The Darker Side of Mummy Misfit

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Aah, dear Fenella.

The Misfit

The one Manor House mummy with her Jimmy Choos still firmly on the ground. Thursday 11 th September. The Meemies who think the world is unable to revolve without them were out in full force yesterday - Gestapo, the Gnome, Dress-up Mummy et al. It would be too much to expect them to see their kids to school every day. That would interfere with the Pilates, colonic irrigation or aura cleansing - although it would take a few gallons of industrial strength Cillit Bang to cleanse some of those auras.

This news could be the death of Mrs Sengupta! Must go round to see her later. Gestapo actually came over and air kissed me in a cloud of something putrid.

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Thank you so much for introducing me to the divine Pritesh. Poor Pritesh! But then she was pretty vile about supporting the school charity until she actually needed help herself. Olga is now definitely a lesbian this month! She cannot function vizout me around, so I just tell her de vay it is.

The Darker Side of Mummy Misfit #2

Zsa-Zsa move in or I move out, I say. Friday 12 th September. Ned was up at midnight last night preparing a presentation and heard her in the garden calling for Lassie to come home. Then this morning she told me how much she missed Princess Diana and how she never visits anymore. She was such a good friend to me and now she is never writing, never phoning. Do you think I have done something to be offending her? Is she safe to be left on her own, I ask myself?

Saturday 13 th September. Methinks the love bug has struck Pritesh and turned him into just another mindless, insensitive son - something I never had him down as. Gestapo must have him well and truly under her seductive spell. No doubt the prodigal son will return when Gestapo has totally shagged him out. About two people in have IQ s below 70, and another two have IQ s above But since only a small percentage of any population takes IQ tests, identifying very exceptional children is hard.

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Most schools have none. Society prizes intelligence. Geniuses are viewed with awe and assumed to be guaranteed prosperity and success. Yet there is a dark side to intelligence. Aged five, he talked about wanting to end his life: he said he planned to do this by banging his head repeatedly against a wall. Tom finds it hard to relate to other children and has few friends.

At school he has been shunted out on his own into corridors and offices. I just want to take it away. Many others echo the pain of Tom and his family. When I put out a request via Mensa to hear from gifted children and their parents, my inbox fills with emails, many of them anguished. Given a sympathetic ear, they pour out their woes at such length that I nearly despair of getting them off the phone.

Almost all are afraid of being identified, and insist on fake names. Some countries value extremely high intelligence more than others and offer specific educational provision for such children. Yet even if your genius is prized, admired and cultivated, social and psychological issues that often accompany great ability may make it an unwelcome gift.

see From the inside — and for many families that I spoke to — genius can feel more like a curse than a blessing. First, gifted children begin to master a particular discipline — a language, maths or chess — much younger than most. They do so easily, so they also progress much faster than their peers. Secondly, this mastery is achieved largely on their own, rather than as a result of parental prodding. Studies suggest that children born into professional families may have heard some 4m more words by then than the offspring of parents with lower educational backgrounds.

Such families often have higher incomes to provide more educational opportunities too.

Jessie Ford

Many children who have extremely high IQ s show signs of extraordinary ability even as tiny babies, before pushy parenting is able to have much impact. Most toddlers appear to explore the world as they encounter it, distracted by passing cars or the arrival of a new toy. A third characteristic of gifted children is that their interests often seem near-obsessive. Jesse is five. When he was one and crawling, his father Richard tells me, he would do anything to avoid having his nappy changed. We had a yellow torch with a built-in bulb, and he would take the battery out, put it back in, and test whether it worked.

The first IQ tests to measure intelligence were developed by Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon in the early 20th century. They evaluated short-term memory, analytical thinking and mathematical ability. Though the tests have changed since then, the basic skills they attempt to measure have remained the same. Many children take aptitude tests at school. Most of these can be gamed or, at least, children can be trained to excel at them.

No assessment is completely objective.

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Most tests look only at particular types of intelligence, such as mathematical and verbal reasoning. Many other types of skill and characteristics are missed, such as voracious curiosity or the ability to make intellectual connections. The tests are unlikely to identify future novelists or poets, or children who may be exceptionally good at sports or music. Some people question the very notion of giftedness. She does not see aptitude as innate.

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Eyre says that no matter where you look in the world, the children of wealthy parents are over-represented in cohorts of gifted children. She also says that what marks out brilliant and high-achieving children — and adults — is often determination. The difference between two equally talented physicists, one who goes on to win a Nobel prize and one who does not, is their will to succeed. Apparent genius, she argues, is a combination of some kind of potential, along with the right support and personal drive.

Many of these parents face two main difficulties. One is how to cater to the advanced intellectual development of their child. The second dimension is more rarely voiced but may cause just as many problems: exceptionally intelligent children are often socially isolated, even disruptive. Gifts that are admired in the abstract often seem less welcome in person.

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Now 17, she is willowy and beautiful, with deep-green eyes. Her family — mother Kerry, father Tom and three younger brothers — is close and loving.