Braced for Paradox

I found the Dabrowski Dogs preparing excitedly for the dog competitions at the Spring Agricultural Shows.

Psycho Motor Dabrowski was practising for all the agility events – scaling the high wall, taking a long jump into a swimming pool, running figure of eights through bending poles and crawling through tunnels. He was having so much fun that after he completed each exercise he bounced several times, barked loudly and chased his tail. And he knew the audience would love to see him do that.

Sensual Dabrowski was hoping to be able to compete in the trials for retriever dogs. With his highly developed sense of smell he is excellent at finding and retrieving objects.

Intellectual Dabrowski was preparing for the sheep dog trials by herding twitter birds into an empty sprite can. He was carefully triangulating and calculating the fastest route and deciding exactly when he should give a bark or hold them with the working dog stare. It was Intellectual’s opinion that the dog was the one who instigated all the moves and that the handler was just there for the sake of appearance and to collect the trophy for him.

Imaginational Dabrowski had seen people parachuting into the main arena during the agricultural shows and was happily daydreaming about how much fun it would be to swoop in as Delta Dog  on his hang glider.

Emotional Dabrowski, the Drama Queen, was getting ready for the conformation classes. She had been to the Paws for Poise mobile dog grooming salon  several times and was now parading in front of the mirror, posing in the show stance and showing off her beautifully groomed coat, well-trimmed claws and sparkling white teeth. She was also experimenting with different facial expressions; trying to gauge which would be most appealing to the judges.

Then I noticed that Sprite had the collars of P’est Pour Parfait, the black Perfectionist Poodle and The White Perfectionist Poodle attached to a single lead and she was trying to control them as they endeavoured to head in opposite directions.

“What are you doing?” I asked

“They want to go in the class for A Pair of Dogs” she said.

“That class is called the Brace Class” I said. “The dogs are supposed to look as identical as possible – the same height and colour etc. – and they are supposed to move smoothly in step with each other on the single lead.”

“Oh!” said Sprite. “Maybe I didn’t understand what they wanted. I thought they said they wanted to go in the class for a Pair of Dogs but maybe they said they wanted to go in a class for a Paradox. That would make more sense because Paula told me Perfectionism is a paradox – it can be both good and bad”

We talked about the paradox of perfectionism in the post Black poodle, white poodle

The Perfect Quirky GHF blog wheel

Image Jo Freitag

Image Jo Freitag

Sprite, Retweet the Twitter bird and White Poodle joined me in visiting all the posts on the GHF May blog hop Perfectionism and other Gifted/2E quirks.

 Gifted kids can be pretty quirky, and one of the most common of these quirks is perfectionism. In these posts, several of our bloggers share their experiences – for better or for worse – with perfectionism and other gifted characteristics in their own families. 

“It is usually a blog hop for me; but there are more than 15 posts to visit so it was a blog wheel for me this time” Sprite said.

We did wish to leave an image of a note containing our comments at each blog we visited and had even prepared a little card and signed it

Kind regards
Jo, Sprite, Retweet and the White Poodle
But found we could only leave text messages with no option to add a picture.

So here are the posts we visited and the comments we left or tried to leave.

A Touch of Perfectionism ~ Gifted Unschooling (Amy Harrington)
Contrary to popular opinion, I don’t view perfectionism as a negative. I see motivation, determination and unwavering focus as an asset. Perhaps our unschooling philosophy helps shape my full glass view of the relentless drive that is perfection. Perspective is everything. Espousing a positive view of perfectionism keeps one aspirational until completion.
Thanks for a great post, Amy!
We loved these phrases
‘healthy perfectionists’
‘Perfection is subjective’
‘Success doesn’t come from mediocrity’
Kind regards
Jo, Sprite, Retweet and the White Poodle

A Very Quirky Life ~ Homeschooling Hatters (Care Martin)

Mad Natter and I actually share quite a few of the same quirks – we sleep better when we can hear someone else breathing, we don’t do things if we can’t do them well, we will watch the same movie over and over, repeating the dialogue as we go… I think that might just be us, though.
Anyway. Some of the more common quirks that we see here in our Mooselandia home are fairly widespread amongst other like-type people.

