I don’t understand when parents complain about their kids growing up. My kid just keeps getting cooler and cooler with each new stage. I can’t wait to see what adulthood will bring, while still enjoying every moment of the present. Of course, I’m not crazy about kids as a general thing– there’s about a 2 year moving window around my own kids that I find other children adorable.
We are happy to see women’s heads returning to book covers. What a weird fad.
Did you know that the first practical use of the birth control pill was as a fertility medication? Some women (those with PCOS, for example) with no cycle or irregular cycles are fertile right after going off the birth control pill.
DC seems to be hooked on the Chinese-American version of Dora the Explorer: Ni Hao Kai-Lan. Not sure why this one is so interesting when ze has seriously outgrown Dora. (Not that *I* have outgrown Dora…)
Dear anonymous commenter who says she is sick of reading about working moms who have it all but OMG have messy houses (“because they’re chic now”… not a comment I had heard yet, though it would be awesome if they were– I would totes be a trend-setter, and I would *LOVE* it if people stopped feeling guilt about having messy houses because that’s healthier), and when we talk about how we’re awesome we’re just trying to convince ourselves, and when she has kids she’s going to take time off to be with them because otherwise why have kids… Sorry I’m more awesome than you are (as are a small handful of other working mothers who are brave enough to openly admit that their lives don’t suck! Even though we get attacked when we do, probably because the patriarchy hates it when women do anything with their time besides raise boy babies…) and btw, it is possible to enjoy kids and have a career at the same time. Even if your brain can’t imagine it. In fact MOST mothers are not secretly falling apart… perhaps most mothers on the internet are (or at least pretend to be because dude, otherwise the anonymous patriarchy-bitches attack!), but perhaps mothers who don’t spend hours on the internet are just better at using their time wisely.
Adding to that… I don’t get it when people say they hate reading about other people’s happy lives. If your life isn’t happy (and you’re not dealing with a chronic disease etc.) then why don’t you @#$3ing change something? Why be a victim? Sure, we rumble grumpily, but we don’t put up with crap we can change either. We’ll whine about the patriarchy, but we’ll keep on fighting it. We’ll keep reading Georgette Heyer because we like the happy endings. We love happy endings in real life even more and wish more people had awesome partners like ours and so on. The world would be a much better place.
Why when discussing their gifted children, do mothers feel the need to qualify that they themselves were only above-average intelligence (though they were never actually tested)? Even when not asked. IBTP. (Btw, both #1 and #2 were gifted, probably in the HG/EG/PG range, if such things can be boiled down into percentage terms, as were our partners even though we don’t know our “numbers”. And we are totes unapologetic about it (though we love meeting other gifted peeps! Even if they don’t think they’re gifted.). #1 mourns what she could have been had she been able to live up to her full potential and is still trying to make up for those wasted years in K-8 counting ceiling tile dots. Every year she gets more awesome.) Men, for some reason, don’t seem to have this problem. Are we really so afraid that people will think we’re bragging about ourselves that we have to put our intelligence down at every opportunity? It adds to that atmosphere of silence that mothers of gifted kids already feel. (Wait, I gotta apologize for my intelligence just when I’m finally brave enough to talk about my kid’s? Swell.)
Being gifted as a child was a black mark, and I think a lot of women still feel that. Bright women do things like having differences of opinion that, as children, we’re told are not supposed to happen. Took me many years to get over it, but I’m finding that as I go through my educational process, it’s becoming more and more obvious simply because of the way I talk. (Incidentally, was tested and didn’t show up as anything special…but also know from my son’s experience that it may have been the test that they were using. I’m a slow processor, and tests like WISC make that count against you when it really shouldn’t. In my son’s case, going from WISC to SB-5 changed his score by about two standard deviations because of this. According to SAT and GRE scores, I’m somewhere around the HG/EG boundary.)
And yes, there are grownups who still get irritable and defensive about this because you are “showing off”, even when you have no clue you’ve said anything out of the norm. I think, however, it’s partially due to where I live. Lots of people here are stuck on the notion that rocking the boat and being different is very, very bad. Especially for a woman. (Probably the only reason I think being in a big city would be a bit better.)
One nice thing about the region where I live is that PhDs are put on a pedestal. (It is a very regimented society.) Even though I’m a woman I’m allowed to act like a professor because I’ve got that PhD. (One of my black colleagues talked about how the cop’s demeanor completely changed when she flashed her university ID along with her driver’s license– she still got pulled over for DWB, but he went from disrespectful to her race to ultra-respectful and she was let off with a warning. That change didn’t happen to her back in Los Angeles.)
