Wednesday, August 13, 2014

An exploration.

As most regular visitors know by now, and as a heads-up for those who might be new here, I write in a very... present-tense, stream of consciousness style.  This entry is likely to be a bit different than others, though, as it is an exploration of self and my experience as an underground gifted child. I'm never brief enough for these things, but I'm hoping to compress this to less than a giant Wall Of Text.

photo by Sarah Klockars-Clauser
As a small child, nothing was really amiss.  I was definitely “more” than my brothers were for the same ages, but honestly, it was the seventies, and nobody was really feeling too into diagnosing whatever was up with their kids, it was more about training them to not be that way.  When I arrived in kindergarten, I was one of two children who could already read.  This wasn't any particular oddity, as I was the eldest, and there was no baseline that said four year olds shouldn't be reading. Because it was kindergarten in the early eighties, it wasn't a big deal.

Friday, August 1, 2014

But what about friends?!?

Raising a gifted child is sort of like opening a can of peanut brittle.  Is it really peanut brittle, or is it the can with the snake inside?  As I'm getting farther and farther into this glorious mess, however, I'm finding that I have the best success relating to Mad Natter when I treat him, to the best of my memory, how I would have wanted to be treated as a child.  Mercifully, as a gifted adult, my memory is incredibly long (yes, I do remember the rock The Law Mom's dog used to pee on when we were four, why do you ask?), so this isn't quite as hard as it could be.

The thing that seems to weird people out is that between Mad Natter being gifted, and his being homeschooled, people are convinced he'll never have any friends.  He's "different" by design, and therefore needs to be put into a classroom full of age-peers so he can make friends. Because without that, there would be no friendships.  Ever.  But, stop and think.  How many of your friends - can you count them? - did you meet in school?  Now, how many of those friendships were genuine, and are lasting?  Because I have maybe three people in my life now that I met at school and not outside of it.  Three.  And that's a guess, and putting a couple people in there because I'm not quite sure where I met them after all.



When I think of the people who are truly my friends: The Law Mom, Stellar Mama, AngusChick, Daizy, KD, Mrs Warde... I didn't meet any of these people in school.  I met one before, four after, and one in University.  The friendships that have had the most impact on my life are not the ones forged in the schoolroom, where I sat being the odd kid out, the "friend of last resort" or the friend of the new kid - until they found 'cooler' friends than Care.  The friendships that matter were made on my own terms, outside of forced interaction, and in the context of living my life.  These are people who have the same struggles, the same interests, the same... Almost the same sort of soul.  We get on well because we do.  We can not speak to each other for months or even years... and pick up one day as if we'd only just talked the day before.

So what kind of friendships do I want for my son?  The kind that are forced, and don't last beyond the school building?  Or the ones that really last?  The ones with people who genuinely care about you, and think of you fondly?  There is a reason that Mad Natter still has Skype chats with Girl Friday, even though she and Stellar Mama moved across the continent six months ago.  They get along. They like each other.  They miss each other, and I'm not going to encourage Mad Natter to make friends with whomever he's the same age as... and not encourage him to keep his friendship with Girl Friday - where there's a genuine connection.  Friendship has a few things in common with childbirth - you can't rush it, and something beautiful is waiting for you if you take care of it.  And I'm not going to force friendships.  It never led to anything good for me - quite the opposite - and I doubt it would lead to good things for Mad Natter either.  And so, let childhood run its course.  Let parents matter more than peers.  Let your kids find their own friends, don't force them into superficial relationships that only matter in counting how many kids are coming for a party.  Let them pick their own friends, and let them develop real friendships.

Now, mind, if your child picks up friends like mine does dirt, that's different - it's the choice of the child, and not the number of friends, that's important.  Let them move at their own speed, to their own comfort.  It will all work out in the end.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Injury. Interesting times.

