My Very Different Little Boy

Young boy sitting on skateboard wearing cape
Phillip Waterman/Cultura/Getty Images

Gifted children no matter how smart they are, are still children, and have many of the same traits that all children have. They are dependent on adults, may have a hard time controlling their emotions, are curious, and are imaginative. However, they also exhibit traits that most other kids don't exhibit. In fact, if you have a gifted child and compare your child to other kids the same age, you may notice that your child is "different."

I always knew my son was different from other kids his age, but I didn't know exactly what that difference was. Sure, he could read, but I had a niece who had started to read at age two as well. My son also loved to learn and talk about everything he learned. But one of my nephews used to read the encyclopedia for bedtime reading when he was little and enjoyed talking about what he had learned.

The difference was more than his being smart, though. My son was also very sensitive, usually about things that most kids weren't even aware of. For example, one night when he was about four, he came downstairs after he had been reading in bed for a while.  He sat on the stairs, visibly upset, close to tears. "What's wrong?" I asked him.

He swallowed hard, looked at me with sad puppy eyes and informed me that in 2000 years Polaris would no longer be the North Star. He had been reading a book about the universe, one of his favorite subjects.

He explained that the Earth's axis wobbles because of the gravitational forces of the sun and the moon. That wobbling means that the axis points to different places in the night sky. Right now the north axis points to Polaris. But in 2000 years the wobble will cause the northern axis to point to Gamma Cephei (aka Alrai) in the constellation Cepheus.

(Yes, he really did explain that to me.)

I couldn't get him to understand this was not something to worry about, that 2000 years was a very long way off. He also was not consoled by the fact that life on Earth would not change because the Earth's northern axis pointed to a different spot in the sky. To him the North Star was and should always be Polaris.

There were other differences too. My son hated to color, to finger paint, cut and paste, or do any other kid crafts. During craft time in preschool, my son would rush through the task at hand so that he could get back to reading or exploring. His paintings and drawings were pretty much the same -- one color filling the whole page. My favorite drawing of his was the one that was a page colored solid orange with a big red dot to the right. That was his drawing of Jupiter with its Great Red Spot.

If the kids were given the opportunity to use paper, paste, and dried macaroni to create pictures and designs, my son's creations invariably included macaroni, not lying flat, creating interesting designs and pictures, but standing up on end randomly around the paper.

What I came to realize about my son was that he was a gifted little boy. Those differences were - and are - a part of who he was and still is, as much as his hazel eyes and brown hair.

In what way was your child unlike other children of the same age? Join me on Facebook and share you stories.

Read more about my experiences raising my son.

Continue Reading