On the other hand, it makes friendships with moms outside the university a bit difficult because many of them seem to feel the class difference in ways that I don’t understand, so there’s a wide gulf a lot of the time. It’s not that they think I’m showing off, just that they need to be respectful, which is really uncomfortable.
The only time I have had luck meeting and getting along with moms outside university is when older son was enrolled in a special school for the gifted. His best friends’ moms were also pretty intelligent and thought I was “normal”. (Of course, one of them was a coordinator for a large charity group that provided medical services and the other had a PhD in statistics.) I find I get along better with kidless female engineer and science types than I do with moms who have no interest in anything technical.
mareserinitatis … that is classic “crabs in a bucket syndrome.” Always pulling you back in. Rural or isolated areas are well known for this. This is why the very smart and the very creative usually leave … or stay behind and become alcoholics.
For all its myriad flaws, Los Angeles welcomes the intelligent person, no matter WHAT other descriptives can be applied to that person.
Perhaps that’s true, but I also found that the stress of living in a big city really doesn’t suit me well. I like the freedom and elbow room of a rural area. Every time I go back to a big city, I can feel my body tense up and the stress kick in immediately.
I will say that I probably wouldn’t be able to handle living here without access to the internet and finding people who understand me as a person. Without that, I’m not sure what I’d do.
OMG, I saw that comment, too. I decided that she wasn’t talking about me. :)
But I still write a rant on some closely related subjects at some point soon. Because yeah- I’m totally enjoying my children’s childhood. I don’t see why I have to do something 24/7 to enjoy it! But maybe she just meant that SHE thinks she will enjoy it more if she doesn’t work. In which case- that’s cool. If she still thinks that once she has a kid.
Did you see the Forbes blog post about how to turn your partner into “Mr 50%”? The comments on it (from men) were HILARIOUS. I particularly liked the idea that if I want my husband to contribute 50% at home, I should be sure to contribute 50% towards the mortgage. I’m not sure what he thinks should happen in families like mine, where the woman (me) earns MORE than 50% of the income. http://www.forbes.com/sites/samanthaettus/2012/03/20/mr-50/
I dunno, (s)he started the comment being pretty pointed about all those working women who pretend they’re happy.. (s)he didn’t come out directly and say it was FeMomHist’s blog carnival (s)he was complaining about but it was on a post from that. (S)he’s obviously not as awesome as I am, which is sad, so yeah, there’s some pity there. However, what angers me is hir trying to push the patriarchal guilt on mothers, which is bad for women’s happiness in general. And doing it as if (s)he were in the persecuted minority rather than the majority. Seriously? Ze must not read the NYTimes.
I saw that forbes link. I make about 20%/year more than DH so maybe it’s right and good that he does 20% more housework. And oh man, that year he brought in 4% of my income while working at a start up he should have been doing 96% of the housework! What was I thinking? I also loved the author’s feigned sympathy for the h8rs. Poor things.
I thought about making a comment and then decided an RBOC would be a better forum. No need to feed trolls directly! Plus she (or he… I often think of internet trolls as 13 year old boys) probably has mental issues. To quote Mr. T, in this last quote here.
I was never tested for being gifted, but from your (and others) descriptions of what it was like, I doubt that I was. What’s wrong with owning the fact that school was a good place (I went to strong academic schools and excelled. I never felt like I was in the wrong grade or wasn’t challenged. I went to top colleges, have always done well in interviews, and think that I have fit perfectly into the system.). Looking at the stats for women in college, I’d say there are a lot of others like me.
When did someone have to test gifted (or identify as gifted) in order to consider themselves intelligent?
You don’t have to have had the problems associated with giftedness in order to be gifted. It’s a syndrome. Some people don’t manifest the more problematic symptoms in any environment (they’re good at assimilating– lots of girls are “lost” this way), or they’re in an environment that is a good fit. For example, we were seeing the problems with DC last year when it was clear ze had outgrown preschool and needed a more challenging environment (more on this next week). This year we don’t see any of those problems because the environment has changed. That doesn’t mean ze suddenly isn’t gifted.
Being gifted also does not necessarily mean that you’re socially inept. Again, when you’ve had a good fit your whole life, that’s less likely to manifest. Imagine how differently a person grows up when she has friends and is accepted in middle school (perhaps because the school is good at stopping bullying, or the school is bigger and has more groups to fit into) as compared to someone who every day has to put up with verbal and physical torment from other kids who don’t understand her. The kid will turn out differently, even if it’s the environment that is different, and not the kid. Additionally, many gifted kids who are 2e are never diagnosed as such because they’re good at compensating for the disability, which means there are a lot of gifted kids with Aspbergers and similar syndromes who just aren’t diagnosed. The giftedness is masking the problem, but not causing the problem.