My comment:
Great post!
Movement like pacing or juggling does seem to be necessary for many gifted people to do their best thinking and creating
Kind regards
Jo, Sprite, Retweet and the White Poodle

Asynchronous and Awkward ~ Madeline’s Musings (Madeline Goodwin)

For me, and for other gifted and twice-exceptional young adults, it is asynchrony in our development which turns our abilities into challenges. It is when several aspects of ourselves are in different places, leaving us in a constant state of tug-of-war. My observation is that executive function tends to lag behind, learning ability shoots way ahead, and emotional regulation requires control to prevent it from swinging back and forth like a pendulum. Sensory processing, motor skills, and social skills vary. This can lead to some awkward situations.
Madeline, thank you so much for sharing your experience of asynchrony and all the aspects that made you thankful!  You are a great role model for gifted and 2E students.
Kind regards
Jo, Sprite, Retweet and the White Poodle

Beautifully Sensitive ~ Every Day Blessings (Tabitha Ferreira)

There are four of them living in my house. Four beautiful, creative, curious, and extremely sensitive children who live under our roof It really is a blessing, most of the time.

What a beautiful description of your children’s sensitivities, Tabitha!
Films and news broadcasts can be really distressing.
Kind regards
Jo, Sprite, Retweet and the White Poodle

Happy Quirks of Perfectionism in a Young Asynchronous Boy ~ The Cardinal House (Carissa Leventis-Cox)

When my 2 year old son discovered that he wrote one letter of his name backwards, he threw himself on the floor and howled for 30 minutes. It was an unbelievable and uncontrollable temper tantrum. Nothing I did consoled him and I felt just as defeated. But since that first outburst, I have learned that perfectionism comes with happy quirks too and we often lose sight of these. Let us remember that by celebrating these happy quirks, we allow our children to accept and delight in one of the fundamental parts of their being.

Lovely description of the positive aspects of perfectionism!
Kind regards
Jo, Sprite, Retweet and the White Poodle

Healthy Perfectionism and How to Encouragement ~ Through a Stronger Lens (Nicole Linn)

Healthy perfectionism fuels the Olympic athlete, the best-selling novelist, and the mathematician who spends years proving a theory. Embrace it. Teach your children that mistakes are hurdles, not roadblocks, and teach them to leap.

Thank you Nikki! You have given some very helpful practical advice here and valuable links to further reading
Kind regards
Jo, Sprite, Retweet and the White Poodle

In Defense of Perfectionism ~ Up Parenting Creek (Maggie McMahon)

Perfectionism gets a bad rap. Let’s face it; there are lots of professions out there, where we expect precision. If your child is naturally precise, learn to embrace and encourage it, while balancing against the fear of failure and unreasonable expectations.

I really appreciate the distinction you have made between precision and perfectionism. A great post, thank you!
Kind regards
Jo, Sprite, Retweet and the White Poodle

Managing Perfectionism: 10 Tips for Helping Your Child ~ Raising Lifelong Learners (Colleen Kessler)

Perfectionism can be so overwhelming for gifted kids that they can become paralyzed, and unable to even try new things. As a parent, watching your child struggle isn’t easy, especially when you’re not sure what to do. Here are 10 tips to help you help your child. Managing perfectionism is often a lifelong battle — but these tips can help build a toolbox of strategies.

Thank you for these helpful strategies for helping a child cope with perfectionism, Colleen
Kind regards
Jo, Sprite, Retweet and the White Poodle

My Gifted Family: My Quirky Sense of Humor and Their Emotional Sensitivities ~ Crushing Tall Poppies (Celi Trepanier)

The emotional sensitivities and intensities of the gifted people in my house lowers the tolerance level to some of my greatest pranks.

