Friday, December 17, 2010

Are you smarter than a preschooler?

P and I enjoyed watching Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader, because, well, more often than not we weren't. But watching others fail as miserably as we did was a heck of a lot of fun. It's really amazing the things we have "learned" and forgotten. Obviously SS is very concerned about my intellectual capabilities. Let's face it, the girl has yet to see me doing anything remotely requiring an IQ in the double digits since we met. I am not going to deny the obvious and lash out in anger, she sees what she sees and has decided to enlighten her lame brained Mama. Baba does not need retraining as he makes a living in a line of work that requires thinking.

While I have resigned myself to my fate, it hurts a little when SS starts her daily drilling. Let me tell you that payback is a bitter b*tch. SS drills me on letters, numbers, animal names, and the biggest insult to date, Spanish. Do I hear an "Oh no she didn't?" The little stinker drilled me on body parts in Spanish. I was aware that I was in need of intellectual stimulation, but that last blow was an eye opener. But wait, it gets better. SS was holding three of her hats, her fedora, her pink cap and her Chicago Zoo hat. I thought she was mulling over which one to wear. SS walks in front of me, holds them up and asks "Mama, are these the same or different?" I did not know whether to be highly offended or highly amused. The latter won out, but only because she's so darn cute. I swear if she was ugly we would have exchanged words.

I spent several years doing forensic interviewing of minors who were suspected victims of physical, emotional or sexual abuse. It was the most rewarding job I have ever done. Regardless of the age, every interview begins by qualifying the minor in an age appropriate manner. One thing I learned is how much more young children know and notice than the adults around them think. Another thing I learned is how terrible teenagers are with the concept of time, even with every electronic gadget available to them. Teenagers are also notoriously terrible at correctly reading facial expressions. Seriously, I read a scientific article where teens and adults were shown pictures of people making rather obvious facial expressions. It was baffling the amount of times the teens were wrong. Not all of them are sociopaths when they calmly sit like nothing is wrong, while a parent is about to self- combust from anger. It's a brain development phenomenon, not that it made me feel better when JJ experienced it, and it won't make me feel better when it's SS's turn.

SS's same and different question made me realize that it was not a preschool thing, it was a Mama is bat sh*t crazy thing. While responsible parents focus on their kids learning their ABCs and 123s, SS has spent more time than children her age on other topics. I use SS's cars to gauge whether she gets under/over, inside/out, in front/behind... I think I was distressed that she was not getting her colors right before age 3 out of a misguided sense as well. The same or different question is one of the first ones SS nailed. And before anyone thinks I had my daughter in a cold room, sitting on a wooden chair, deprived of food and water with a flood light over her, relax. When we really want to impart punishment we simply waterboard her. It was all done while playing, in a very non invasive manner. I seriously doubt SS will remember it in the future. SS and I have played a LOT since coming home, and somewhere along the way my way of qualifying children made it into our play. It is what I'm comfortable doing.

At that moment, when she turned into a mini me, things fell into place. She perfectly mirrored what I have been doing with her. The way she made sure she was at eye level with me by using her step stool (I was sitting on the sofa). She slightly hunched just so, like she has seen me done endless times out of habit, the way she smiled while asking her brain twisting question, the soft tone of her voice and her slow pronunciation. It was one of the few times when I forgot about everything I have done and will do wrong, and just enjoyed the moment. It kinda made my day. Yuck, she's right, I do need intellectual stimulation, it is the only thing that will help me progress from this preschool quizzing hell.

SS, you got one thing wrong, you give a correct choice, an incorrect choice, and then ask "or something else." Always give the kid an out. I think you are going to do better at interviewing than your Mama. I am so proud of you.

SS enjoying her extra crispy bacon. The girl was not born to become a Seven Day Adventist.

What to do when you can't decide which hat to wear? You go SS style and wear them all. We were so relieved that we did not have to go out in public that afternoon.

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