The History Bit
The true origins of the Fringy Bit go back to the summer of 1999 at a little camp in South China, Maine. Short version – we met in June, were engaged by August, married the following September. Fast forward a few years and Cub joined our little family. Fast forward a few more years and the following conversation took place between Heather and Cub:
Cub (who was 4): Mom, I want to learn what chemicals were in the meteorite that could be so strong they killed all the dinosaurs.
Heather (out-loud): Okay. (in-quiet): Holy hell, what do I do with that?!
Fast forward a few months. Cub has been learning about Chemistry through a great little intro to Chemistry program (contact us and I’ll pass on the info!) The following conversation took place between Jon and Cub:
Cub (still 4, maybe 5): So, dad. Everything is made up of atoms?
Jon (a bit warily): Yes . . .
Cub: And God made everything?
Jon (extremely warily): Yes . . .
Cub: Then what is God made of?
Jon: That’s a question for your mum.
(Before I continue, a disclaimer. Yes, we believe in God. No, we have no intent or desire to proselytize to you about our personal beliefs.)
Conversations like these brought us to attend the MN Council of Gifted and Talented state-wide annual conference to learn more about how to parent this kid. It was there that we first learned about all the psychosocial aspects of being a gifted individual and we knew we needed to learn more and spread the word to other parents and professionals.
Fast forward a few more years and our KBear was born. It didn’t take long before we realized she, too, was pretty smart and lived a life filled with intensity. Unfortunately, it did take us a bit longer to realize that much of her intensity is due to Sensory Processing Disorder, possible Autism Spectrum Disorder, & Developmental Dyspraxia. She also has Generalized Epilepsy, but that doesn’t necessarily contribute to intensity so much as it contributes to moments of her staring off into space and then becoming extremely tired.
And, finally, little Chimp came to be. We kept our fingers crossed that he would be 100%, unequivocally, typical and maybe even just a little bit on the stupid side. But, alas, it does not appear to be so. And, of course, his intensities are far more of the psychomotor, non-stop variety because that’s just Murphy’s Law.
We share all this not to gloat about how great or “special” our kids are. There are some things they excel at and some things they are awful at. And, frankly, being gifted doesn’t mean better, nor does it mean easier. In fact, it means that our family life can be intense and exhausting. And, yes, of course it can be joyful, but here’s where the Fringy Bit really came to life. There are plenty of stories about parenting higher needs kids, but a lot of them wrap it up in a nice little bow. “Sure, it’s hard, but I wouldn’t change my wittle wuvey dovey baby for anything.” To this we shout SHENANIGANS!
We want REAL support. We want to share the REAL stories and emotions and triumphs and trials of living with higher needs individuals. We want to share the REAL picture of giftedness; the REAL picture of sensory meltdowns. And we want to share REAL approaches and information that may make this intense journey just a bit easier. And, so . . . THE FRINGY BIT.
The Naming Bit
Why “The Fringy Bit”?
Answer 1: Heather came to specialize in working with kids and families that are gifted and/or have other neuro-diverse lives. When describing this population it became far too wordy, so she came to call these children, “Kids on the Fringes”.
Answer 2: Parenting these differently wired kiddos is exhausting. Yes, all parenting is exhausting, but parents don’t know exhausting until they’ve lived through months of daily, hours long meltdowns. Or until they’ve had to dust off Immanuel Kant’s texts from the box holding undergraduate reading material in order to answer a young child’s question. And in the midst of this exhaustion, there are days in which we feel as though we can barely hold on. We’re not grasping at the knot at the end of a rope. We’re not even clutching the frayed end of a rope. We have days in which all we can do is cling to a deteriorating, thread-bare, Fringy Bit of that rope.
Answer 3: From the time KBear was a baby, she has slept with one of those tied fleece blankets. This became her “Lakey” and is featured in our logo. One night, when she was 2 or 3, we were putting her to bed and she started to turn this enormous blanket over and over, touching each of the ties. When asked what she was doing, she said, “I’m looking for my Fringy Bit.” She had (and continues to have) one particular piece of fringe that she plays with, smells, strokes against her cheek or nose. It soothes her. It was long and pulled thin. Now it has broken off, been stretched out again, and is just a mere fragment of its former glory. But, it remains her Fringy Bit. It continues to calm her and bring her familiar comfort. Which is exactly what we hope The Fringy Bit can do for you.
A Bit about Heather
Heather Boorman is a writer, public speaker, & Licensed Clinical Social Worker who provides therapy to kids, adults, and families at her private practice, Boorman Counseling, in Western Wisconsin. During her more than 15 years experience, she has become particularly impassioned to work with “kids on the fringes” and their families, who live with the joys and challenges of atypical developmental needs. Heather is the founding member and therapist at Boorman Counseling, LLC, serves on the Board of Directors for the Wisconsin Association of the Gifted and Talented, and has presented on a variety of topics throughout the Midwest. Heather enjoys playing the piano, hiking, writing, practicing meditation & yoga, and playing with her family. She embraces and encourages mindful, self-compassionate living, as it is often the only thing that keeps her sane.
a bit about jonathan
Jonathan Boorman hails from deepest, darkest old London Towne, where he spent his formative years associating with ne'er do wells and scallywags often engaging in Robin Hood type antics of stealing from the rich. He gave up this life of skullduggery and danger when he moved to America to become a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who provides individual, couples and family therapy. He spent many an hour honing his craft treating such issues as, infidelity, anxiety, depression and sexual concerns. Through his studying at the feet of many a learned master and from reading many leather bound volumes of educational material he believes he has lots of very important and knowledgeable stuff to share with folks. It should also be known, Scotland Yard could find no evidence to suggest that Jonathan and his gang shared any of the loot from the robberies they committed.