Really loved the tale of the Valentines boxers!
Our family has a really strange sense of humour too.When we are all together there is a great deal of laughing – usually as we play word games building on each others comments.
The main crossing point between humour and sensitivities used to occur in relation to spiders. Some liked them and some were afraid of them. So cartoons, such as a picture of a huge hairy spider looming of a teddy bear, would be left warning about the location of spiders.
Kind regards
Jo, Sprite, Retweet and the White Poodle

Navigating Perfectionism ~ Eclectic Homeschool (Amy B.)
Perfectionism can be quite demanding. It can cause a child to crumple paper and throw it angrily across the room because something wasn’t just right. It can provoke a child to slam down a pencil and break the lead because one problem was missed. It can keep a child to from trying unless the child is assured of success. I know these things all too well.

Thank you for all these helpful strategies for combating perfectionism – love the idea of hiding Mr Perfect!
Kind regards
Jo, Sprite, Retweet and the White Poodle

Perfectionism and Anxiety are No Fun ~ Gluten-Free Mum (Kathleen Humble)

“I have to be perfect”
It sounds like a great thing, doesn’t it? A drive to get better at a task until you are the best you can be – a perfect swim, a perfect score, a perfect canvas, or a perfect story. Um, no. For our family, it sucks.
It will be a ‘long running campaign’ but it sounds as if you have some good strategies in place
Kind regards
Jo, Sprite, Retweet and the White Poodle

Seven Signs of Perfectionism in Children ~ Everyday Learning (Alessandra Giampaolo)

Aiming for high standards can actually be a positive trait we’d like to see in children. But when that drive for perfection breeds a fear of failure and avoiding opportunities, then the line has been crossed to the dark side… Can you spot the hidden signs of perfectionism in your child?

The red flags are helpful for distinguishing between positive  desire to do well and the darker negative aspects of perfectionism. Looking forward to your post about helping children to overcome perfectionism
Kind regards
Jo, Sprite, Retweet and the White Poodle

Ten Signs That You’re a Perfectionist and Ten Things You Can Do About It ~ Your Rainforest Mind (Paula Prober)

Distinguish between healthy perfectionism that looks like very high standards and aims for beauty, balance, justice, harmony and precision and unhealthy perfectionism that looks like anxiety, paralysis and worthlessness when faced with a task where you’re not guaranteed success. The former, you learn to love; the latter, you work to heal.

Always enjoy your wisdom and humour Paula!
Kind regards
Jo, Sprite, Retweet and the White Poodle

The Curse of Perfect ~ Random Everyday Blessings (Tabitha Ferreira)

There exists in my house a parasite. A tiny vampire that feeds off of the insecurities that hide below the surface and infects the inhabitants with an obsessive need for perfection. He rears his ugly head in different ways for different family members but his existence plagues us all.

Thank you for sharing how you deal with the parasite of perfectionism.
Another wonderful young Australian singer who has overcome stuttering is Harrison Craig.
Kind regards
Jo, Sprite, Retweet and the White Poodle

The Threads of Perfection: Tips for Taming the Talent ~ Wenda J. Sheard, JD, PhD

After I helped pin the quilt to the wall for photographing, I stood back to let the photographers do their magic. From a distance, the cream and brown colors of quilt’s fabric emerged into an elegantly scrolled capital letter, “F.” Suddenly I understood. The quilter’s decision to leave those threads hanging all raggedy was an “F” message about perfection.

Love the concept of taming the perfectionism by predetermining that some things do not have to be perfectly perfect and the concept of the humility square.
Thank you very much for an inspiring post, Wenda!
Kind regards
Jo, Sprite, Retweet and the White Poodle

When Your Child is a Perfectionist: Advice from the Trenches ~ My Little Poppies (Caitlin Curley)

Leo is a perfectionist and, as a perfectionist, he is afraid of failure to the point of complete immobilization. He will assess a new situation, determine his risk for failure, and refuse to participate if he doesn’t think he can immediately do it well. We have been dealing with Leo’s perfectionism for years now and I have a feeling it is something we will continue to work on as the years progress. So, what has worked? While I certainly don’t claim to have all the answers, I am happy to share strategies that have worked for this school-psychologist-and–mom-to-a-major-perfectionist.

