Just a geeky kid - or something else?

(15 Posts)
Fishandjam Tue 20-Aug-13 17:04:06

I'm beginning to feel a little...uncomfortable about DS, aged 3.5. That might be too strong a word, but it's the best I can come up with at the moment. He's an amazing little chap, but oh dear he's a geek in training. And sometimes I feel that other mums and kids are looking at him a bit confused or even hmm because of it.

This is not a stealth boast post by the way. If I want to boast, I'm front and centre about it grin.

Examples of things he's geeky about:

- toadstools. This is his absolute life's work at present. He draws them; he reads about them; he talks about them non-stop; he wants to go hunting for them at every available opportunity; he gets incredibly excited if he finds one. To be fair, I've encouraged it a bit as he is so into the subject (e.g. buying him a little spotter's guide, and a storybook about going on a mushroom hunt).

- collecting all of a series of classical music CDs (these), after we bought him the Peter & The Wolf one. He listens to some of them too, but it's mainly about getting all the different ones. The ones he does listen to, he listens to again and again. (If I hear the 1812 Overture one more time, I might cry.)

- drawing. But not just any drawing. He does pages and pages and pages and pages of drawings which involve toadstools (see above), the sort of rainbow stripe which is down the side of the classical music CDs he likes (see above also), and then strings of random letters (he's just learning his letters with me and at nursery). I kid you not - we have a carrier bag bulging full of these drawings, all very similar. He's not interested in colouring-in books, or drawing something else.

He couldn't give a flying toss about "traditional" male kids' stuff like cars, football etc. He's vaguely interested in dinosaurs but to him they are mere fripperies compared with toadstools. He also doesn't do much imaginative/"let's pretend" play, although I do try to encourage him to do so.

He is also a little behind (I think) on some aspects of his development. He's nowhere near toilet trained, and he struggles to dress himself.

Socially he's fairly introverted. He's OK with people once he's warmed up to them, but that can take a while. He's emphatically not a joiner-inner - baby and toddler groups and classes were a dead loss. His nursery say he joins in well enough with activities there, but that he definitely likes to plough his own furrow. If we met up with the mums and kids that I came to know through NCT classes, he will be the one on his own while the others go off and play.

I'm just wondering if this is all cool, or if I should be concerned. Anyone else got a geeky kid and experiences to share?

DeWe Tue 20-Aug-13 17:34:40

Would you be less worried if he was obsessed about a "male" thing like cars than toadstools?

Ds has been obsessed by planes since he was 3yo. He's less single minded about them now he's 6, but we currently have around 150 paper planes over the lounge floor, and he's experimenting with a polystyrene one with weights on (to see how it flies)... then later tonight he wants to watch the Dambusters DVD (again!).

At that age they do get obsession. One of my friends could quote the entire script for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang when her ds was 3yo. grin

They do like the familiarity of a known song/dvd. Ds currently likes the Matlida songs. He sings them, quotes them, acts them and watches them.

There's nothing you say there that is worrying as you put it.

mawbroon Tue 20-Aug-13 17:34:46

DS1 was incredibly geeky. At 3.5yo he knew not just all the names of the dinosaurs, but which group type they belonged to and how big they were etc. He was very interested when there was something on the news disputing the current line of thinking, jeez I can't remember the details, but they were saying the forerunner of one type was a meat eater when everyone said they were a plant eater, or something like that.

At 4yo he became fascinated with orcas. We read every whale book the library had to offer and then had to read adult books about them because there were no kids whale books left that he didn't already know what was in them. He knew all the sizes and weights and knew about resident and transient pods and what they all ate etc etc etc.

Um, at about 3yo, we went everywhere by bus. He recognised a lot of the bus numbers (even 2 digit ones) and knew where a lot of them went.

He's almost 8yo now and doing great. He is NT as far as I can see and is very sociable, settled well at nursery and school etc.

I never knew whether to encourage his obsessions or not, but in the end, I could see how important the subject was for him, so I embraced them and eventually he would move on to another subject.

He is less obsessive now, but still gets really into the things that interest him.

MadameSin Tue 20-Aug-13 18:43:22

Try posting on the Special Needs Childrens board ... toddlers can get obsessions which are very normal .. my ds1 was nuts about donosaurs .. he could name them all aged 3yrs, whether they were meat eaters or veggies and what period they were from. But you seem concerned enough to post on MN .. there's loads of experience of 'geeky' (as you put it) kids over there smile

ConstantCraving Tue 20-Aug-13 20:36:16

With my 3.11 DD its chickens - she can name them, and their chicken houses (you wouldn't believe how many different kinds of hen houses there are grin). She is also a geek, bright but anti-social. She has toilet issues, is food resistant, hates noise but sweet, funny and happy. I'm hoping that she'll level out as she grows up.

OnTheNingNangNong Tue 20-Aug-13 20:53:19

My son was the same at your DSs age, although it was trains. He knows all about trains and steam engines, he was introverted and he struggled to be fully toilet trained. Loved certain CDs played over and over and was a bus information service! grin

He's now 7, still into trains- the local railways know us very well! But he's changed a lot since starting school. He draws now, very varied things, has taken an interest in more 'boyish' persuits.

