I was older than most when I became a mama. I thought that all those years of watching others and teaching primary students would prepare me. It didn’t.
Instead, I remember the early years as confusing.
I didn’t understand why my son wasn’t progressing the way I had expected. His growing & changing was accelerated compared to my parenting books.
He put puzzles together and built towers that were more complex than his age group.
He read early. He walked early. He climbed out of his crib and demanded a bed early. He was potty trained early.
He took an early interest in art and creating. Our dining room table was buried beneath papers, markers, paints, and stickers. He loved Elmer’s Glue.
He learned all about a topic and then moved on. He was consumed by something and then just as fast as the obsession appeared, it disappeared.
These were the fun aspects of parenting my young My TBP.
The real confusion was his intensities and quirks. I didn’t understand why things seemed harder for him. Why parenting was harder for me.
He needed to smell all the flowers in Trader Joe’s. He wanted me to smell all the hand soaps before purchasing any.
His pulling off the price tags of the shopping store shelves and my attempts to replace them before cashing out. His refusal to enter certain restaurants due to the smells. His ability to manipulate me out of a crowded library puppet show and into a quiet Starbucks.
He still doesn’t like crowds.
MyTBP wouldn’t talk until he could speak complete sentences correctly. He still doesn’t like to do things unless he is sure that he can do it correctly.
While most toddlers had no interest in writing, he was already composing notes and delivering them in decorated envelopes. He used his early skills to let a preschool friend know how mad he was when his bestie played with someone else.
Although the receiver could not read the message riddled with potty humor and insults, his parents could read it. They weren’t happy or amused.
Sleep was lacking. Emotions were extreme.
We went in search for answers to the mounting questions.
I wish I could tell my younger mama self to ignore the dirty looks of strangers. Your child’s meltdowns should not be their business.
I wish I could tell her that you are doing okay. I wish I could tell her that the days will go by so fast and that you will later wish for time to slow down.
Now I parent a teenager. In many ways it feels like those early days of extreme emotions and questions. Perfectionism and determination. Communication limited.
What would I say to a mama that parents a gifted toddler? Educate yourself and learn to advocate. Choose your child every time. Grow a thick skin because everyone has an opinion and even strangers feel they have a right to judge.
Do you, mama! Stay strong and hang on! It’s going to be a bumpy ride!