Love the idea of asking “What is the very worst thing that could happen?”
And also the concept of naming and discussing perfectionism with the child
Thank you for sharing some really helpful strategies, Cait.
Kind regards
Jo, Sprite, Retweet and the White Poodle

White Poodle, Black Poodle ~ Sprite’s Site (Jo Freitag)

Poodles can be white as well as black and, in the same way, perfectionism can be both positive and negative.

We are back home again with lots of extra insights and strategies
“I think I would like to try quilting again” Sprite said

This has been a summary of the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum May 2015 Blog Hop Perfectionism and other Gifted/2E quirks


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

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


Themes 2

I found Sprite sitting in the garden, reading an article about giftedness and poppies,

She was absentmindedly blowing a wishing dandelion and still discussing the possible theme for her blog birthday with the Dabrowski Dogs.

Psycho Motor was occupied with chasing the dandelion seeds.
Sensual had unfortunately sat down in a patch of thistles which Sprite had refused to pull out during the Weed Wars in case the Scots declared war on her.
Emotional had brought Sprite a red rose because she said giving flowers was a beautiful way to express love and appreciation and concern. Also carrying the red rose in her teeth appealed to her flair for the dramatic.

Intellectual had gone to quite an amount of effort to set up a display of possible floral décor themes. He suggested decorating with posters of the work of William Morris.
At this point Intellectual embarked on a lengthy dissertation on William Morris and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Edward Burne-Jones, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, preservation of ancient buildings, socialism, the Kelmscott Press, traditional textile arts and crafts and medieval romance fiction and poetry.
He explained that the public domain prints he had chosen were beautiful intricate patterns but did not do justice to the vibrant colours of the original.

Intellectual could see that he was losing Sprite’s attention so he proceeded to his next set of prints.
These were by Vincent Van Gogh, one depicting a jug of sunflowers and the other a bed of irises with just one white iris in a large group of purple irises. He pointed out the symbolism of the one white iris and how it had been used in the film Little Man Tate.

At that moment Intellectual’s close friend, P’est Pour Parfait, the perfectionist poodle, arrived having returned from reading the transcripts of #gtchat at   and noted that the transcript for the chat session about Perfectionism would be posted soon.
He declared “I have found the perfect invitation stationery for you. As you see, it encapsulates many of the floral themes you are considering.”

“That would have been really perfect but I have already sent out my invitations!” Sprite complained.
“I’m sorry,” said Parfait “but I could not bring you this one earlier, in case I found one that was more perfect!”

All this time Imaginational had been dreamily watching the dandelion seeds blowing and wondering where they went. He was still thinking about fractals in ferns and how sunflowers looked as if they were smiling and wondering whether snowdrops were individuals like snowflakes.

He was also thinking that if they used a suitable template the Topiary Tessellation Bird Leaf tree could be decorated as a Topiary Tessellation Flower Tree and wondering whether the Tree Octopus, Octopus Topiarii, would be happy to visit a Topiary Tessellation Flower Tree for the blog birthday party.

Best Australian Blogs 2012 Part 6

I returned after a rather frustrating and disappointing day in the real world to visit Sprite and check on the progress of her Cultural Exchanges event which she was holding as part of her campaign for The Sydney Writers’ Centre Best Australian Blogs 2012 competition
Click on the picture to see an enlargement of it.

The events seemed to be going well.
Arachnid had JPEG ged a web to the banners and was giving a demonstration of web spinning in the style of E.B. White’s Charlotte’s web.
Hieronymouse Bosch, one of the mice from the skirting board of Sprite’s Site, was painting a mouseterpiece.

The Lobster Lolly Lobbing competition was in full swing and the Lobster Lewis Carollers were performing a Lobster Quadrille

I noticed that P’est Pour Parfait, the perfectionist poodle, was keeping a critical eye on the event.
“That web message is not animated enough. It needs to be an animated GIF to get the message across properly!” he grumbled.