Most people with PhDs were/are probably gifted. Not that native intelligence matters as much as hard work and opportunity.
But yes, there’s something really irritating when women put down their intelligence UNASKED when men never ever do that. It creates an environment for all women in which not putting down your intelligence is socially unacceptable.
I think there are two separate issues here:
1/ Whether or not someone self identifies as gifted as opposed to “just” intelligent
2/ Whether women down play their intelligence
I think there is a fair bit of confusion among the general population, including myself, about the definition of a “gifted” individual. I have never self-identified as gifted although I may have fit your definition of gifted in many ways. I was always very smart, and excelled in (regular public) high school, university, and now in a competitive PhD program. Before reading your blog, I did think that being “gifted” meant that, in addition to being intelligent, gifted individuals thought about things differently and generally didn’t function well in normal classroom settings with same-aged peers. Otherwise what distinguishes gifted chidren from smart children. There is somewhat of a negative connotation associated with the term gifted in my mind (not saying this is right obviously), and explicitly not idenifying as gifted would not be me down-playing my intelligence but more likely me trying to avoid the negative stigma that I personally feel is associated with the label.
As for down playing intelligence (and other talents and skills) in women, I do think this is a concern and hinders advancement in careers, etc, for many individuals. I try hard to self promote my abilities while maintaining a degree of humility that I think is also socially valuable, and it can be tough to stricke the right balance.
We’re not saying every woman who reads our blog has to identify as gifted (though we may prefer to think so, as obviously our readers must be very intelligent), just that if nobody asks you how smart you are, you don’t have to volunteer that you don’t think you’re a genius. Or that you don’t think you’re gifted. Or that you don’t think you’re smart. Nobody asked. There’s no reason to downplay your intelligence, and doing so forces the patriarchy on the rest of us. Men do not do this. (Though if they did it would be even worse for those of us who prefer to identify as intelligent! There was always that stigma growing up. We blame the American education system about that.)
I believe that technically the traditional definition of gifted usually starts at 125 or 130 for IQ (realizing that IQ is a very poor measure and varies considerably by many many factors, see: mareserinitatis above). So being “smart” actually technically is being “gifted”. A not too small minority of the population fits in these categories, just by definition. (And there are many definitions of gifted.)
You don’t have to be “profoundly gifted” to be “gifted.” Nobody has to make a movie about your life for you to fit into that category.
Again, the point is, if nobody asks if you’re smart or stupid, and you have no actual proof of your smart/stupidness (and, in fact, your achievement record is more consistent with the “smart” part of the spectrum), then why on earth would you tell everybody, “Oh, I’m not *that* smart.” It’s as if admitting to being smart is a bad thing, and God forbid anybody assume that we thought we had brains in our heads. Girls aren’t supposed to do that, don’t you remember middle school?
ok, yes definitely agree with this (I think I missed the part in the original post about people who announce this unasked) – although I have to admit that I actually loved middle school. In many cases, I think the intention is to validate the parent’s apprehension. ie: What is said is “My child is gifted but I wasn’t gifted as a child” but what is meant is “I’m concerned about best supporting my gifted child because the challenges she seems to be facing due to her giftedness is not something I have encountered in my own childhood and therefore I am worried that I might not properly understand the complexities”.
But the announcing of one’s weaknesses or perceived weaknesses is quite frustrating. I particularly hate unprovoked comments along the lines of:
Liz- I’m going to play soccer after work on Tuesday
Person X – oooh, I’m terrible at soccer
Liz- um, ok…
Yes, I do think some of it may be, “I don’t get what my kid is going through” but definitely not all of it, and especially not when it starts to pile on… the first person may have meant that, but the 3rd-7th person is just saying it because everyone else said it.
I also think it’s important to say, “I didn’t experience this perfectionism” or “I don’t think I slept so little.” I was gifted, but as a 4 year old did not have the “gifted” problems DC was having… and that’s probably because I was in a Montessori situation that had more for me than DC’s Montessori situation– they just let me hang out with the older kids half the day, whereas they completely ran out in DC’s school. My sister’s Montessori also had more than enough stuff for her to go through even through kindergarten. (And DC doesn’t have the sensitive skin that I had… didn’t realize that was even correlated until I read the books– just thought I was a wuss.)
