I have three VERY different kids.
If you read this regularly, you know my oldest son is severely dyslexic. He has a host of other issues that go along with that, including a high IQ that seems to be more of a burden than a blessing most of the time. He is intensely curious, about all kinds of odd things. He has an intense desire to go anywhere in the world outside the United States.
My middle child, the only girl, is beautiful and sweet (when her evil tween twin isn't in charge). She has lots of friends, plays travel soccer and can master any sport she tries. She sounds like a boy a lot of the time, the result of having two brothers. She can hold her own in any situation.
My youngest son is now 10. He is the one giving me a run for my money right now. Constantly bouncing or throwing a ball, he loves sports. He plays whatever is in season and baseball all year round. He appears to be a gifted athlete. He commands the court or field, typically the high scorer on the team. Watching him play sports is a joy! It makes me happy to see him play so well, so effortlessly. In between football and basketball seasons this winter we realized he gets restless when he isn't playing games. Practices burn energy, but he is internally competitive. He seems to need a game to focus his energy on winning, to satisfy his internal need to compete.
My son's athletic drive and need to compete might lead you to believe he will be the proverbial "jock". However, in addition to his athletic ability and competitive drive this boy is also a gifted student. His standardized test scores have been nearly perfect the past two years. School work comes very easily to him. This is the boy who can’t get the blender put away because he has taken it apart to figure out how it works. I overheard him yesterday explaining to a basketball buddy how opposable thumbs make it possible for humans to dribble. Most people don’t realize how smart he is. The attention he gets outside of home is primarily for his very visible athletic accomplishments.
Here comes the run for my money part of this. I need to maximize both sides of his abilities, both the physical and the mental. I owe this to my son. I don’t know what the future will hold for him in school or in sports. What I know is a sobering realization for me as a mom. If I spend a fraction of the time pursuing my “gifted” son’s abilities that I did remediating my dyslexic son’s disability, I could end up with an Einstein. I didn’t work when my oldest was diagnosed with dyslexia. I spent countless hours driving near and far, seeking out the best programs, tutors, and therapists. It was necessary and I am glad I did it.
My son on the other end of the “special needs” continuum deserves nothing less than this commitment from me. I need to commit to helping my youngest son make the most of his academic abilities and talents. I am working full time now, so it will be different, but that is okay. This son’s situation is different, so his needs will be different, too. It is hard to meet all the needs of each of your children and be everything to everyone. However, I know, as I suspect most of you do, that I can do this for my son.
All three of my children are unique and different from each other. As their mother, it is up to me to support each of them the very best I can.
I can’t be the only mom of three very different kids.
Is anyone else grappling with meeting the needs of each of your kids?