And then I noticed that a few of the Black Dogs were trying to sneak in and cast a shadow over the event.
“I know why SAD Seasonally Affected Black Dog is here” I said “I was drenched in a rain shower on the way home. But where is his cheery pink parasol?”
“It blew away!” said Sprite.
“And I can sympathize with little Thinks He’s An Alien Black Dog” I said “ I felt like that a bit today; when people that I really thought would understand gifted and 2E students just did not understand at all and dismissed what I was saying as irrelevant”
“I feel like that often!” said Sprite. “And I hope Guard on Duty Black Dog will not scare away my visitors!”

“Why is Wistful here?” I asked

“He just wishes that Sprite’s Site had been listed as a Finalist in the Best Australian Blogs 2012 competition” Sprite replied.
“As do we all!” I said “Tell him to build a bridge and get over it.”
I was happy that Sprite and I had already discussed some strategies for building resilience when faced with disappointments
See  Revitalization and resilience
and Appreciation coaching
and I also found an article at  

“We still have more events to stage before the People’s Choice voting closes on 9 May 2012. “ I said “And we are having a lot of fun with the campaign!”

“It IS fun” agreed Sprite

You can vote for Sprite’s Site (and as many other great Australian blogs as you like) by clicking on the Vote for Me button in the sidebar of the blog but you can only vote once: so be sure to make the vote count. Sprite’s Site is on Page 4 O-S.

If you have entered Sprite’s Site by following a link to a specific post you will need to click on the title on the blue Sprite’s Site header to see the sidebar.

Some explanation needed

I realised yesterday, while referring a parent of a gifted youngster to Sprite’s Site blog in connection to illustrations of some of the social/emotional aspects of giftedness, that unless you had been a regular reader of Sprite’s Site blog it may not make much sense and you would be wondering who all these assorted animals were!

I do have a blog page explaining who Sprite is About Sprite

and also a page on my personal website at

And I have given reintroductions to the characters in blog posts last November which I still link to within blog posts.
But it seemed that it would make things much easier to provide a glossary page and I am working on that now.

As a starter here are Eidetic the Memory Elephant, the Dabrowski Dogs and the Black Dogs

Eidetic the Memory Elephant (No 14in the picture) is Sprite’s imaginary friend who is a personification of memory and the Visual Spatial Learner’s style of thinking. You can see an animation of the Memory Elephant in action at

The Dabrowski Dogs
The Dabrowski dogs are personifications of the characteristics described by Dabrowski’s Over-excitabilities. Stephanie Tolan has written an excellent Layman’s Explanation to Dabrowski’s Over-excitabilities at

You can read about them in the Youblisher booklet Sprite and the Dabrowski Dogs at

  1. Intellectual, the Border collie, loves learning and academia. He is quite pedantic and insistent on verifying the accuracy of facts and citing sources correctly. He loves puzzles and word games. He learns rapidly and thinks deeply and critically. He loves to debate issues and his intellect can be intimidating at times.
  2. Sensual (who has the nickname Itchy) is stimulated by sights, sounds, tastes and textures. This can be good or bad – when the effects are negative Sensual can be part of the Black Dogs group.
  3. Imaginational, the Bedlington terrier, participates in a vivid imaginary world where he is a lamb or floats around in a hot air balloon. Imaginational likes to imagine a utopian future and is therefore a useful member of problem solving teams
  4. Emotional, the English Springer spaniel, experiences the extremes of happiness and despair. Her emotions are complex –she can be moved to tears by music. She has a heightened sense of justice and an empathy with others which can cause pain for her.
  5. Psycho Motor is very active both mentally and physically. He is always bouncing and barking and chasing his tail. Some people claim he has ADHD and others say he is just very active! Although he does not appear to be paying attention he can usually give the right answer.

