all parties, but Skeeve and I are making an active effort to try to explain to Mad Natter that we are not merely an audience, but are independent people who sometimes like to do things that don't involve staring at him. Mostly this is well-received, but again, as it's at the end of the day, the discussion tends to happen approximately every five minutes.  We all do the best we can to keep ourselves on the level, but make no mistake, being gifted factors into every aspect of our lives. Certainly into our thinking and processing, but into our relationships as well. While we wouldn't trade ourselves for the world, it's not a particularly easy row to hoe.

This post has been part of the Hoagies' Gifted Education Blog Hop on Gifted Relationships.  Please hop along to see what others have to say!