In our house, while everything is crazy, it all falls into a kind of routine-crazy.  We do our schoolwork in the morning after we watch some Magic School Bus or Monster Math Squad, once that's done we'll watch a couple videos while we eat lunch, then go out to play (or stay in to play depending on the weather). We come in a bit ahead of dinnertime to cook and calm, and then we have dinner, relax (for variable definitions of the word), and then bedtime.  In that time, there's a lot of running, a lot of jumping, a lot of excited playing.

This week, after our schoolwork on Saturday, we went out to the store on foot.  I pulled Mad Natter in the wagon, and we went down the block.  When we came home, we planted potatoes, and I weeded the garden.  That's when I noticed, my back was really sore.  I attributed it to all the bending for gardening, and to pulling a fifty pound child in a wagon up a hill.  It was uncomfortable, but I deal with discomfort all the time anyway.  It didn't go away.

I woke up Sunday feeling like death warmed over.  My back was sore, a radiating pain across the entirety of my lower back.  Couldn't stand up properly, could bend at the waist, nothing.  It was all kind of bad, and it didn't get better.  Monday was worse.  Today, it is still ongoing.  

We don't know what's wrong with me, but it's at times like this that my family really shines.  Skeeve has picked up the slack for all the things I can't do, and Mad Natter has made a point of checking on me to make sure my hot packs are appropriately placed.  We've been cobbling daily living together, and if it continues, we're looking at possibly having school days starting on the couch, so that there's as little jostling as can be had.  But, we still make it work.  Mad Natter is understanding that sometimes his mama's body believes it is its own enemy, and when that happens, his mama needs some extra help. He's learning how to work together as a family to get done the things we need to get done even with one of us on the fritz.  

It isn't a standard homeschool lesson, no.  But, it is a very important lesson all the same - working together, taking care of the people who matter to you, and how to keep things working, even when things don't go to plan.  I'll take it.  Every time.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Parenting the Gifted: No limits on trouble.

An acquaintance told me earlier this week that with gifted kids, it seems there is no minimum age, nor maximum age, for any kind of trouble. I found that out myself, the hard way, last week. And, since this blog hop happens at the perfect time to share, I felt that you know, our story? Maybe it'll help others. Either for safety, or to feel less crappy about themselves. Either way, it's something I felt I needed to share.

Ages ago - just ages ago - I read a blog post about a little girl. She was three years old, and was crushed and killed under her little dresser. I have a climber of a child, and the first thing I did when I read this story was to check all my bookshelves. We have six different bookshelves in the house, and I had bolted them all to the walls before my son started walking. They were in tight, everything was okay.

Now at the time, I didn't think anything more of it. I didn't for years. Not until earlier this week. You see, I have a giant dresser in my bedroom. It, alone, weighs 140 pounds. It has a television on top of it, bumping that up to a good 200 (it's an old tube television!). Then, all the clothes in it. I didn't think much about it, after all, that's a HUGE dresser, and I can't move it by myself, how could a child? And even more, what nearly six year old child - especially one who loves logic as much as Mad Natter does - is climbing a dresser anyway?

That night, there was a bang. A HUGE bang, that sounded like someone had fallen down the stairs, even through headphones. Turns out, Mad Natter, while he was supposed to be using his hour in bed before lights out to read and play quietly, decided to try to climb up that dresser. It tipped. He fell, it fell on top of him, and the television hit his head on the way down.

Mercifully, the physics of the situation were in his favor. He fell next to the bed, and the dresser fell across the bed to the floor. He was pinned, yes, but by drawers alone, and not the full crushing weight of the dresser. The television knocked him on the head, giving him a goose egg and a scrape... then rolled off to the side. Skeeve lifted the dresser off our precious son, while I dragged him out from underneath. He was conscious, but obviously very shaken up. I checked him over for injury. He seemed fine, but very sedate. I called my mother - does he need to see someone NOW, or will the morning be early enough? We took him in to emerg, just to be safe.

Mercifully, he has come out of this with two scrapes, one scratch, and a few bruises. No broken bones, no concussion.