The Back Dogs
The Black dogs are the personifications of possible causes of depression in gifted people.
Read all about the Black dogs in the Youblisher booklet Sprite and Black Dog

6. SAD Seasonally Affected Black dog feels depressed when the weather is wintry and the skies are grey

7. Leaping Attack Black dog – Sprite was never sure what caused Leaping Attack Black dog to make her feel depressed but one helpful strategy was to HALT and check  Are you Healthy/Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired as any of these things could contribute to feelings of depression

8. Wistful Black dog is often found near the Memory Elephant wishing that things could have been better in the past. Wistful is the counterpoise of Imaginational who envisages a better future

9. Thinks-he’s –an-alien Black dog feels isolated and as if he is different from everyone else. Imaginational Dabrowski is always keen to use imagination, creativity and humour to help Thinks-he’s-an-alien feel included

10. Guard on Duty Black dog often prevents Sprite from doing things by suggesting that it is too dangerous or that she will not be able to do it.
Guard on Duty Black dog can be both positive and negative. Sometimes he is acting as a protector but at other times he is causing anxiety which results in her not participating because of fear of failure

11. Little Bully Black dog can change from playing nicely to acting like a bully. Psycho Motor Dabrowski often plays with Little Bully Black dog to prevent him from becoming bored and teaches him social skills

There are two more dogs which are neither Black dogs nor Dabrowski dogs

12. P’est Pour Parfait, the Perfectionist poodle  is the personification of the gifted perfectionist tendency He goes to the grooming parlour looking immaculate, with not a hair out of place, having already spent the morning in a grooming parlour; so that he would be in a respectable condition to be groomed!

13. Pugnacious Loyola is a little fawn pug who is a good friend and loyal companion for Sprite
“I can always depend on him to be there when I want company or support and he makes funny faces at me and makes me laugh!” said Sprite. “And he is not as demanding as the Dabrowski dogs and he doesn’t make me feel sad or bad like the Black dogs do.”

Gifted Island – Testing, testing…

“Are you really enjoying being here on Gifted Island?” Sprite asked me.
It felt like a trick question. It reminded me of a time I was trudging along a hot, dusty country road toward the fun I had promised at the playground, with a three year old and a baby in the pusher. Three year old asked in a very serious tone of voice “Are we having fun yet, Mummy?”

I did not want Sprite to think that I was not enjoying the experience of Survivor Gifted Island because then she would feel guilty that she had arranged it.
But I did not want to give the impression that I was ecstatically happy either; because we had often talked about the value of being direct and truthful with each other. In that way we could build a large reliable deposit in the truth bank and would be worthy of being believed when it really, really mattered.
I was tempted to answer “It’s like the curate’s egg – it is good in patches!”
But I did not want to have to explain the joke.

Then I wondered whether Sprite was wishing that she had not signed us up for Gifted Island and was hoping for my unhappiness as an excuse to leave.
So I gave her a flowery spiel about finding value and things to enjoy and learn in all experiences. I probably sounded a bit like a Pollyanna clone. But it convinced Sprite.

“Oh!” said Sprite “Oh! Well then I think I will be too sick to do any activities tomorrow”

And then I realised what the problem was.
In the handouts from the producers of the Survivor – Gifted Island game we were told that participation in the program would not exempt the students from the regular national and international academic benchmark testing.

“I thought NAPLAN was scheduling time to have a snooze in your hammock” said Sprite “But it isn’t! It is testing and tomorrow the inspector, Mr TIMSS is going to come and take the students to PISA to dive for PIRLS for more testing.”

Naturally Sprite was very anxious about the prospect.
One of the characteristics on Dr Linda Silverman’s Gifted Children with Learning Disabilities list was
* performs poorly on timed tests

Testing was one of the times that the De Bono pink slippers could sometimes be produced.

As a 2E student Sprite would sometimes be given concessions such as extra writing time or use of a scribe or the computer during tests.
But she had not been permitted to bring the pink slippers to Gifted Island.
She was forced to wear the Can Do adjustable Velcro sandals and just manage as well as possible.
And I had noticed that some of the producers of the show tended to greet any concerns or complaints with “Suck it up Princess!”

