Recently Reese was encouraged to join a contest organised by Sharpie Malaysia. So Reese came out with this!
A rainbow church
What do you think? Good enough to compete with the adults? :) probably not but he had fun experimenting on fabric. This piece of art was done on fabric. Voting will soon start... will need all your support then....
And yesterday we also received a package of pens from Sharpie Malaysia. They were supportive of Reese's work and thus became Reese's first sponsor.
We are another step closer to Reese's solo exhibition... yeah! Today (18th November 2012) a few pieces of Reese's will be on display at the Children for Child Protection Event at KL Convention Centre. The exhibition is open to public from 9am-5pm. It is free. Do go for some wholesome family fun. Lots of activities for children. We were really honoured to be invited by the project director of Childline15999 to participate in this event. https://www.facebook.com/childline15999
"Parenting a gifted child is like living in a theme park of full thrill rides. Sometimes you smile. Sometimes you gasp. Sometimes you scream. Sometimes you laugh. Sometimes you gaze in wonder and astonishment. Sometimes you're frozen in your seat. Sometimes you're proud. And sometimes, the ride is so nerve-wracking, you can't do anything but cry." Carol Strip & Gretchen Hirsh, in Webb, Gore, Amend & DeVries
I have always been happy to tell people that my son is a gifted child never thinking how the word 'gifted' can be such a sensitive or offending word to some. A variety of emotions, view points, interpretations or even misinterpretations get stirred up. There is always the argument that every child is gifted.
The term "gifted" has been in use in the gifted education field for the longest time. Over the years, it has become the word we most commonly use to refer to those individuals who are, in some way, markedly different (advanced) in their abilities in a particular area. Maybe it is not the best word to use but like it or not, that is the term used in gifted education.
My understanding of the term gifted child means a child who learns differently, has exceptional potential, and abilities. Gifted children also very often experience asynchronous development and has social emotional issues. Giftedness is not about elitism.
Many parents tell me I am sooooooo lucky to have a gifted child. They are green with envy. Many wished for the same and some to the extend of trying to create one.
It is really not easy to parent a gifted child what more a highly gifted one. The challenges are great. Sometimes I even feel like giving up because I do not have the right support and I am emotionally drained to the core.
I constantly ask myself whether I am doing enough to nurture my son. His hunger for knowledge is so great that I am struggling to keep up. When he is interested in something, he will read and does his research on Youtube, Google and books. Before you know it, he will start talking about his new found knowledge and I will be clueless. What do I do? I will have to do some research and try to understand what he was talking about! The challenge is, I need time to verify all that he knows and this is the hardest. TIME! Not to mention my brain can't absorb that much and my memory is failing me...*sigh*
Just an example of what I went through recently:
Since 2 months ago Reese is very much into Astronomy. He is fascinated by black holes, galaxies and many more. He told me things like "Space time is calculated using width, length, height and time."and "Singularity is the black hole where it is infinite."... Then I wondered whether he actually understood what he was saying... he does because on the spot he used 2 balloons (left over from his birthday) to explain to me about the 'red giant' and then went on to explain to me about 'spaggettification' with other props.
Once he asked me how to spell 'heliopause'. I just stared at him because I have no idea. He was drawing a chart to illustrate the various layers of the universe. I had to asked him to explain to me and then search the internet for an answer!
Reese's drawings on space
A mummy I knew from my science co-op said perhaps I should get connected with professors and professionals in fields Reese is interested in so that they can better guide and nurture him. She said what Reese knows in a short few weeks about space are advance astrophysics. I agree with her but how to find these mentors? Do you know any? :)
Then there is the case of him learning about cells for his science class. I found a game on cells for him to play, within a week, he was talking about genetics, he was talking about RNA, DNA and what you need to do to kill injected virus, how to absorb free radicals by using slicer enzymes.... these according to an ex-embryologist are college/university stuff!! I still cannot understand some of the stuff when I read about them... hahaha... it's tough! Are you feeling me yet?
Then there is the social emotional issues. Reese does not read social cues well. He is not 'street smart'. He is too innocent. Does not know how to make friends. Whenever he sees kids, he will just jump in assuming they will play with him! When some of the kids gang up and refuse to play with him, he doesn't understand why, he just gets upset by pouting his mouth, folding his hands around his chest and stomp his foot! The kids will laugh at him and he would get even madder or sometimes he decides that it is funny and he laughed with them! *sigh* We are banking on time that he will mature and learn some people skills along the way... It is very hard to find children that is at his wave length.... that share his interest... very hard.
