Sorry if anyone saw the previous draft version of this. I must have somehow hit publish accidentally. Anyway – here’s the sleep post:
Okay, of course, Boodle sleeps but it’s frustratingly inconsistent. Perhaps, he’s just following in my footsteps, as I also had unusual sleep habits at a young age (I stopped taking naps while early in my toddler years, I would lie awake all night as child waiting until I could stop thinking long enough to sleep, and I still have the hardest time falling back asleep after I’ve woken up.)
Apparently is fairly common for the gifted to have unusual sleep habits – though I’m not sure why this is. It’s probably due to multiple reasons, but for Boodle, I have a sneaky suspicion some of it is due to reactive hypoglycemia.
I say this because he’s never slept through the night – not once. He’s like a jalopy that you hope will make it to your destination without any breakdowns, but no such luck. He’s always woken up at least twice per night – sometimes as many as 6-7 times – just to eat. He eats and then goes right back to sleep. We were hoping that adding solids to his diet would help, but it didn’t seem to. Now I’m banking on adding protein to his diet. I’m going to try it with quinoa once he starts feeling better (he has a little cold right now).
Even besides that though, he hardly ever takes naps – and I don’t believe this is due to being hungry. He does get tired, but trying to get him to actually go down is like herding cats. He’s just too interested in everything going on to actually allow himself to go to sleep.
No amount of setting any kind of bedtime routine has helped. We just have to wait until he’s practically begging to go to sleep and then we need to try one of a few things:
- Nurse him to sleep. It’s rare that this works, but when it does, it’s like we hit the lottery. Usually though he treats me like his own personal jungle gym, nursing in bursts while trying to climb and roll around.
- Carrying him, bouncing him, swinging him to sleep. All of these things seemed to stop working a couple of months ago. Now it just makes him laugh.
- Drive him to sleep. This is the only surefire winner. Unfortunately, it costs a lot in gas and he’s stuck in a car seat when we’d rather be holding him. There are times that he won’t go down even in the car, unless we stop somewhere new and let him walk around a bit. We usually have to hit random grocery stores or other places open fairly late at night, so he can get his fix. Once we get back in the car, he’s out like a light. Interestingly enough, he now tries to climb into the car seat when he’s either tired or bored – basically letting us know that he wants to go out.
There are days where he seems to catch up for the lack of sleep and he sleeps practically all day. Those used to be about once a week, but now I rarely see them. I don’t think I’ve seen one in weeks or maybe more than a month.
Any ideas? The lack of sleep we’re getting is really starting to drain on us. I’m hoping this is just something that he’ll grow out of and will actually at least be able to sleep throughout the night.
There’s not much for these two months that we could really pin down. We know that he showed considerable personality and was making “girlfriends” all over the place. He especially started showing a preference or an interest in African Americans (we can only guess due to his adoration of WBG).
He moved constantly and made it almost impossible to take pictures of him. It was shortly after this time, that we moved to video. He also hardly ever slept and I remember that Conan had to take the bus to work a lot during this period because I couldn’t safely drive him in the mornings.
- Officially held his head up on his own consistently – he did this fairly early in this month.
- Noticed and became obsessed with his feet at 2 months.
- Came up with some kind of “game.” He would sit on my thigh while I was sitting on the ground with my legs outstretched. I had my arm in front of his chest and he leaned forward. All of a sudden, he pushed himself backward and I caught him with my other arm. He kept doing this over and over again and really seemed to be enjoying himself. At one point, while doing this, he decided to get up and start walking (with my arm under his arms) and stopped playing this game afterward. From then on, he would always get up to walk instead.
- Walked when we held him under his arms.
- Had Object Permanence at 3 months.
I believe in some heritability for intelligence. I don’t base this on any scientific proof – though you can find considerable proof for how much environment affects intelligence. But this is based on my own personal experience as being a potentially profoundly gifted person who was born to a potentially profoundly gifted person and who has given birth to two potentially gifted children.
I believe that environment allows an average person to become above average in terms of intelligence, but it may not allow them to become profoundly gifted.
Now – with that out of the way – I don’t believe you can hothouse a child into being gifted. And I don’t believe we are hothousing Boodle in any way. We provide an intellectually stimulating environment (as much as we can anyway), but we don’t have a single flashcard in the house and he watches very little TV besides old school Sesame Street and Between the Lions (because he likes the puppets).* There’s no “Your Baby Can Read” in our house.
And regardless of that, I still feel insanely guilty. There are those who feel comfortable enough to tell others that their children are gifted. I don’t. And beyond telling, I feel uncomfortable being in situations with other babies and their parents, because Boodle won’t (and shouldn’t have to) hide his gifts.