This is all I needed. This is the "huge" investment of time and money we needed to make this dresser safe. It cost me $7.30 after tax, and thinking we were safe and not spending that $7? It nearly cost my son his life. I thought we were safe. I thought there was no way he could ever knock over that dresser. It was well over 200 pounds! He's not even 6 yet, and barely over 45 pounds soaking wet! It didn't matter.

We're all readers here - and likely parents. Please. Take my experience to heart, I beg you. For under $10 and 15 minutes per, you can anchor your bookcases - and dressers -  to the wall. You can keep your most precious creations from tragic ends - no matter how old they are. Anchor the bookcases. Anchor your dresser. That piece of furniture in that room your kids never go in? Anchor that too. Please. Let my experience be the closest you ever come to this kind of disaster. Raise your precocious, and keep them safe.  Remember, with children like this?  There is no minimum age for disaster... but there isn't a maximum, either.


This post has been a part of the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum's July Blog Hop: Gifted Parenting.  To read more viewpoints on the topic, check the sidebar, or click here!


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Video Games and Yellow Blankets

I have memories, beautiful memories, of a big yellow fleece-ish picnic blanket, it had satiny-lined edges with zig-zag stitching, and I'd go out in the summer, put out that big yellow blanket on the dark green grass, and park myself there all day.  I'd have a drink, and a book or four, and that was the place to find me.  I miss it.  Even thinking of it is peaceful, and I am suddenly left with the desire to share that experience with Mad Natter.  Except... the big yellow blanket is twenty years gone, and my child would sooner nail his foot to the pavement than hold still long enough to read a book.

No, this year... Summer reading for me is an air conditioned bedroom long after bedtime, reading an old favorite or possibly an ARC for a beloved author....  And for Mad Natter, it's both 'work' and play.  We run school year round over here.  We take our breaks when we want them, for as long as we need them, but we do have school days in July and August as well as most of the rest of the months of the year.  So, yes, some summer reading will be assigned, but...

Summertime is perfect for stealth reading. We go out for walks, and Mad Natter reads the signs to me.  We go for hikes, and he has to read the trail markers.  His free time spent playing video games?  All involve reading - at least the menus, and usually the dialog as well.  Now that he's gotten truly into Minecraft, he's found the Minecraft Manuals.  He got the Creations Manual not long ago, and pores over it daily.  He still enjoys his TAG, which reads books to him, but he's starting to enjoy reading stories to me, as well.  And so, while it's not the reading of my own childhood, I'm going to say it's still a wonderful thing. 

We have a trip coming up - in the next few days, actually.  As we travel, there will be road signs, storefronts, highway notifications, and a car full of books.  I have hope that maybe some of these will buy me a few moments' peace, though I kind of doubt it.  But hey, at least he's reading - and all reading is good reading, especially for a five year old boy.

This blog is part of the Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page inaugural Blog Hop on Summer Reading.  To read more blogs in this hop, visit this Blog Hop at www.hoagiesgifted.org/blog_hop_summer_reading.htm

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Twice Exceptionality, when just one exception isn’t enough!

Giftedness.  It's a pretty known phenomena.  People don't like to admit it exists, because egalitarianism, but everyone knows it does, deep down.  That some people are just crazy smart.  But they don't know any of those people.  Nope.  Like foxes. Everyone knows foxes exist, and can generally recognize them if they need to, but nobody ever sees one in the wild.

