‘Look!’ Millie squeals. She jumps up and down, her legs kicking backwards. Her eyes are sparkling; the blue of her iris seems brighter, glossy even.
‘What is it Millsy?’ I ask. She’s a wonder this kid. Only five, yet off-the-chart intelligent. Actually, she’s been off the charts for everything since birth. Apgar, length, weight, for all of them, Millie landed in the top percentile.
‘That cloud, Mumma!’ She’s clapping her hands now. ‘It’s a clown. See?’
I look up in the direction where she’s pointing. All I see is fluffy white clouds. Never been one to see images or patterns in anything. Didn’t even know there was a name for it—pareidolia—until Millie underwent extensive educational psychological testing a year or so ago.
We were referred to the psych on the advice of the maternal health nurse, and our GP. They saw beyond what Mike and I did. We only saw her tantrums, her arguments, her questions. Sure, we were amazed and proud at first: she recited the alphabet at two, and could read words from the dictionary at three.
The appointment with psychologist, Marla, took fifty minutes. She spent time talking with her and then asked Millie to solve a number of puzzles. Easy ones at first, but very quickly Marla swapped to the puzzles she used for high school students. The report was sent through weeks later: Millie is gifted.
‘Oh yeah, Millsy. I see it!’ I’m still staring at the sky, hoping the clown shape discloses itself to me soon.
Don’t judge me. I feel your harsh treatment of me. But I ask, do you have a child prodigy or just ordinary offspring? I bet your answer is the latter. So you don’t know that having a child prodigy means sometimes having to lie.
‘Do you really, Mumma? Or are you simply saying it to appease me?’
See? Millie is precocious. She can spot my lies a mile away and can already out-debate me in most topics. And if I try to argue my point, Millie screams and rocks until I stop and apologise. A trait in gifted children is to display highly excitable behaviours.
I stare harder at the cloud. Now, I’m not even sure I am looking at the same cloud Millie is pointing at.
‘I can really see it Millsy. Come here and give Mumma a hug.’
‘NO! No hug!’ Millie screams. She drops to the grass, kicks her legs and punches her balled-up fists into the ground. I leave her to it.
Five minutes pass where I wait until her tantrum abates. I’m sitting on a park bench, aware of those nearby watching, commenting to each other in whispers. I feel flushed. My armpits are damp; my T-shirt has darkened half-moon and the back of my neck is sweaty. When she’s done I say, ‘I really did see it Millie.’
She walks my way. ‘OK, Mumma. Can we go home now?’
We leave the park holding hands. She stops, picks up an autumn leaf from under the pin oak tree. Its reddish, golden hues blend together to create a swirl of colours. Millie holds it up to her face, only one blue eye is visible to me.
Although my bones ache from exhaustion, and my brain is fuzzy from trying to keep up with Millie, I see her. I truly see my girl. She is amazing and I vow to do my best to raise this special gift.