Sh*t, My Toddler is Smarter Than I Am
I know you are going to watch this video of my 19-month-old daughter and think, “Awwwww, she is so cute...Wow, she is pretty smart for her age.” And I think the same thing. And then I sigh and get a tight feeling in my chest, because this concerns me, greatly. So much so that it is honestly keeping me awake at night in combination with my irrational fears about house fires, murderers and deadly slip and fall accidents in the shower (although honestly, after what we have all seen in Colorado, nothing really feels like an irrational fear).
Why do I find the ABC's and numbers 1-10 so threatening? Because I know without a shadow of a doubt that she is going to be smarter than me. And I am pretty confident that she will do so, by oh, I don't know, age four.
And then what am I supposed to do?
The last math class I took was my junior year of high school. In college I majored in journalism (more on that faux pas in a moment), and journalism majors were not required to take any math classes. But, and this is a big but here, I tested so poorly on the math part of the college entrance test that I had to take remedial math. Where, at the age of 18, I learned how to do long division and add and subtract fractions all over again. And I still didn't nail it. I got a B- in the class. In adding and subtracting fractions. I think 5th graders tackle that in the first month of class.
Okay, I did manage to get As in all of my sociology and journalism classes. Which means that I was really good at observing and discussing societal issues and norms, and finding good subjects to interview that helped me tell a story about a topic. But majoring in journalism is sort of like majoring in public speaking, you learn the skills of presenting information, but don’t really learn much…well…information. I know I am oversimplifying this all a bit, while being a tad self-deprecating and probably insulting some people along the way, but the truth is, I really do worry about how I am going to keep up with Ellie.
I will have no problem teaching her how to tell a good story, but I wish her the best of luck on grammar. And I can tell her how amazing the people were in England, Ireland and Italy when I studied abroad right after September 11th, and how beautiful many parts of this country are - but I really hope she doesn’t ask me to find specific cities and towns on a map – because I am not so good at that either. And forget about alphabetizing. Just forget about it. When I worked at my dad’s office in high school, I actually wrote out the entire alphabet on a sheet of paper and taped it to the filing cabinets to refer to, so I would stop misfiling documents. I was 18. I am not proud, I am just honest.
So I lay in bed at night and imagine how our conversations are going to go in a few years when she is telling me things that I can’t really expound on, when all I can add to the conversation is, “Wow, that really is interesting Ellie, tell me more.” And then I remind myself, that becoming a parent has taught me so many things that I knew nothing about prior to becoming pregnant, and somehow, I have managed to learn those lessons on the job – so I guess I’ll do just fine with the future lessons too.