So you see... being gifted is not a privilege.
Despite all the challenges, Reese is a very good child if you understand him. He listens to us most time and can be reason with. We love him dearly. He is truly a passionate gift from God. :)
Reese spent the last few days on his latest creation. His version of Sagrada Familia, a church in Spain. It took him almost 3 hours to do basic model. The last few days, he was busy building and patiently adding more parts to it throughout the day.
About 3 hours to build this
Later that day, he added more things to his building
Yesterday he added heads for statues, probably got inspired by an old building in Siena we saw in Italy!
More heads and headless statues on display
The final product as of yesterday!
Reese working on his building. See the Thomas crane? That is the crane he used to help him construct!
This morning I realised he added a lot more parts to the back of his church. :)
Sometimes I forgot that Reese is only 6. He finds so much pleasure in watching Mickey Mouse Club House cartoon or reading simple picture books and laughing his head off! Hearing such beautiful laughter always brings joy to me and yet, I felt bad sometimes because I treat him like an older child. It is so easy to just forget how young Reese is. One of my biggest issue with him is the way he behaves publicly especially during group activities. He just cannot sit still and take instructions from others. He wants to do things his way. I find it really hard to control him and most of the time I have to threaten him in order to get him to cooperate. It never last though. He is not naughty, he just cannot sit still and is always eager to get first hand experience with whatever that is on display. *sigh*
It is sometimes hard to juggle the older Reese and the younger Reese. One moment he talks about the composition of a Carbon -14 or a Nitrogen - 14 and the next, he whines and cries at the most unreasonable request..... It is tough dealing with a kid like him. He is very sensitive and cries easily. It breaks my heart seeing him sad and the guilt sets in. The real killer is when he expresses his sadness or disappointment to me verbally (Speaks like an adult) with big fat tears rolling down his cheeks.
Parenting is really guess work isn't it? No one child is the same. At the end of the day we have to do trial and error to parent our child to the best of our abilities! Parenting a highly gifted child is very challenging. I have to constantly think of ways to make sure he is given the appropriate intellectual stimulation so that he doesn't get bored and at the same time I do not want to over do it. A balance in everything he does is important. We want him to be happy and be as normal as possible. We want him to fit in well with his peers and lead a normal life.
I thank God that I am still able to help him in his intellectual development but I think in two or three years I will seriously need to find him mentors! It is actually quite exhausting trying to catch up with him intellectually. I do not have the luxury of time and a sharp mind with superb memory and thus learning new things becomes a chore for me. I was never an A star student. Sometimes I think God is punishing me now for not studying hard in school! Ha!
Do you know it is expensive raising a highly gifted child? The exposure, the books and resources we give him... we rarely think twice when spending money on Reese! It is totally worth it when you see him smile from all the pleasure he gets when reading/playing or simply learning.
Reese is growing and has become quite sensitive. So sensitive that he will immediately shed tears when something is not right. He has been talking about wanting to educate people about our environment, he wants to save the environment. When he sees empty bottles and rubbish on the floor, road or ground, he wants to pick them up and dispose them properly. It's hard to tell him not to when we have no sanitizer/wet wipes to clean his hands! He will get upset and kept arguing that we need to keep the environment clean.... *sigh*
Reese is also super cheeky. See what he wrote? This was done yesterday night. He said he wanted to create a list of things to do to me!
The list that got him laughing non stop!
He is still very much into Astronomy. We went to the Science Centre and borrowed even more books on Astronomy. Reese has been reading these books plus doing his own research on the net. He really eats, sleeps and talks nothing but Astronomy! No joke! First thing in the morning when he gets up, his first sentence is not "Good morning mummy" but "Do you know mom that XXX is bigger than XXX galaxy...."
Books from the library. He especially likes The Universe Explained
Drawings showing stars and planets. He even wanted to make a movie to compare all the known stars!
He is into constellation as well.
A space company he wanted to set up in the future. :)
My teaching white board is also his canvas.
His latest ambition is to be an astronomer. I wonder what's next? Will he one day be a polymath?
If you are interested to know more about gifted children do sign up for the coming Gifted Education Conference jointly organised by National Association of Gifted Children Malaysia and The Australian International School.