Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Perfect.

Claiming my child as academically "gifted" isn't a badge of honor for either of us. It just is what it is. Sometimes, I must say, living with Logan is a major challenge--a battle of wills, a vying for Top Dog, a wrestling against perfectionism.

What that means in our daily life is learning to manage situations like I had tonight at T-Ball practice Day #2: Logan watched as each other player went up to bat (some twice), but when it was his turn, he claimed he didn't want to hit off of that tee ever! Coach tried to encourage him. I tried to encourage him. He got angry and walked off the field.

I reminded him that finalizing statements like that are generally not a good approach in life, and asked him what was upsetting him about hitting off the tee. We took the discussion aside so the rest of the team could play. I instructed him that all the players on a team contribute to the team's success, and that he, as a team member, would need to hit at some point to help the team gain some points! He repeated his ultimatum. I thought about it, and it didn't take long...

What I realized, as only a momma can, is that Logan didn't feel experienced enough to hit that ball perfectly and Wow the "audience" of peers, parents & coaches, so he preferred to not hit at all. He had been watching a number of other boys try & miss, and it disturbed him that they had to do that in front of others. He didn't want to be in their boats...

From Day One of our son's life we have noticed this perfectionism in him. I am, unfortunately, very like him.

So, I encouraged him to hop back out to the field, forgetting the hitting for a moment, and fill the empty shortstop spot. After another 15 minutes of practice the coach let us all go for the night, and Logan approached him to ask if it would be OK for us to keep playing after the team left. Of course that was alright.

I had brought a large bag with our own tee, bats, balls, and mitts for Teagan & me, so we could do just that, given the inclination. It was already after 7 PM. Their dinner had been meager. He insisted through tears that we stay, and I "got it!" There really wasn't a choice--we had to. We played another 45 minutes, despite Teagan's hunger and my cold fingers. It was important. Logan wanted to perfect that swing. He wanted to perfect that catch. He wanted to work on the problem and get it figured out. After all, he is keenly aware that Saturday is the Big First Game, where likely more people will watch...As he considered standing at Home with all eyes on him tonight, it was just too much--it overwhelmed him, and he didn't want anything to do with that embarrassing situation.

Although Logan is 100% extrovert & a Major League Leader, he does not like to be watched while working through a problem in his head, aloud, with a friend, or in any which way where he doubts himself. He wants only to present his best after the practice is complete.

This is an admirable trait, when there is TIME. Sometimes, however, we cannot keep working on that little corner of the sock where the heel is fitting too high, because we are running late for an appointment & the shoes just need to be ON so we can get out the door! I need to be ever attentive to this trait in him and keep my cool instead of rushing him (which really ticks him off)...while also trying to help him loosen up a little.

I want him to ENJOY T-ball, and so far...he's having a BLAST!! YAY!! Here is one of the many delightful moments of the past two practice nights:


Logan Runs Bases from lisandrea on Vimeo.


(Incidentally, Logan happens to hit quite well, as he did willingly in Practice Day #1...Wish I could post the video but his portion is half way through what would otherwise be dull viewing, and I do not have time for editing).

Here is a better description of our son...he hits EVERY single one of these bullet points...

General Characteristics of Intellectually/Academically Gifted Students from slides 21 & 22, "VAG--Gifted Education Program," Powerpoint presentation of the Virginia Association for the Gifted (May, 2006):

Characteristics include:
*Advanced vocabulary and language development
*Excellent memory
*Intense and longer periods of concentration than age-mates
*Preference for older companions
*Habit of asking many questions
*Creative and imaginative
*Perfectionism
*Love of books and reading
*Intense curiosity
*Intensity in emotions and interests
*Keen sense of humor with a love of “puns”
*Ability and interest in problem solving


(Based on the works of Barbara Clark, Jane Piirto, Karen Rogers, Linda Silverman, and Joyce VanTassel-Baska.)

1 comment:

Michelle in Mx said...

yeah, my brother is increadably gifted like that . . . I see a lot of those trates in him.