White Poodle, Black Poodle

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

Sprite is very fortunate to have Paula, the Physicist as a mentor.
Not only does Paula share Sprite’s passion for astronomy, but she has also overcome the same learning difficulties that Sprite has and gained tertiary degrees.

Paula has been encouraging Sprite to accept the accommodations and extra support she needs and not to feel embarrassed about wearing one pink slipper when necessary.

But Sprite is still often reluctant to wear the pink slipper.
“People might say if I am clever enough to be in the gifted group I should not need any extra help” Sprite told Paula. “And if I do put on the pink slipper they might say I am faking and just looking for attention and that I can do well enough without it.
And some of the programs I was in last year have not continued this year.”

“So I wear the Can Do sandals or the Investigative grey sneakers and just try to do my assignments perfectly without any extra help but Intellectual Dabrowski brings me SO MUCH information that I cannot deal with all of it and then P’est Pour Parfait, the Perfectionist Poodle says what I have done is not good enough. He says I should have written more and that I have made spelling mistakes.
And he says to hurry because it has to be finished and handed in at the end of the lesson but not to hurry so much that I make more mistakes. And I get so tired that I just want to stop work and go home.”

Paula identified two issues from this conversation with Sprite.
She suggested that it was time to visit Dr Ed Needs, the education consultant,
again for a review of Sprite’s progress and recommendations for further provisions.

And she asked Sprite an interesting question.
“What colour is P’est Pour Parfait, the Perfectionist Poodle?”

“He is black” Sprite told her. “His coat is always very shiny and perfectly groomed with not a hair out of place.”

The next time Paula visited was after Sprite’s appointment with Dr Ed Needs.
Sprite was convalescing at home after an operation (more about that in another post) and she was sporting a new cast. Dr Ed had organized more formal support measures for her.

“In a way it is a relief” Sprite told Paula “because now I don’t have to worry about the pink slipper. But all this testing and therapy seem to be taking so long!  How long will it be before everything is perfect?”

Sprite is very fortunate to have Paula as a mentor!
“I have found” Paula told her “that being 2E is not something that goes away or that I could outgrow. But there have been people to support me and programs to help and I have still managed to be quite successful in spite of my difficulties. I would like to share some of those things with you. One day you will be able to do the same for someone else.”
And Paula had brought a gift to cheer Sprite up. It was a white soft toy poodle wearing a purple coat and purple framed sun glasses.


“I thought it would remind you of our time we have together because of the purple coat which is like the Purple Riding Boots Mentor Program” she said.

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

“And also it will remind you about what I am going to share with you now.
Poodles can be white as well as black and, in the same way, perfectionism can be both positive and negative.
Dr. Linda Silverman says that perfectionism is the root of excellence and the driving force that propels toward the attainment of higher goals.


She also discusses perfectionism in an article Perfectionism: The Crucible of Giftedness which you can find at http://nmgifted.org/GAC%20Resources/Perfectionism%20The%20Crucible%20of%20Giftedness-SILVERMAN.pdf

Perfectionism can be a negative force when it causes you to procrastinate or prevents you from participating for fear of not excelling or if it causes you to never be satisfied with any effort and never feel that you have done well enough.

Some people say that no human can ever be perfect or create anything which is perfect because this is an attribute only of the Divine. In fact artists from Eastern traditions have been known to purposely include a slight flaw in their work.

That is why White Poodle is wearing sunglasses – so that he will not dazzle himself with his own brilliance!
White Poodle is here to remind you that it is great to strive for excellence and to attain the ecstasy of being totally in the state of Flow described by Csikszentmihalyi in 1990.
But White Poodle is also cautioning you to be gentle with yourself and not let the negative aspects of perfectionism rob you of your joy.



This is a post for the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum May Blog hop Perfectionism and Other Gifted/2E Quirks.
To read posts from others please go to


Pleading the Pink Slipper

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

“You remember how Wistful Black Dog said I should blame forgetting to acknowledge the Psych Owl Ogist in the presentation on my learning difficulties” said Sprite
“He said that I should Plead the Pink Slipper. What did he mean by that?”

Dr Ed Needs, the Education Consultant, has given recommendations for Sprite’s education using the Feetspeak and De Bono’s 6 Action Shoes method of planning.