Sorry, I don’t know if you get to be the frist trend setter on the messy house thing, as my mom was 25 years ahead of you on that one :) When my friends started having babies that was always the first advice she’d give: “the house can wait. It doesn’t need to be perfect. Your kid is around now. Maintain your hobbies because your kid needs to see you have other interests.” But then mom is cool and doesn’t realize that she (or her mother) fought patriarchy just by being themselves.
Except online, I haven’t seen moms going out of their way to say they’re not gifted/highly intelligent/whatnot. I think it’s because I work at a tech company, and live in a town where many of our friends are also grads of our highly selective geeky college. So there’s nothing “weird” about it.
I *have* noticed, though, in my small group of mama friends I met through a toddler group, there’s a few folks who are always mentioning what a “genius” my daughter is, etc. etc. Yes, she’s smart, but she’s 2 (!). It makes me sort of uncomfortable (the legacy of the outcast gifted geeky kid strikes again). But I think this might be an issue with the mom herself worrying about her own kid.
I’m an optimist through and through so reading through endless tales of woe online bores and depresses me. I like mostly positive blogs who occasionally tell it like it is – it’s far more relatable to me. I’m not going to apologize for being happy or posting about it. If they don’t like it, they don’t have to read it.
My students do it a lot… but I’m more supportive and less irritated with them!
The genius thing bothers me a bit (in DC’s hearing) because I’m a firm believer in praising effort, not intelligence. What matters is what you do with what you’ve got. (Also that outcast thing.) And you’re right, what bothers me the most is the way the moms who do that put down their own kids. We have a post on that somewhere in the archives.
Yes, I also want to praise effort, and we’ve started encountering folks who are telling T she’s smart. (I was the typical smart kid who never wanted to try anything I wasn’t going to be good at – I still fight this tendency now.)
Yeah, the worst part is that I get sucked into this whole thing about not wanting the other moms to feel bad about their kids (who are perfectly developmentally normal!) and so I remind them that T didn’t walk until nearly 20 months. I shouldn’t do that. It’s not anyone else’s business but I feel like I need to offer “something” to show their kid is doing “better” in some other area. Sigh. Why the heck do we do stupid shit like that?
I need to dig up that post– we went through exactly the same thing and I hated it. I decided to stop doing that. (DC was the opposite– a gross motor junkie… if you think comments on early mental skills are bad, comments on preternatural gross motor skills…)
nicoleandmaggie, to your last point: I know a lot of very smart people of all genders. The hetero-males are *uniformly* supported and facilitated by their hetero-female mates. That is to say, their success is, across the board, largely due to the logistical and creative input they receive from women.
Super smart men that I’ve known have ALL had at least one major blind spot that prevented them from achieving their full success until a woman came along to open the right door for them.
A very politically incorrect observation perhaps. Here’s another one … men tend to network with other men, but then they go back to their cave to work their magic alone *except for* that supportive female. This phenomenon rarely seems to work the other way ’round.
So when a working wife and mother feels happy and successful in her life, I tend to think that either she has acquired one of those very rare male specimens that actually fills the gaps in her life instead of being yet another chore, or she has arranged her life in such a way that her mate cannot disrupt her happiness and success.
I don’t have a problem saying I’m intelligent. I just don’t think I’m gifted. BTW, do gifted people usually have gifted kids? Can gifted kids come from parents of average intelligence?
I just wrote my take on living in a squalid house. It’s not really squalid I guess, but messier than I’m used to and the “price” I pay for spending more with kids. I still think I clean too much and I blame glossy magazines!
There isn’t really a standard definition of gifted (IQ isn’t even the only measure used), and intelligent can equal gifted depending on the definition.
We don’t know what creates giftedness. Smart parents often have smart kids, but that could be nature or nuture or both. Yes, smart kids can come from not smart parents and not smart kids can come from smart parents. Yes there are things that you can do to make your kid smarter (good nutrition, reading, having books around, talking to your child, asking open ended questions etc.) or the reverse.
And, of course, how smart you are isn’t as important as what you do with it.
*My kid also gets more awesome with time, thus far. Although I never thought of myself as a huge kid person, maybe I actually am. Because I tend to notice now that other people’s kids are hilarious (even if they are not near my kid’s age).
Example: random little dude (perhaps 8?) sitting on a slide on the playground, apropos of nothing I could see, “I LOVE PIE!!!!!11!!!”
He said it just like that too, you could hear the eleventies in his tone.
