“My Story…” Monday: A – Keeping Up

(You can catch up on A’s story right here: The Pregnancy, The Birth, The Infancy, The Quiet Toddler, Advocating, What He COULD Do, Just A Boy, The (Hard) Next Step, Making a Friend, The Autism DiagnosisHe Talks, Hyperlexia, Your Baby Can Read, Another Evaluation, A New Kind of Special Need, Linear Algebra, The Triennial, The IQ Results, Bye, Bye Autism Diagnosis, Dr. C’s Plan, Second Grade Math, Is it too easy?, My Gentle Giant , Third Grade Math, The Workload)


I remember sitting at A’s triennial meeting about eleven months ago now and listening to Dr. C. go on about how amazing and remarkable and rare our son’s “type” of giftedness is.  At the time, I had so very much on my mind that I didn’t really dwell on that too much.  It was enough that we knew our child would likely never learn in a “typical” fashion.  We felt blessed to have a group of professionals who were aware of this and who were willing to create programming to fit the child rather than trying to make the child fit the program.


Still, even though I didn’t focus too very much on all those details at the time, both my husband and I vividly recall Dr. C. telling us, her smile ever-intact, that within a few years A. would start calculating the distances between constellations or developing a way to measure spiral galaxies or creating a new formula or some such thing.  “He’s going to move beyond a level that you can easily help.”

Now.  Here’s the thing.  I knew, of course, that our son’s math and reading skills were far beyond grade level.  I certainly realized that he was doing really atypical things.  But, really, I could definitely keep up with him!  Heck, let’s face it– for a couple years there, we were the ones teaching him these things when he got curious.   On top of that, my husband and I both went through the gifted programs in our own respective schools as children.  (They differed greatly from one another, but they were both designed for the “top dogs”, if you will.)  My whole point is– Literature major I may have been, but it was my math SAT score that was top-notch.  I wasn’t really worried about keeping up with A.  I mean, I handled AP Calc, right?


Hubby and I giggled to hear this prediction about our not-yet six-year-old.  We left the meeting with so much to think about, but we would bring that moment up every now and again for, well, comic relief, mainly.  Don’t get me wrong– I truly do panic a little bit when I try to imagine helping A. with his high school homework.  I’m really not quite sure that I’m up to that challenge.  I’m almost definitely not, to be honest, but I figure we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.  But the idea of my little guy coming up with something I couldn’t manage while still in grade school seemed kind of ridiculous.


And I can definitely still help A.   I’ve yet to encounter a word or problem with which I couldn’t be of assistance.  Phew. ;)




I don’t even know how it started.  I really don’t.  But we have some lively, busy dinner conversations in our home.  Somehow, someway, we got on the topic of adding three digit numbers together.  And somehow that progressed into a discussion about adding THREE three-digit numbers together.


There are three people in my family who can do that type of problem– my husband, me, and six-year-old A.  So, there we were.  Tossing out numbers– tough ones, of course!  Lots of carrying involved.  We could all solve them.  And guess what?  I’m still faster than the first grader…


On paper.


On paper, I’m lightning fast at those sums.  But… in my head?  Oh my friends, it HURTS my head to add three three-digit numbers with carrying together in my head.  Yes, I can do it.  But, truly– it’s hard for me.  I really, really have to think.  Without paper, my six year old is faster than I.  He’s faster than my husband, too.  On paper, it takes him so much longer to form his numbers and line them up that he can’t match me.  But he can hold all those figures in his busy little brain with no difficulty whatsoever.


I’m really not sure how he does it, to be honest.  He has an amazing ability to solve bits and parts of equations and hold on to them while working out other details and then somehow assimilating them back together.  He’ll often start talking out a problem and I’ll think he’s totally off-track, only to watch him arrive at the correct solution.  There are times I’d like to be able to climb in his head and see what’s ticking in there!


So… I can already see that, soon enough, I’m going to be really working just to keep up.  As someone who was really kind of nerdy geek in school, this is somewhat shocking to me.  But it’s all good.  We’ll all find our ways together.


And at least I can be confident that I’m raising a son who will actually be able to balance his checkbook one day. ;)


(p.s. Close to two feet of snow fell over our area of Connecticut on October 29th.  There was much devastation what-with all the leaves still on the trees.  Many days and dollars later, we are still without power at our home.  We are safe and warm at my parents’, but it’s been a wild week, to be sure.  Posting has been– and may continue to be– somewhat sporadic.  I ask that you please bear with me as I scramble to catch up on comments and all.  Thank you for your grace!)
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8 comments to “My Story…” Monday: A – Keeping Up

  • Mary

    Oh, I wish we lived closer! My son would love to talk to yours! Perhaps together they can make some great mathematical discoveries!

    I completely relate to thinking he’s off track, only to find him getting the right answer. This is one way I explain “bright” vs “gifted”. Bright kids figure out problems quickly, but in the manner they were taught. Gifted kids teach themselves, use a number of (strange) ways to find the answer, AND figure the problems out quickly. Their thinking is qualitatively different.

    I’m glad you are well – I was concerned by the lack of posts and hope it was only the loss of power and nothing more serious. Stay warm!

    • That’s a wonderful way to explain the difference, Mary– and so true. While I was classified as “gifted” (after a teacher rec and IQ test), I think, realistically, I’m more in that bright camp. ;) A? Well, he’s a whole different animal. It’d be amazing to see what our sons would come up with together!

  • Pre-children I could do a lot more in my head, but now I can barely add 2+2 without paper…ok that’s an exaggeration, but you know what I mean.
    I’m glad to hear you’re warm at your parents’ house.

  • Mary’s right. That’s the difference between bright and gifted. I’d love to climb in his brain and watch, too. Bet’cha he could teach us all a much more efficient way to do math problems!

    • You know… that’s a great thought. Because I don’t know if he COULD teach us. I don’t even know if he could explain it, to be honest. Sometimes I think it’s all very instinctive. Definitely fascinating, though!

  • Wow! So cool! I can’t add well in my head at all. That must be something else to see A doing all that math!

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