I think its normal, DS2 has the same loves as DS1, I do encourage him to ask questions and to find out the answers, he's not going to come to any harm.

Fishandjam Wed 21-Aug-13 10:32:12

Thank you everyone for taking the time to read my post (sorry, didn't realise how long it was until I'd hit "post message"!) And for your kind and informative responses. It's good to know that there are other geeky kids out there. I love that they are/were all into such different things.

madamesin, I had thought about posting on the SN board but TBH I was reluctant to do so - I was worried I'd inadvertently write (or imply) the wrong thing and you know how fierce they can be over there... I've already accepted that DS is an introvert - after all, so am I - and that he won't be a rough and rowdy knockabout kind of child, and that's just fine with me. (One of his little mates is very extrovert and I find him utterly exhausting to be with!)

DeWe, I think I'd feel the same if he was obsessed with a stereotypical boy thing like cars or trains. Though I think it would be easier for others to accept if it was something like that. (Thinking about it, I only started feeling concerned when some friends/relatives made a few comments about it being odd to be so deeply interested in something so "unusual". I really should learn to smile and ignore!)

I have just bought DS a paper lampshade (one of those expanding spiral wire jobs) in the shape of a fly agaric smile

MummyPig24 Thu 22-Aug-13 05:06:42

Obsessions are normal. At 2 ds obsession was trains, at 3 jt was lions, at 5 it's cars, "is the Lamborghini faster than the ford focus rs mummy?" All the time, like every 5 seconds. He gets them all out, lines them all up in order of how fast they go. I can see he is beginning to come out of it now but there will be another obsession following behind.

Dd hasn't had an obsession yet, she is 3, but she is a much more laid back and relaxed personality.

I wouldn't worry if I were you, I think it's all normal.

MummyPig24 Thu 22-Aug-13 05:09:12

On another note ds never struggled with toilet issues ( trained by 3), is very sociable and a real rough and tumble boy. Incredibly bloody loud. But he still has funny foibles and obsessions.

Tambaboy Sun 25-Aug-13 00:22:00

OP, nothing to add but while it is obviously your choice not to post on SN I think you shouldn't make your decision based on them being "fierce". SNMNetters have loads of experience, information, advice. I'm talking from personal experience when I say they have always been more than helpful and supportive.
Best of luck.

sophj100 Mon 26-Aug-13 22:17:21

Haha - I hope I'm not one of the 'fierce' mums from the special needs board. I do post on there, as I have 2 sons on the autistic spectrum but promise, I'm quite gentle smile

I'm just curious if you have thought about a referral to see a Developmental Paediatrician? No implication of anything untoward but in my experience they are fantastic at what they do and, together with your description of how he is, could give them a broader picture. The chances are he is just a 'geek-in-the-making', as you say and why not? Great not to have the usual stuff of football, cars etc., he clearly has a great imagination and an artistic bent to boot.

Trust in your instincts and try to avoid making comparisons with friends children - so easy to do, I know and so frustrating. Boys are inherently slow at potty-training and will only do it, when they decide and not before.

Give a thought to the Developmental assessment, as if nothing else, it would put your mind at rest.

Good luck and let us know how things progress. smile

Ineedmorepatience Tue 27-Aug-13 18:29:08

Am am another non fierce mum from the SN children board.

I love the way you describe your Ds as "ploughing a different furrow". That describes my Dd3 very well.

Your Ds sounds lovely by the way, quirky yes but lovely.

If his issues ever start to impact on him in a negative way or make yours or his life difficult I would seek an assessment by a developmental paediatrician.

If not just enjoy him being quirky.

Good luck smile

Fishandjam Mon 30-Sep-13 00:34:42

Hi everyone. DS's obsession with toadstools continues unabated grin. But thank you all for your advice. I am thinking I might gird my loins and head over to the SN board though. His introversion and unsociableness (is that even a word? confused) is getting worse. In company, he's either completely wired and frenetic, or he's hiding in another room or behind me, sobbing his heart out. Not good!

Edendance Mon 30-Sep-13 14:44:05

I would definitely get a 2nd opinion. Yes obsessions are 'normal' but they do tend to be about the same sorts of things. Toadstools are definitely unique! The earlier you can have some help with his social skills the better. Good luck!

dietstartstmoz Tue 01-Oct-13 06:48:02

Fish- I am another mum from the SN boards, and I can reassure you you don't need to 'gird your loins' before you head over. My youngest DS is autistic, and at age 3 autism was initially flagged up to me by his nursery teacher and the support and advice I have received ever since from the SN boards is better than from any health professional we have ever seen. Anyway, from what you have said about your DS he sounds great, but I would advise you to see your GP and ask for a referral to a developmental paediatrician. The obsessive behaviours, poor social skills, social anxiety and lack of being toilet trained are probably all enough to get you a referral. If your son does need some extra support hopefully this will start this process before he starts school. And do come over to SN boards, honestly there are some lovely people who know their stuff, but I understand it is a daunting place to post especially about your own DS. Good Luck.

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