*Ni Hao Kai Lan is awesome
*Boo to cranky neat house anonymous commenter! Yay for happy creative people in messy houses! That said, I am unsure about them metacommunication of the phrase “patriarchy-bitch”
*I agree I haven’t seen men preemptively declare themselves ‘only above average’. The social consequences for “bragging” aredifferent for men and women, so IBTP there. But the fact it’s not socially desirable to be very explicit about one’s advantages in life? That is kind of understandable, although it has mixed effects. People who say “my IQ is 140” or “my income is 300k” strike me as rude, unless it is a key contextual detail in a discussion.
One thing I’ve agreed with you about is “my choices are not a judgement of your lifestyle”.
So along those lines would somebody else feigning modesty out of a sense of politeness necessarily make it “unacceptable” for you to be direct about your intelligence level?
HA! Ok, you got me with the second analogy.
Though, in fairness, saying one is “just above average intelligence” would correspond to “only below average weight” more than “fat”. Still, I would support this tax! Grumpies for Congress 2012?!
My mother always said the only kids she liked were her own. I’m not sure if she likes us better as adults or not. I love the age/stage mine is in now but I also love how he keeps coming into his own with each new stage. We played for real catch in the front yard yesterday and over dinner last night he asked if god formed the world, who formed god. Interactions and conversations keep getting a little more interesting.
I put professors on a pedestal. I’d totally let one off with a warning if I were a cop (god forbid). And probably do more than my share of the housework if married to one.
If I were a cop, I’d let tired black women off with a warning, and ticket white male professors. Because I am a terrible person.
The inability to be impartial is one of several important reasons why I am not a cop. (also why I am mad at most of those that are, at least the type like Bill Lee).
I meant Mel Gibson like he’s icky irl in contrast to the image. And I meant I have this notion that professors are all super smart. If I were making exceptions for rule breakers, I’d make them for super smart over say super cute or in the case of my former college town, super athletic.
Oh, yes. I like each developmental stage better than the last, and for the record, having the opportunity to develop relationships with my adult stepkids now that they are adults is fabulous. I too am puzzled by the expressed preference for the young ages.
I kind of hate to post the link here because I suppose doing so may offer direction to the hater, but here’s my favorite ever post on the joys of slovenly housekeeping: http://flotsamblog.com/2009/03/23/the-real-world/ . What, indeed, could be more whimsical?
And yes, that’s totes what our house looks like most of the time. Even the relative cleanliness of the kitchen and bathroom compared to the rest of the clutter. It’s like, there’s no mold, but the house is definitely lived in.
Yes, me too, except we rely on dog hair rather than cat hair. Mold? We intermittently accommodate items growing it in our fridge but do then purge them; mildew can’t be ruled out during summertime here in the southeast — though a/c helps. My DH is oddly interested in keeping the floors clean (and thus varies between cleaning them and complaining about the fact that they need cleaning and that I am not doing anything about it, which is (usually) true, I (usually) am not), whereas I am mostly interested in making sure that the places where we store, prepare, and consume food are something approximating clean or at least non-dangerous (go figure).
I don’t DO floors (something I have HATED since my Montessori days… never could get the hang of sweeping without having an allergy attack). Luckily DH does them. And unasked without complaint. (Me, I will pick up the occasional cat-hair tumbleweed but would not even think about getting out the vacuum cleaner.) The floor has to make sticky sounds before I think about mopping, though the swiffer mop is a lot less icky than the regular kind (even if it’s less environmentally friendly– we make up for it by mopping infrequently).
I would love advice on what to say when your kid is in earshot and another adult says something like “Ze’s so smart!” or “Ze’s shy!” Because I often hear both, especially the latter, and I do NOT want to reinforce that in my four-year-old. I am both gifted and socially awkward and have no idea what to say in these situations…
“Shy” is another one that bothers me. I tell them outright that she’s not shy, she just takes time to warm up to new people.
Not sure about ‘smart’ though as it’s always a compliment :( Sometimes we follow up with something like “she has a lot of focus, and pays attention to things around her” but not sure if that accomplishes anything, really.
Maybe parents complain about their kids getting older because then the kid is past that cool stage? Or maybe it’s that they’ve just figured out that stage and then would have to learn how to deal with a new stage?
OMG was Anonymous Commenter talking about me? Whatever dude. So what if my life is falling apart? It’d be falling apart if I didn’t have kids. Some people are just more prone to falling apart than others.
Random question (should I submit to Ask the Grumpies?)
What are your thoughts on Rate My Professor?
I bet #2 can rant massively on the topic. #1 found it very useful when deciding on where to apply as a professor– students with bad grammar and spelling who complained about having to actually do work did not look like fun students to teach. Places where students could actually spell in which they praised professors who made them think (and panned easy A professors who always canceled class) were much more attractive.