Twice-exceptionality...  Everyone recognizes a fox on sight, generally. But when asked, does anyone know what the fox really says?  (I guarantee you that most gifted

and twice-exceptional kids do know what a fox says - if they're interested in animals, anyhow.)  That's the 2E - that fox's voice.  When you tell anyone that your child is twice exceptional, the first response is usually "oh... ouch."  This is largely because the only people you're really telling are people who also have 2E children, and they've come to your house bearing booze and cupcakes on a really crummy day.
Talking to professionals...  That is much less easy.  Mad Natter has a secondary diagnosis, and we are looking into a tertiary as well.  Skeeve and I both have executive function issues, and it looks like in addition to smarts, we've passed on a few other things.  Telling any care providers that we suspect Mad Natter is twice-exceptional usually goes over like a lead balloon.  Why?  Because most people have barely studied up on giftedness, much less twice-exceptionality - and care providers, like everyone else, doesn't like to have someone pop up in their office and know more about a topic they are seeking advice for than the person they're seeking that advice from.  So far, it has resulted in "boys will be boys," and 24h turnaround on an appointment for me, plus "well, we'll see..." and "what makes you think he's gifted?"  The automatic response is to put us on the defensive, having to justify that a 5 year old reading (and comprehending) chapter books, but utterly unable to focus for more than a minute or two at a time, is having challenges.

Mad Natter does not officially have the third diagnosis.  However, as every practitioner has shooed us out their door, telling us to return when Mad Natter is seven years old, they hand us paperwork.  Every time it's the same paperwork.  Sometimes it's two different things - one sensory - confirming to us that there is something valid in our armchair diagnosis... but no one is willing to assess for another year and change.  No matter the urgency, no matter the obvious support we bring in for that assessment and the potential diagnosis, we are getting the brush off.  He'll be fine until he's seven.  He's gifted. 

The question I'm left with is "am I seeing blowback because I dare identify myself and my child as gifted? Or am I seeing it because I'm implying that gifted children might not be 100% people-pleasers, easy children, eager learners who want nothing more than a stack of worksheets to do over an ice cream breakfast?"

Because, you see...  The twice-exceptional tend to be invisible.  They're marginalized in the classroom, under the insistence their "behavior issues" come "under control" before they are accelerated - often making their acting out worse, because of utter boredom.  They're marginalized by professionals, who have little training on the gifted population, and don't understand how gifted intensity can either mask other issues, or intensify them.  They're side-eyed in public, because they're simultaneously incredibly intense and curious... and also just inherently... 'odd.' They approach things so very differently, and are less able to mask their inherent differences, and so they... for lack of a better phrase, they 'feel' odd to others.

Trying to make the appropriate care decisions for a complicated child, understood by neither general society nor his care practitioners is exceedingly difficult.  Being brushed off time and again when you're bringing a valid concern forward is frustrating, disheartening, and maddening.  Knowing what is likely helpful for your child, and being denied the opportunity to find out if this is the case?  See above.  Knowing that if this were any other child, this would have been determined and care would be much simpler is just defeating.

Twice exceptional children (and adults!) are real.  They're out in the world at large. And when you find others, you will find help - or at least someone to listen, and bring you booze and cupcakes when you need 'em.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Welcome to the 2014 Parenting the Gifted Blog Tour! 


The Parenting the Gifted Blog Tour holds a very special place in my heart.  You see, it was the 2012 tour that led me to this post from The Younger Mrs Warde at Sceleratus Classical Academy at exactly the time I needed that post.  Two years later, I am still grateful to call Mrs Warde my friend, and at this point, a partner in crime.  That led me to Twitter's #gtchat, which led me to the Gifted Homeschooler's Forum, and to Jen, and Pamela, and Amy, and Mona...  But, I digress.

Parenting a gifted child can sometimes be as challenging as it is rewarding. That’s why for the third year in row, parents from The Well Trained Mind Message boards have created a blog tour to share wisd
om, joy, tribulations and advice. The Parenting the Gifted Blog Tour will discuss some of the most pertinent issues facing gifted education today:

On June 22nd Sceleratus Classical Academy will kick off our tour with “How a Gifted Childhood Prepared Me for Gifted Parenting”.

On June 23rd At Home in the North Woods will share “Great Expectations, four ideas for dealing with perfectionism.”

On June 24th Homeschooling: or Who’s Ever Home will write about “Following the Passions of the Gifted Child."

On June 25th Teaching My Baby to Read will feature a guest post.