The last time we were in an environment like that, he walked all the way around the person’s house several times while holding on to our fingers. We got a few curious comments, but many different looks ranging from judgmental to shocked to what appeared to be concern because their kids weren’t doing that yet. So I avoid these types of events.
Even today I didn’t tell a good friend of mine anything that Boodle was doing because they’re trying for a baby and I didn’t want him to have the burden of comparison once they have a little one.
But this gives us the burden of a secret and one that I don’t like to keep. I want to be able to tell people what he’s doing. I want to be able to ask them for ability-appropriate advice without them getting caught up in his age.
And I’m just not sure how to deal with this. Any ideas?
*We also let him watch the occasional SYTYCD or something like that when it’s like 2am in the morning and he has woken back up. He seems to like to watch people moving. He was enthralled with the snowboarding and figure skating events during the winter olympics.
Boodle was born in November of 2009. This is about all I can remember because the first month was definitely a blur. During his first month of being outside the womb, he did the following:
- Social smiled at 5 days old.
- Laughed at two weeks old.*
- Supported his whole weight on both legs at 2 weeks old.
- Made significant gains in holding his head up during this month and was able to do so for sustained periods by the end of the month.
- Scooted across our bed lengthwise during the first month, as long as there was something behind him he could kick off from. He stopped doing this soon afterward though when we started helping him walk.
- When put on a tummy-time pillow, he rolled over – he repeated this several times.
Here are some pictures from when he was one week old. You can see that he showed considerable personality right from the beginning. The beautiful young girl in the pictures (I’m such a proud mommy) is none other than WBG.
*We had taken him for a walk in the stroller (slings don’t work for this kid – more on what works and what doesn’t for him in another post) in hopes that it would help him sleep (more on sleep in another post). He finally fell asleep about 30 minutes into it and then promptly woke up 2 steps from the door. When I said, “Really?!?” he started cracking up. It was at that moment that I knew we were in trouble.
We went to a restaurant tonight – something we do very often despite having a high-need baby in the family. We’ve started utilizing a system of one person eats while another person entertains the baby. So today, Conan fed Boodle some bananas while WBG and I ate. Then afterward, she and I took turns walking Boodle around the restaurant.
One of the things I noticed was that whenever we would get near a table where someone was sitting, Boodle walked right up to be completely perpendicular to their seat and then turned and looked at them until they smiled at him.
At one point, we were walking toward a table with another young family sitting at it. After they asked his name, the dad called his name in an excited way and Boodle turned around, walked over to be perpendicular to the dad’s seat, turned toward the dad and then smiled like crazy. It wasn’t enough to smile at him from across the table apparently.
My wonderful wife Xena came up with the idea of this blog, of writing about our “Boy Genius”, while I came into this enterprise somewhat skeptically. The boy seemed smart enough, I suppose, but a “genius”? I couldn’t come right out and say that, but that’s me, the one that hesitates, stands back, and almost apathetically and unenthusiastically says, “ok. I guess.”
I blame this trait on my parents.
Jokingly, of course. When Boodle blames his issues on us, I hope he does so in jest also. I recognize though that there is some unfortunate truth to it. My father had low expectations for me, while my mother was very conservative when giving out praise and expressing enthusiasm. I recognize that they love me in their own way, with much of their behavior being an outgrowth of their upbringing and the culture they grew up in, but this is the woman, who in response to the news of Boodle’s impending birth, said “That’s nice.”
With more than three decades under my belt, I never picked up on it, but after spending some time with my parents, Xena realized where I got my ability to downplay things and respond in such a lackluster way. She’s been “training” me to do better with my stepdaughter aka Wonder Bread Girl and with this new little person.
I think I’m doing “better” because I love my baby boy and think he’s absolutely amazing. Still, though, it begs the question – what does that say about me or about him?
Earlier today, one week shy of 7 months old, Boodle took his first, unassisted, wobbly steps. Read that again – at 6 months old, this baby walked.
I know that this doesn’t mean that he will start walking on his own any time soon. And I know that he may not even take a few steps on his own again for quite some time. But I also know that this, in and of itself, is nothing short of amazing.
Conan and I (despite our laughable blogging names) are small people – small, weak people who play on computers all day. We thought he might be a good programmer when he grew up. But we had no expectations that he would take his first steps during the sixth month.
And this is why we are starting this blog. We’ve been watching Boodle very carefully the last six months. We have noted his milestones as well as the cute little things he just picked up somehow. We’d like to share this information with other parents who may be wondering if there are babies out there like their baby. And we’d like to hear from them too, so we know the answer ourselves.