Monday, December 08, 2014

Obsessions

Gifted kids have an intense relationship with certain topics. You can't just read about the topic, then move on. You read everything on it. You create your own projects about it. You want to be it when you grow up. Eventually you move on, but the obsessions are intense while they're there.

We've gone through some common obsessions in our house: dinosaurs, of course. Astronomy happened for a while as various balls of different sizes were pressed into service in models of the solar system. After reading Uno's Garden, there was the obsession with perfect squares (thus forcing me to finally memorize the squares up to 400). We had Magic Tree House for a long time -- series books are good for that.

Now we are deeply into the Guinness Book of World Records. We keep hearing over breakfast about the tallest people in recorded history (with some ambiguity, alas -- a Ripley's Believe It Or Not! book listed a different person in one category!) We have been staging 100 meter dashes around the house and the yard as my 7-year-old is convinced that, despite the genes he's been dealt, he's only a bit of practice away from beating Jesse Owens' time from the 1930s, and then Usain Bolt's from more recent times. He has been inventing fictional people who in the future will beat the world record 100 meter dash time, and has created record lists as they move on down from 9.58 seconds. He'd bought the 2015 book at the school book fair, and so I hauled out the 2005 book I had, and he's been comparing the records broken in the intervening 10 years. Men's marathon times? Yep, multiple changes. Women's? Nope -- Paula Radcliffe still holds that from 2003.

Of course, the problem with all this is figuring out how long the obsessions will last. I hunted down some old Guinness Books from the 1970s and 1980s to give my son for Christmas. Unfortunately, we may be at the peak of world record obsession right now. By Christmas, who knows. Maybe it will be World War II era military equipment. My husband let the boys watch part of The Right Stuff, and it's only a short distance from the world record topic of sound barriers to becoming obsessed with airplane makes and parts.

What obsessions have you gone through at your house? Which were your favorite, and not-so-favorite?

10 comments:

Calee said...

Right now its Pokemon. Making lists of existing Pokemon's.Creating books of new Pokemon. I refuse to get the cards because it will be over and done in a flash. Thinking backwards it was Harry Potter, Frozen, Faries, Insects...

nicoleandmaggie said...

Also Pokemon. And he's preparing to be obsessed with Minecraft (he doesn't yet own it, but he's read all the source books).

gasstationwithoutpumps said...

I'm not sure we had any of the conventional obsessions. For a while there were "conlangs" and "esolangs" and he did do a lot of Minecraft redstone construction for a while.

Basically, though, his recreation consisted of reading, acting, and computer programming. Which is still pretty much the case now that he is in college.

Anonymous said...

Chemistry currently, world history just before though still ongoing but not as intensly, Minecraft always. I'll say it started early, first with letters and numbers, then construction, then dinosaurs, then languages, then things broadened for a couple of years as he was just into all sorts of things, but none too intensly. Now at six years old, we are firmly obsessed with chemistry. I hope it lasts for a lifetime:)

'Nother Barb said...

Star Wars starting at 3 yrs. Star Wars. Toy cars. Lego. Star Wars Lego. (oh did we cringe when THOSE came out) Older son is now 21 (nearly!) and guess what's on the Christmas list? Star Wars. Small models you can paint, I think, like Warhammer figures. For the first time I don't think there will be Lego under the tree, though I haven't checked the latest Architecture series; there will probably be mini-sets for the stockings, anyway.

Kids still play Pokemon? Anyone want vintage Pokemon cards? He hit the motherlode at a garage sale in 2001 when a college-bound teen sold an entire binder-full of cards, and a McQuarrie Star Wars poster. Started gathering dust in about 2008, replaced, less obsessively, by Magic the Gathering. The poster still hangs on the wall.

Writing (once he started typing). Stephen King work. Novels, stories, books on writing.

Math. Numbers and triangles at 15 months (just in time for the let's-put-multiple-stacked-and-nested-gables-on-houses boom), grew exponentially from there (ha ha). Now that he's 15, we realize it's not an obsession, it's just a part of who he is.

'Nother Barb said...

By the way, flea markets, "antique malls" (the ones that are really just ongoing flea markets), rummage sales, and some thrift stores are a fun and more affordable place to indulge obsessions. Our kids really enjoyed going and occasionally picked up a "treasure".

vh said...

My grandson has an obsession with the Titanic and the weather and storms. He is in the 1st grade. He reads multiple books on each of these subjects and watches the weather channel non stop when he can.

Anonymous said...

My son's current obsession is the Plants vs. Zombies game. He wants to collect all the stuffies, has made a slide show on the computer with all the characters and if we allowed it, he would have it running 24/7, plays out the characters and game riding his bike etc. When he was little, it was the solar system and I mean the whole solar system-planets, galaxies, moons-every moon in the solar system known, stars, nebulae. When he was younger (3 or 4) he had me draw them all and he cut them out and we had to take them everywhere with us. He was also into bacteria and viruses at one time. At 7 he got back into the solar system and the new planets that they are finding and actually drew about 400 of those planets. And put an app on my phone that alerts me to new planets-I still get those alerts :)But now, he's 9, it's all about the characters and game but he does mix in other obsessions. He recently was obsessed with getting all the Christian WOW hits CDs and when his friend was over he had to play them and even took the cd player outside. It's never boring at our house!

Anonymous said...

Right now my son is 8 and we are in a full Lego Batman obsession. He reads Brickapedia -- a Lego-themed Wikipedia clone -- for hours and hours every day. He would rather watch other people play the Lego Batman video game via YouTube than to actually play it himself. This obsession has been going on for 3-4 months now, so I know it's due to expire soon. My favorite previous obsessions have been Schoolhouse Rock when he was in Kindergarten and Wild Kratts when he was entering 1st grade. Wild Kratts was fun because he would quiz me about different animal species. Unfortunately I got stumped more times than I can count! When he was obsessed with the Geronimo Stilton series of books, he took a drama camp and convinced everyone there his name was Benjamin (Geronimo's nephew)!

Chris gallant said...

Real Estate.... magazines, websites, HGTV.