“Would you still love me if I failed the tests and they said I wasn’t gifted at all and we had to leave the island and you couldn’t stay here any longer?” she asked.

That one question illustrated so many issues that can besiege gifted and 2E students

I could see it was time to go to a quiet rock pool for a long talk about how much I love her just for herself regardless of her performance.

“Of course I would still love you!” I said.

Pirate Party

Several of the #gtstoogies have celebrated birthdays during this week so we have decided to hold a Pirate theme party after #gtchat.
The Twitter Birds and Dabrowski dogs are already enjoying the festivities. The Dabrowski dogs are playing Paaass the Paaarrcel -except Psycho Motor who is apple bobbing.
P’est Pour Parfait, the perfectionistic poodle, is watching the game; not willing to join in because he has just been to the Paws for Poise Parlour for a lavendar lather special treatment and does not want to risk getting even a single hair out of place.
Watching him, I am reminded again of his similarity to Leaping Attack  Black Dog when the latter attended Sprite’s P Party. Perfectionism is indeed a two edged sword.
Dr Linda Silverman believes that perfectionism needs to be appreciated as a two-edged sword that has the potential for propelling an individual toward unparalleled greatness or plummeting one into despair. The secret to harnessing its energy is to appreciate its positive force, learn how to set priorities and to avoid imposing one’s own high standards on others.

Instead of pin the tail we will be playing the  rum barrel navigation game. There are two variations of the game. In one version one participant stands blindfolded on top of the upright barrel and has to draw  a path on a map on the wall guided by shouted instructions from the rest of the team. In the other version one participant stands on the barrel which is on its side and attempts to mavouveur the barrel through a set course.
For supper there is a pirate ship Birthday cake and rum balls.

On the other table you can see a poster for the film, Pirates of the Caribbean, which is playing in the Deborah Mersino theatre as preparation and research material for the #gtchat and #gtstoogies Pirate Cruise.  More news about this soon!

Paws for Poise Parlour 2

First to experience the treatment of the Paws for Poise Parlour was the poodle P’ est pour Parfait from the French taste tester team. He arrived looking immaculate, with not a hair out of place, as he had already spent the morning in a grooming parlour; so that he would be in a respectable  condition to be groomed!

He emerged looking absolutely immaculate, with not a hair out of place and wearing a diamante collar and top knot clip. He rated the experience “Magnifique!”

#gtstoogies 6

The food and pictures which Sprite had provided for this week’s #gtstoogies gathering were French in flavour. When she learned that there was a general Southern theme for the festivities she pointed out that she had the poster for Gifted 2010 the 11th Asia Pacific Conference on Giftedness Sydney 29 July – 1 August 2010 on the wall which represented the Southern states of Australia and she brought out a picture of Southern belles. She also lent us her Linux penguin soft toy which she was given at her P Party because what is more Southern than Antarctica?
Intellectual Dabrowski brought pentaque boules this time because nobody had guessed the names of the items had brought to the two previous gatherings.
Caramel Cat having been deprived of Twitter bird delicacies was hoping for a feast of ‘les petites souris’ as they always seemed to be ‘sous la table’ in the French language text books.
Papillon and French Bulldog had arrived to be taste testers,
I became quite anxious when I saw the third taste tester as he looked suspiciously like Leaping Attack Black Dog did when he attended Sprite’s P Party after a day at the pooch pamper parlour.
And given that Sprite and I still have not managed to get organized and several rather stressful events have happened recently I would not have been too surprised if it was indeed Leaping Attack Black Dog trying to sneak in.
However he assured me “Je suis P est pour Parfait”
“OK” I said “So you are Parfait (a fluffy dessert) from Pestpour Kennels? Why would anyone want Pestpour as a kennel name?”
“Non! Non! Non!” he barked “I am Perfect from ‘P is for’ Kennels. I am P is for Perfect!
What a great way to get in a mention of the next event for Gifted Resources which is Psychologist Alison Brown speaking on the topic P is for Perfect – Perfectionism and Anxiety in Gifted Children