I recently came across a Facebook group called Raising Poppies, which is for parents of gifted and 2E kids. I joined and dove into a world where people are talking about which Mozart song is their toddler's favorite, whose kid got a microscope for Christmas, and whose kids spent the weekend playing Minecraft. All of the kids are brilliant and intense and the parents laugh and applaud and sympathize. Weird kids are normal there, and there's no such thing as offbeat, just syncopated. It's intoxicating. I want to spend all day reading it. If it was a place, I would want to live there.
But it's not real.
In T-minus seven days winter break will be over and I'll be sending my kids back to school, where nobody is charmed by their intelligence and willing to overlook their flaws. And while it's fun to dip into a community where people treat me like my kids are perpetually awesome, but it's not a useful mindset to carry into the real world.
I've been thinking a lot about school and P, and the best analogy I can come up with is that his school and I are both looking at the same moon, but I'm insisting that all that exists is beautiful reflected light, and they're insisting that all that exists is the half that's cold, barren, and shadowed. It doesn't help either of us to really understand the moon if we fail to acknowledge that the it can have both attributes simultaneously. My kids can have flashes of intelligence and glaring deficits at the same time. One doesn't erase the other. You have to deal with both. The difference is, I'm trying to accept that both exist, while his school seems determined to believe that it's one or the other.
I think that it's important to celebrate your offbeat kids, but it's also important to remember that there are basic societal expectations that our kids still have to fulfill, even if it's hard or doesn't come naturally. They have to successfully navigate a world that doesn't care about their stellar IQ scores, but does care about their unwillingness to take direction or work with a group.
I'm trying to help my kids be successful here. But it's really nice to peek into a community where they're already wonderful.