What do you do with a Gifted Child? (PART ONE)

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By Melissa Hartley-Smythe

Moms get a bad rap. Whether they're leaving their kids in the car for a job interview, or leaving their kids at the kindergarten to get a facial, it doesn't matter: There will always be someone to judge mothers, always with the handcuffs, and the arrests.

My little guy Seevers (3) is autistic. We were on a flight home to Poighte (pron. Puffty), New Hampshire from a two-week visit at my parents' in Yubbadoo Creek, Montana.

I was already very highly-strung and feeling quite writerly, and emotionally intelligent, because little Seevers was making clear to me that he did not want to get on any damn airplane. He screamed at the Southwest Airlines check-in staff so loud that two desk employees required ear napkins to wipe the blood off. Then, after the manager came over, I had to tweet about the fact that they were not going to let Seevers board before we were finally let on the plane.


When we were seated on the plane, it became clear to me - despite my protests - that I would be five rows back from my son. This meant that if Seevers needed to bite somebody, he would be biting a total stranger. The man in the seat next to Seevers was reading on an iPad.

"Whasss...tat?" Seevers said, as he reached over and touchtyped the iPad at speed with both sets of fingers, shutting down five apps so quickly with his prematurely-gifted hand-eye coordination that the man lost two weeks' worth of work.


I want to stress that I'm not a bad person. Just a few weeks ago, I went on a date with an N-word. When I say N-word, I don't mean African-American, just to be clear. I mean a full-on N-word. From Rhodesia! You can read about it in my next column: "I slept with a 14-year-old: How come these black kids look so old?"




Anyway, I found my frustration building as the man looked at Seevers and said:

"This is an iPad."

"I know," said Seevers. "See how I accessed your switcher dock and killed all your processes?" His little eyes sparkled at the wonder of the technology.

"That wasn't very nice," the man said, and I could feel my eyes burning with hatred for his condescension. "Do you want to fix it for me?"

No, said Little Seevers, but just in his mind, and he stared out the window and went into his "cutester catatonia".

Read Part Two here.