On June 26th Homeschooling Hatters will discuss “Twice Exceptionality, when just one exception isn’t enough!”

On June 27th Teaching My Baby to Read will write about “Intensity Fades but doesn’t Forget.”

 A difficult thing to understand about children with high IQs is that just because they are gifted, it doesn’t mean they are easy to teach or parent. In fact, often times the opposite is true. This blog tour is written by people who understand what you’re going through. We are sending encouragement your way! So the next time you wake up at 3 AM worrying about your child, at least you’ll know that you aren’t alone.Thanks for being with us on this journey! P.S. There are still room for more posts, so if you have something on your heart that you would like to share, please email Jenny via Teachingmybabytoread at gmail dot com.For previous tours, click on the links below:


Planning Ahead

It's always nice to have a plan.  It's easier to keep tabs of what's going on if you know where you're headed.  The problem I have right now, though, is that while most homeschoolers have a plan - after grade 1 comes grade 2, and after that comes grade 3 - I really can't plan like that. What I've learned this year, working our way through subjects linearly, and at Mad Natter's pace, is that Mad Natter will finish a year's curriculum in between three and six months time.

Now, in general, I don't have any issue with this.  But thinking longer term, I need to sort out what I want to do.  Do I want to continue accelerating him, allowing him free reign to work at his own speed, or do I want to work on giving more depth to his topics - things like additional science experiments, more books for reading, more exploration for history...  Both ways have their advantages, not the least of which being that I can use the library extensively for creating depth, but I can't do that quite as well for acceleration, and by extension, there is less money spent on that option as well.  The problem is... How does one find (for example) accurate anatomy texts for a five year old?  Accurate texts exist, but he's not (and I'm definitely not) ready for discussion of fetal pigs, so... Where do you find resources both accurate and current as well as appropriate?

Needless to say, this is a discussion I've brought Skeeve into.  He needs to be involved in this as well - even though his input generally boils down to "well, whatever you think will work..."  It's nice to have a sounding board, it helps me to talk out my ideas.  So, while these conversations usually are "well, you know what you need to do to stay sane, Mad Natter hates repetition..." followed by my objections to both sides (money on one, and my time on the other), and his looking at me like "dude, your time PLUS the frustration of Mad Natter digging in his heels over the repetition!!" it's generally helpful for me to have them.

Who needs a tee?
So, as much as I want to take my time and explore the animal kingdom, the contents of outer space, memorization of basic math facts, sweet little short stories, and fun finger plays with my little boy...  I have to recognize that he doesn't want to take time.  Time spent reviewing is time wasted - he could be spending that time working on something NEW.  Mad Natter has never been one to take anything slowly.  As soon as he figured out he could roll, he went for hands and knees - then to crawl, and then to pull up and stand, and then walk... all within about a five month span - he learned to roll around four months old, and was walking (not well, but he was trying, dangit!) by 9 months, so I'm not sure why this surprises me.his education, and not mine - no matter how much he may teach me - and his voice should be the one honored above others.  This is how there get to be five year old fourth graders, you know.
And honestly, this is, in the end,

Monday, May 19, 2014

Herding Cats: Trying to Manage the Insanity

I've been kicking this post around an awful lot recently.  I've known this blog hop was coming, and I thought I maybe had some good ideas to share.  Inevitably that's where things take a definitive left-turn - which is exactly what happened.  I'm looking at the topic for this hop, and honestly?  I'm anxious to see what everyone else has to say, because I'm about set to rip out my hair over here.

But, as I stopped to really think about it, I've realized there are a bunch of things we already do - things that might help other families.  And so, here we are again, full circle, with a bunch of suggestions for things that will hopefully help other people.

Tips and Tricks From Our House:

1) Routine.  In our house, routine is *essential.*  Not the scheduled to death, what time am I allowed to pee kind of routine, but...  We wake up in the morning, cuddle, get dressed and have breakfast.  Then we watch  Magic School Bus or Bill Nye The Science Guy, do our schoolwork, have lunch, and have free play.  On sunny days we go outside, on gross days we watch a movie.  I start dinner while Mad Natter plays whatever games he wants to play, then the TV goes off from dinner until bedtime at 7:30.  Lots of time to change things up, but there's also a sense of knowing what comes next day to day.

2) Physical activity.  My life is SO much easier when Mad Natter has had time to get out of the house and run.  Or run through the house even.  Jump on his trampoline - ANYTHING.  If he's able to burn off some of his excess energy, it makes a giant difference in how our day is going to go.

3) Scheduled breaks: In our homeschool day, I have set aside break times.  Math, which is usually his most mentally stimulating subject, is followed *immediately* by jumping on his trampoline.  Then we do handwriting and spelling.  Since spelling also takes sustained mental effort, it is followed by stretching.  After stretching is (depending on the day) a science experiment, history, or logic - all of which are considered "fun" subjects, and then we have reading.  Reading is followed by a 6m flat dash through the house to the Lone Ranger Theme.  It helps keep him from exploding along the way, and I'll take anything that helps there.

4) Anticipation.  This is one I learned over long times of failing.  I have to anticipate overwhelm, melting down, impulsiveness, and sensory needs - this means that when I go out, I have my big Blackhawks shoulder bag with me.  This has a ton of happy meal toys (they have to go somewhere!), a sensory brush, a book, a drink, a snack, coloring pages, a couple pull ups and a spare pair of pants inside, because every trip out of the house has to be planned like a war without that bag.  It ensures I have the tools to cope with most possible needs Mad Natter could have in a public space that aren't immediately easily met.  Things like reactive hypoglycemia. "Mooo-om, I'm thirsty!" Forgetting until the last minute that I can't read minds and whoops, potty-mergency.  Need to put him in the cart so I can actually move through the store without his pulling everything off shelves, or running off into the mall, here's something to DO while you're sitting.  I also have learned that a grown up jacket does well as a makeshift tent over the end of a department store cart, as is allowing Mad Natter to "steer" the cart - he can sit in the basket and imperiously point to where we need to go.

Of all the possible things to have in terms of tips, I find anticipation is the big one.  If I can head off a meltdown, the entire rest of the day goes much more smoothly.  If I forget my bag... I'd better be under five minutes in the store, 'cause otherwise I'm going to regret not having it, and wish I'd turned around for it.


You'll notice I have very little in tips and tricks for focus, and a lot for energy.  This is because it has been extremely easy for us to find ideas for how to cope with Mad Natter's sensory issues and his inexhaustible energy.  What has been less easy has been things like finding ways to deal with his inability to focus on one task from start to finish, his inability to listen to a full set of instructions (even if the instructions are "read the addition equation.  Use the same numbers to make a subtraction equation"), and his sudden flip from fine to R.A.G.E.  When you have a young boy with suspected 2E issues relating to things like ADHD, it is neigh impossible to find the resources you need to help.  Or, at least, it has been in our experience.  Every doctor we've seen has either misdiagnosed, or told us to come back when he's seven. They send us out of their offices with information on ADHD, but not anything to do with how to manage what they seem to be quietly telling me without pulling out all my hair before Mad Natter reaches seven.  It's been a matter of observation to get this far.  Getting farther...  That seems to be my challenge, and I'm truly hoping there is someone else out there (maybe even on this hop!) who has been right where I'm standing and can pass along some tips and tricks of their own to ensure that I am not putting away more wine than is good for... well, two or three of me.  ^_~

This post has been a part of the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum's May Blog Hop: Tips, Toys, Tricks, and Tools for Gifted and Twice Exceptional Kids.  Please check out the other bloggers on the tour - they have a wealth of great advice!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Grief and the Gifted.

I did one just like this ages ago when Mad Natter was still my Monkey, and my uncle passed away - so, a year ago now.  Almost precisely.

