Am I Smarter Than A Fifth Grader? Not If You Ask My Fourth Grader.

The great thing about having two kids is that each of them gives me different reasons to shake my head and wonder when I learned to speak a foreign language.  Although they can’t agree on much, they seem to be in harmony with one point:  they are smarter than me.  Well, I’m smart enough to know I should let them believe that…for now, at least.

Exhibit A:  I don’t know how to cook for the family

 My efforts to vary our meals are not appreciated by the young men in my house.  Every afternoon, the kids ask me what is for dinner.  For the last two weeks, if my response is anything other than “chicken nuggets” (for my younger son) or “nachos” (for my older son), the response is a less-than-enthusiastic, “oh.”

You’d think I just told them we were having paper paste for dinner.

If meal planning were left up to them, all of the grocery shopping would be done in one aisle:  the candy aisle.

Exhibit B:  I have no memory and don’t know what I’m talking about

 I’ve noticed this about both of my kids:  when they like something, they whole-heartedly like it with all of their being…until they can’t stand it anymore.  It goes for food, their favorite color, favorite TV show, new toys, friends, etc.   It seems I’m constantly two steps behind.  Here’s an example:

Me:  “What do you mean orange isn’t your favorite color?  I bought three orange shirts you picked out when school started.”

Older son:   “Ugh,” he says with an eye roll, “blue has been my favorite color forever.”

Me:   “Forever as in since yesterday, or last month?”

Older son:  Shakes his head in disgust and walks away.

We’ve had similar identical discussions about his best friends.  I’m amused that he thinks I’m such an idiot.  In my defense, I have a grasp on the factual definition of ‘forever’.  I haven’t figured out if there is a standard conversion for what ‘forever’ means to someone under the age of say, ten (kind of like 1 dog/cat year = 7 human years,) or if it loosely translates to anything over five minutes ago.

The dream of an underestimated parent:

If I crack the “forever” code, I think I could sell it to parents everywhere and make a fortune…which I would then invest in other child-to-parent translation projects.  I would revolutionize parent-child communication and might even get my own Wikipedia page.  With all this notoriety, I’d have literary agents begging me to let them represent me.

“Hell-o…what’s with you?” My older son asks, interrupting my daydream.

“Just thinking.”

“About what?”

I smile.  “World domination.”

He scrunches his face into a confused look, but decides against asking any other questions.  Instead, he leaves the room again.

My cover isn’t blown…he still thinks I’m an idiot.


14 thoughts on “Am I Smarter Than A Fifth Grader? Not If You Ask My Fourth Grader.

  1. suzicate December 20, 2011 / 7:08 AM

    They think we’re idiots until they become really smart at about twentyish and realize how brilliant their parents are…ok maybe not brilliant but at least not idiots!

    • jannatwrites December 20, 2011 / 5:23 PM

      Ha, ha…at least the day does come, SuziCate. Funny thing is, I’m sure he will think I just got smart all of a sudden 🙂

  2. Carl D'Agostino December 20, 2011 / 7:42 AM

    I felt my father was pretty dumb. Never made it past the 4th grade and a working man since he was 10 years old. Then when I turned about 30 and after I earned 2 two college degrees my father suddenly turned into one of the smartest people I have ever known. Hmmmm…..

    • jannatwrites December 20, 2011 / 5:24 PM

      It’s amazing how he turned around that fast, Carl 😉 I’m sure he enjoyed it when you realized his smarts!

  3. nrhatch December 20, 2011 / 7:44 AM

    Wonderful post, Janna! It’s great to be under-estimated. One day, you’ll be able to SURPRISE them with your wealth of knowledge.

    Too funny about the daily request for chicken mcnuggets. I much preferred pizza, macaroni and cheese, and spaghetti as a kid.

    • jannatwrites December 20, 2011 / 5:25 PM

      Thanks, Nancy. You’re right…the upside to being underestimated is the element of surprise. Right now, that’s my edge! I’m SO tired of chicken nuggets…I work them in once a week.

  4. philosophermouseofthehedge December 20, 2011 / 8:02 AM

    Careful, lots of kids love to each paste? Hey with a little food coloring and maybe a dash of cinnamom…no, that’s just wrong. Great post -waiting for that world domination

    • jannatwrites December 20, 2011 / 5:31 PM

      I think you’re onto something, Mouse. Paste is relatively inexpensive. Used as a filler, I can make meals that will really stick to their bones. Yeah, I know, that was lame. No way I’ll get to world domination with bad jokes like that 😉

  5. pattyabr December 20, 2011 / 8:36 AM

    Just remember, how “stupid” your kids think you are, they would never survive without you around (even though they think they would be fine). There is a reason they think that way at that age, they are children! Oh well, it makes for humorous blogs!!

    • jannatwrites December 20, 2011 / 5:35 PM

      I know they will grow up and realize I’m not that</i) dumb. You are right – it is good for a laugh right now, Patty. Thanks for laughing with me!

  6. pattisj December 21, 2011 / 12:22 PM

    I remember being on the kid side of that coin. I came late in my parent’s lives, so it was like a double-generation gap. The times had changed, but their ideas didn’t. It wasn’t that they didn’t know anything, but they were locked into an archaic ideology on child-rearing. I was told I couldn’t get my ears pierced until I was 25, e.g. When I got a job and out in the “real” world, I learned I only had to be 18! lol I never understood their thinking on that, for there was no discussion, that’s just the way it was.

    • jannatwrites December 21, 2011 / 10:55 PM

      It’s funny how times change, but sometimes we don’t, Patti. I’ve done some thinking about what battles I will fight, vs. which ones to pass. For instance, I won’t allow permanent body art (tattoos and piercings), but I couldn’t care less what they do with their hair – shave it, grow it, dye it blue, whatever!

  7. Debbie December 21, 2011 / 12:40 PM

    Too funny, Janna! With just one son, at least I never had the feeling of being ganged-up on. You, on the other hand, are learning quickly that where siblings are concerned, they might fight like cats and dogs, but suddenly they band together when it comes to parents! My sis and I did the same thing — it was “us against them” and still pretty much is!

    • jannatwrites December 21, 2011 / 10:59 PM

      Ah, a lifetime of inequity to look forward to, Debbie…good thing we only have two 🙂 I haven’t seen too much ganging up on me yet (they are still in the snitch-each-other-out stage.) It’s only a matter of time before they figure out that they have more leverage if they keep what they know to themselves!

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