It includes opportunities for her to be accelerated in some subjects (do the most sensible thing brown brogues), to undertake research projects in her areas of passionate interest (grey sneakers) to have time with a mentor (purple riding boots) and to participate in some formal gifted withdrawal programs (blue formal shoes) at the same time as she receives the support she needs for her areas of weakness (the plaster cast and other aids) and the social/emotional and pastoral care issues will be addressed (pink slippers)

This means sometimes using Combinations of the De Bono 6 Action Shoes and Sprite wearing a different type of shoe on each foot. Sometimes she wears a Blue Formal shoe or a Grey Sneaker on her right foot and a Pink Slipper on her left foot.

Pink Slipper action planning leads to programs which take into consideration doing what is caring and compassionate and paying attention to feelings and sensitivities.
The possible Pink Slipper programs for Sprite could include programs that focus on social / emotional needs, pastoral and spiritual care and coping strategies. They could also be service clubs, environmental concern groups and fundraising programs.
Some of the programs are very helpful and necessary as support programs but most of them do not actually offer curriculum content.
The pink slippers could also represent special provisions such as additional time to complete a task or dictating to a scribe.

Sprite loves her De Bono 6 Actions Shoes Pink Slippers and has several pairs of them. She keeps a pair at school and has some at home. But she is quite self conscious about wearing just one pink slipper.

Sprite’s Can Do Adjustable Velcro strap sandals are not part of the De Bono 6 Action Shoes set but they provide the necessary adaptability and flexibility. Sprite likes the Can Do Sandals because they allow her to fit in and hide her difficulties so that she appears to be an average student.


Image Jo Freitag


There are some times that Sprite cannot cope with wearing two Blue Formal Shoes, two Grey Sneakers or even two Can Do Adjustable Sandals and needs to wear a pink slipper on her left foot.

There are times when wearing one pink slipper is obviously the wisest and most suitable choice; for example when she needs the provisions and care of the Pink Slipper programs in order to be able to master the challenges of Blue Formal Shoes or Grey Sneaker Programs.
Sometimes one Pink Slipper is actually part of the modifications recommended by Dr Ed Needs using the S.C.A.M.P.E.R. method https://spritessite.wordpress.com/2014/11/15/new-shoes/


Image Jo Freitag


Sometimes Sprite decides herself that she will ignore her embarrassment and wear one pink slipper.
At times it is because she rightly knows that she will not be able to manage without it.
She will often wear one pink slipper when going into a new program or class as an indication to the teacher that she may not be able to manage all the formal requirements and may need modifications

On other occasions it is her perfectionism and anxiety that prompt her to wear one pink slipper so that she has an ready-made excuse if her performance is not up to expectations..

At times she just wants to avoid taking risks, challenges, boring tasks or difficult situations and wears one pink slipper to garner sympathy and claim exemption. I call that Pleading the Pink Slipper.

Because Sprite’s intelligence allows her to compensate for her learning difficulties she does not appear to need any extra provisions or remediation.  It is sometimes difficult to tell whether Sprite is ‘Pleading the Pink Slipper’ and it can cause misunderstandings with her teachers. She has been accused of faking.
It is something that Sprite wrestles with too. Imposter syndrome can kick in and make her feel that maybe she is not really gifted. If she really were gifted maybe she should not need any extra provisions. She mistakenly feels that she should just put on the Can Do Adjustable sandals, blend in and manage as well as she can without any concessions.
Fortunately her Purple Riding Boots mentor, Paula the Physicist, has overcome similar difficulties and encourages Sprite to accept help when needed and not to be concerned about wearing one pink slipper.

People who know Sprite well would know that if she is wearing one pink slipper it is usually because she really does need it or feels that she needs it and has had to overcome her reservations and embarrassment to do so.

It is much easier to tell when she is Pleading the Pink Slipper at home.
A few days ago I overheard Sprite talking to Intellectual Dabrowski.
“I am just going to sit here and read a novel and eat chocolate.”
“What do you mean I am malingering?”
“It really does hurt!”
“It is just a coincidence that there is homework to do and I don’t want to do my chores.”

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag