Category Archives: smart

And Then She Said

And then she said, “Your son is successful in all the areas here, he doesn’t need improvement in any of them.  Let me show you some of his work and give you some examples of what I am talking about…”

She pulled out the spelling test. “Your son,” she said, “was the only child in the entire class who knew how to spell every sight word we’ve learned so far.”

“Look at his writing,” she said, as she pulled out another sheet.  “And look here,” she pointed.  “He knows how to use punctuation marks!  I can talk about something one day and the next day he is incorporating it into his writing.  Because I know he is listening, it is easy for me to sneak in more learning.  I can write a question on the board and casually mention to the class that this is a question mark and we use it when we ask a question, and the next day your son is using question marks appropriately in his writing.  None of the other children are doing this.” 

“And here,” she pointed again, “he is using QUOTATION MARKS!  I talked about them just the other day and the next day he was trying them out!” 

“I LOVE having him in my class,” she said.  “I just get so excited because I see he is learning things and I can just slip new concepts in, like punctuation marks, and I know that he at least, will pick up on them.  We don’t usually teach punctuation marks in Kindergarten but it’s an easy thing for me to slip in there and your son picks up on it and has something new to think about and practice using.”

“In math, he is so advanced I’ve arranged to meet with the math enrichment teacher to have her develop a special math program for him so we can continue to meet his needs and so he won’t be bored.  It will be special, just for him, and only one or two other children in the entire Kindergarten.”

“The other children,” she went on, “look up to him and go to you son for help on things.  In fact, just the other day a bunch of them went up to him on the playground to get him to solve a problem for them.  They had been playing something and had some kind of problem and one of them said “Snags can help us solve this!”  And the children all agreed, so off they went to find him.  He has lots of friends here. He gets along with everyone.  He likes to help others.”

“He follows the rules, he is responsible. I can always count on him to listen and do what I have asked.  I don’t have to repeat myself.”

Right up until that last sentence I had been nodding my head and smiling encouragingly.  Tell me more! I thought. Go on, brag up my kid!  I thought.  I mean, I knew he was pretty smart.  We haven’t done any IQ tests or anything, but compared to some of the kids he plays with whom I can’t even understand, who don’t know their shapes or their colors or how to count to ten, well, he just seemed pretty smart to me.  He can count up to 200, and he uses words like apparently and evidently and vegetation and possibility and perhaps.

But then she said “He follows the rules…I can always count on him to listen and do what I have asked.  I don’t have to repeat myself…” and I got such a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.  She can’t be talking about my kid, I thought.  Certainly not.  Listening?  Not having to repeat herself?  If she’s got this part confused with some other child, then maybe all the smarty pants talk was about another kid as well…

Because right before the babysitter knocked on the door so my husband and I could go to the parent-teacher conference, I had to take the LEGOS away for misbehavior.  For not listening.  For not following the rules.  Get a bath without arguing.  Brush your teeth and get your pajamas on…  “Okay, fine then.  I am taking away the LEGOS!”

But she said she was talking about my kid. 

So I invited her to come live with us.

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Filed under humor, Kindergarten, life, parent teacher conference, school, smart, Snags

Elementary Math Leaves Woman Without Chocolate

As we were driving to summer camp this morning my son said, “I’d like to drive around the neighborhood.  I’m interested in fountains.  Maybe I could buy one.”  This isn’t The City of Fountains we live in. It’s just that my son has an obsession with and an “eye” for decorative fountains, and can spot them hidden beyond a tree in your backyard from 17 miles away.  “Stop!  Go back!” he’ll yell as I’m driving.  “There’s a fountain back there!”  And if I do turn around and go back, it will turn out he’s spotted a fountain in a scene in a movie, playing on somebody’s television, and he caught a glimpse of it when they peeked through their mini blinds to get a check on the weather. Like when they were trying to decide, “Should I sit in the house and finish watching this Discovery Channel show about fountains, or should I go outside and mow the lawn?”

And it’s not like he needs a fountain, mind you.  He has quite an impressive fountain collection as it is. But I decided not to point out the obvious.  I didn’t say “You don’t NEED another fountain” which is what my husband would have done, and which would have provoked a long round of crying and pleading that I wasn’t up for.  Instead, I asked “Do you have any money?”  And he said “I have $5!  Oh and I have another dollar.  5 plus 1 makes 6!”  

“Didn’t your grandparents send you $5 recently?”  I asked.  “So how much do you have with that?  What’s 5 plus 6?” 

He thought about it and said, “Well, 5 plus 5 is 10, so that means I have $11!”  “Right!”  I said. Pretty good for a 5 year old, I thought.

Then, before I could stop myself, I said, “You know what?  I’ll give you $2 just for figuring out that hard math.” 

“It wasn’t hard” he said.  “I’m smart!”

“You are smart!” I agreed.  A comment that I realize goes totally against the recommendation of the New York Times magazine article How Not to Talk to Your Kids.

And then my son said, I’ll tell YOU what!  If I can tell you what 9 plus 9 is, you have to give me two more dollars!”  Because, you see, the kid IS smart, he knows he can’t buy a fountain with only $13 in his pocket.  He was angling to build up his savings, get a new fountain faster.  I thought about it for a second, considered the handful of bills I had stuffed somewhere at the bottom of my purse.  Were they all $1’s or did I have a $5 bill in there?  Would giving up another $2 leave me with nothing, thereby requiring a trip to the bank?  Before I had a chance to actually check, I took the bait.  I agreed we had a deal.

“But I’m going to count on my fingers” he said, as I shrugged.

Then I heard him in the backseat, counting to himself:  “One…two…three…four…five…six…seven…eight…nine…”  then a pause.  Then he started again “ten…eleven…nine…ten…eleven…”  He was quiet as I drove for about 4 miles.  Then he announced, with the utmost confidence, “NINETEEN! Nine plus nine is 19!” 

“Aw.  Nope!  But you were close” I said. 

 “TWENTY!” he shouted. 

“Nope.  Not quite,” I replied. 

“Fine then!” he sniffed.  “I don’t get the $2.  Never mind! Just forget it!”  He cried.

I asked if he wanted me to tell him the answer and he said no, “that would be cheating”. 

So I said simply, “You were close, but too high.”

“Eighteen!” He guessed.

“Right!”  I said.  “Now I owe you $2.” 

“No,” he said.  “I didn’t get the answer on the first try.  Never mind, it doesn’t count.”

“Okay,” I said, resigned to his surliness again.  No biggie, I thought.  I can keep my $2.  Maybe I’ll buy myself some chocolate with it.  Yes, I thought, determined.  I’ll buy myself some chocoloate!  I swear to you, as I thought about it, I could even taste it. 

But then he said, “Okay, you can give me $1.  Or… you can give me $2.  It’s okay.”

And I said, “Now wait a minute!  You said you couldn’t have the money since you didn’t get it on the first guess.”  And he said, “But I DELETED those other guesses when I said eighteen, so you have to give me the money!”

And that’s how I ended up short on cash when I went to buy myself that chocolate bar.

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Filed under chocolate, fountains, kids, math, money, smart