As a parent, it's sometimes difficult to keep a realistic perspective of your child. Some of us make the mistake of expecting too much, some of us not enough.
I think this is especially difficult when you have an only child - and a gifted one at that. I've got no other reference point, other than this one child who is clearly different from most other children his age. So, I have a really hard time keeping perspective on who he is and what he can do. And it goes both ways - sometimes I expect too much, and sometimes not enough.
A perfect example of this was over the weekend. We attended a marine biology event for gifted children, offered through Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. It was a great opportunity, with lots of fun adventuring and learning (well, I learned a lot). But it made me very conscious of how unique my child really is. I told him there would be other kids "like him," but I was wrong. These kids were clearly quite smart, but they weren't in the same league as the kidlet. Not even close. And the really amazing thing (as his mom, I know these things) is that there he was, astounding the socks off the teachers and other adults, and this isn't even his main area of interest. I could see it in the look I got from one of the teachers, when she asked the kidlet if he wanted to be a marine biologist - clearly expecting that this is a special interest of his - and he said "no, I want to be an inventor." I could have told her that his interest in biology/marine biology/etc lies in his fascination for the mechanics of how things work.
It made me a little sad, as I was reflecting how hard it is for this little person to find peers - those intellectual peers he might find have no similar interests, while his interest-peers don't follow his logic and don't get his jokes. It's no wonder he doesn't engage others very often. For a socially immature person it's hard enough to know how to enter into and maintain a conversation, but when your experiences mostly end up in misunderstanding and frustration... well, it's easy to understand why he might stop trying.
But then there's the other side of the "perspective" coin, too. Sometimes I expect him to act like an adult simply because he can reason like an adult. But that's not appropriate, either. When he is falling apart in tears because he made a mistake that can't be undone, I have to remind myself that he is still a child. When he has days that require more physical movement ("run around breaks"), or he has trouble calming himself over something exciting - I have to remind myself that he is still a child, and still learning skills that most adults take for granted. Yes, he is definitely behind the curve in some areas, as much as he is ahead of it in others... which makes it doubly important for DH and I to set appropriate expectations (and doubly hard to know what ARE appropriate expectations. Grade level expectations, while his maturity isn't grade level? Is that fair?).
I hope that I am keeping my expectations realistic - whether intellectual, social, or emotional. I hope that I am giving the kidlet the support he needs to become better at those things in which he does not excel, while continuing to find joy and interest in those areas in which he is beyond the curve.