Now it's my turn.  This past week, my circle of homeschooling families around the world was rocked by a tragedy in which one of us lost her young son - the same age as Mad Natter.  This alone is an unbelievable tragedy, particularly in light of the fact that this little boy's elder sibling escaped the tragedy that killed the younger, meaning mother very nearly lost both.  Being on the outskirts of this, I was mostly able to keep a distance from it, knowing how these things effect me.  It was very difficult to sleep, particularly once it occurred to me what the child must have gone through.  But, I was going to be okay.

The following day, Mad Natter started a new spiral of intensity.  Each of these lasts about two weeks, and by the end has me wondering if I'm maybe not supposed to be a mother after all.  It's extremely intense (obviously), stressful, and it tears at the very fabric of our family, trying to keep everything together well enough to actually parent... and exist as a person simultaneously.

Then the day after that, I found out that a woman I'd known the last five plus years had passed away.  Nobody knows when, why, how, anything.  We have a vague guesstimate range, we know that the police have contacted her mother, but nothing more.  With no answers, not even to the basic fundamental question "what happened?" I have been a wreck.  Dealing with the intensity spiral plus the death of a little one was going to be difficult.  Add in losing a friend, and I'm now sunk.

I can feel it happening.  My imaginational OE kicked in the first night, as I was picturing scenarios without intent.  I was trying to sleep, but I kept thinking what this poor little boy must have gone through.  How it would be fortunate if he'd knocked himself unconscious in the escape attempt... oh, but if he did, he might have been able to escape if he hadn't.  Over and over, my mind went through scenarios, and by 4:30 in the morning, I was so exhausted and wrung out and unable to sleep that I dragged (literally, as he was a foot over my head) Mad Natter out of his bed, put him in mine, and was finally able to rest.  During the following day, there was exhaustion of course, but also a very sharp increase in my perfectionism.  I needed things to be just right, so I could internally deal with what was going on.  But things weren't just right.  With Mad Natter in the picture, things are never just so.

That night, I was going to be okay. Mad Natter crawled into bed with me just because, I finished reading a good book... and then I looked on Facebook, just to make sure.  Only... Something was odd.  On Tuesday, a friend of mine had been posting, and she put up a batman/catman pic that made me laugh and share... and that night people were posting sentimental goodbyes.  Excuse me?  I panicked.  I wrote, apologizing for being creepifying, but what the heck?  And then did some digging while I waited.  I found out about 4 in the morning, again, that a friend had passed away.  I'm not going to pretend I'm some kind of super-friend and that everyone I meet is the closest friend I've ever had.  I knew Poxy casually, and over the course of five plus years.  For a person like me - who usually has only three to five "friends" and a whole ton of acquaintances - though, being a passing friend is closer than it seems.

BAM. Intellectual OE in overdrive.  When? What happened? How? How *could* this happen? She was only 31, how do you die at 31?!  The next several hours were spent looking through police blotters, google searching, and trying to find anything there was to find to help me understand.  But there was nothing to find.  My mind is spiraling.  I can't find anything, but I need to.  I can't stop imagining, but I need to.  I can't stop the overwhelm that is tugging at my heels, but I need to.  And the first two combine to make the overwhelm even worse, and if I'm very lucky, I'll be able to unwind enough over the next few days to be actually able to function in the next week.

Grief winds me tight. My OEs kick in, and they run in circles, never fully satisfied even under the best scenarios, and my edges start to fray.  And then there is the stress of raising a child even slightly outside "the norm" and the bindings I use to keep myself within an 'average' range start to split, and I feel like I'm going to fly apart, and I don't know how to handle it, or how to make things better.  And what's all the more difficult is that there really isn't a way to make it all better. I just have to ride it out, try to meet the needs those OEs kick up, and hope like hell I can get myself back to reasonable before I have to deal with people in society again.  Maybe I'll play a quick game or two, turn on a movie for Mad Natter, and read a book until I have to cook dinner.  At this point, anything that helps will be welcomed.  Just until I get back into my own variation of normal.