Friday, May 11, 2012

The Genius Kid

Not my image-- obviously
As I have mentioned before, I work as a substitute teacher at my daughters' school.  This morning, I had the extreme pleasure of spending some time in one of our school's second grade classrooms.  My daughters are in second grade, and although I wasn't in class with either of them, several of the students I was with recognized me as Princess and Birdie's mom.  This started a small tangential discussion with the students.  During our little tangent, one boy, whom I did not recognize as ever having been a classmate of my girls before, noticed the picture of my family I keep in my school ID badge.  "Those are your kids?  Hey!  You're the mom of that genius kid?!  (He was pointing at Birdie's photo when he said this.)  Wow!"  His tone indicated something between awe and incredulity.

For some reason, this comment lit my brain up like a Christmas tree!

My first thought was Hell yeah, she's a freakin' genius!  I made one smart cookie!

That thought was quickly followed by Hey, wait a cotton-pickin' minute!  I think BOTH my girls are geniuses, little man!

Right after that, my brain registered the note of disbelief in his voice and I thought Why is it so surprising that I have smart kids?!  Don't let the hick accent fool ya, joker-- that would be a mistake.

Instead of voicing any of these thoughts, I opted for saying "yep.  Both Birdie and Princess are my girls.  Now let's take that word study test, whattaya say?"  (I also realized I would have been less cranky if I had gotten that second cup of joe before being sent to second grade.)

All during the word study test and for much of the rest of the day, I wondered how my little ladies would feel about being referred to as "genius" or "the smart kid".  I have to tell you, I was really worried.  I know that, as a kid, I sometimes liked but mostly disliked, being known as "the smart one".  I won't deny-- it had its perks.  I was always the kid that got to be the teacher's helper, because I was always the dork that got all her work done first.  (The fact that I liked being the teacher's helper just confirmed for my classmates my innate dorkiness.)  I did NOT like how being "the smart one" made all of my mistakes fodder for public discussion and ribbing.  "Oooohhh, how could you get that wrong?!" or  "the nerd messed up for a change!"  I just wanted to tell those jerks irritating classmates "trust me, I am aware that I was momentarily stupid.  Now I know how you must feel all the time!"  But I was a good girl in school, so instead I would blush, feel mortified, and exact my revenge on my enemies by ruining the curve on tests.  BWAHAHAHAHA!!!!  Because of my own insecurities in school, I had to know how my girls felt about this.

So I asked.

Princess:  I don't mind.  I tried to keep my brain a secret, but I guess it's hard to keep one this big a secret for long.  I also really like it when my classmates say I'm good in art.

Well, okay then.  No shortage of self-esteem in that one.

Birdie:  I am proud that my classmates think I'm smart.  I think it's weird when they say I'm a genius, though-- my math skills could use some sharpening!  It'll be awhile before I am truly a genius.  I don't bother trying to explain that, though.

Glad I asked.

I know their answer to this question may change as they get older, but for now I have nothing to worry about!

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