About a week ago I was on twitter and saw some tweets from my good friend Laurel (@Optimom) discussing children and anxiety. At first I just followed, but after 10 minutes I jumped in and asked “Is there a difference between a mama’s boy and anxiety?”.
What happened after that started an onslaught of tweets, comments, emails and tears. Let me tell you a little about my son Joseph (aka Jojo).
He can walk into a room and everyone will have some kind of compliment on his appearance or his personality. He is FULL of life and energy, and will melt your heart. I have also come to realize that my little boy isn’t a mama’s boy at all but may be gifted. From the time he was three he started collecting things and putting them in safe places for no one to touch, things like books, backugans, pens, sticky notes and anything small and collectable. He would have the biggest tantrum if anyone touched or moved even one thing.
Currently he won’t sleep at anyone’s house, he won’t sleep in his sheets for fear of messing them up, he cannot mix his foods during dinner and changes his clothes 3-4 times a day. With all of these little quirks and many more I always had this mother’s intuition that something was different about him. OCD and ADHD had crossed my mind. I've always discussed my concerns with my family and husband, but the response is always the same, “Oh, he’s just a typical boy” or “He’ll outgrow this” or “Look at you and your husband.”
As the twitter chat continued, my friend Mara (@ChickyMara) and other moms told me to go with my instincts and follow up. As all the tweets were streaming in I felt so overwhelmed that I started to cry. Not a cry because I felt I was losing my son to this new thing I had no clue about, but a relief cry that I knew I was right all along. But more than anything I felt such support from Laurel, Mara and other amazing moms, something I never had before because no one understood what I was feeling.
I spoke with Laurel a few days later and we chatted up a storm as she guided me to a checklist she had on her site about gifted children. She felt, in her opinion, that Jojo was gifted and did not have OCD or ADHD. I reviewed the list and it all made sense. I then called his teacher and went through it with her too, and he had 75% of that list down pat. I felt a sense of relief and at the same time a sense of fear for the unknown. I still have a lot of research to do, and more checklists to go through, and possibly a doctor’s visit, but this experience has changed my life, and probably Jojo’s too.