Thursday, February 27, 2014

Are You As Smart As a Five Year Old?

I'm a fairly smart guy.

I got good grades in high school. I scored quite well on my college entrance exam. I have a college degree. I've never fallen for that "Nigerian prince" e-mail scam or believed that Bill Gates would send me money for liking a Facebook post.

I'm a fairly smart guy.

But, I'm not as smart as my wife.

So, it would figure that our kids would be smart, too. I long ago came to the conclusion that one day my kids would be smarter than me. I just didn't think it would happen so soon.


Yesterday when we sat down for breakfast I learned one of the disadvantages of having a kindergartener who can read on a sixth grade level. We were having cereal, which is, of course, the favorite of the kids. (At times they have argued against french toast and/or waffles in favor of cold cereal!) We try to let them have cereal only a couple of times a week, and we try to keep them away from the super-sugary marshmellowy cereals. (No Lucky Charms or Froot Loops here!) (Maybe if the Loops were made with "Fruit" instead of "Froot" we'd let our kids eat them!)

They were eating Chocolate Cheerios. Roni had the box right in front of her. Suddenly, she says, "I want to have a good heart, so I should eat these every day." (It says on the box, "May Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease." The word "May" makes the whole claim seem a little questionable to me. I mean, what's to keep them from saying things like "May Help You Become a Better Quarterback," or "May Help You Be a Better Piano Player," or "May Reduce the Risk of Stubbing Your Toe.")

"May" reduce your chance of being called for jury duty.

Roni continued. "I eat these so I can have a good heart." She then tried to get her three-year old brother involved. The exchange went like this:

Roni: "Don't you want a good heart, Buzz?"
Buzz (not understanding what his sister was trying to get him to say): "No. I want Chocolate Cheerios."
Roni (to me): "I want a good heart."
Buzz: "No. I want Chocolate Cheerios!"
Roni: "I want a good heart."
Buzz: "I want Chocolate Cheerios."
Me (to Roni): "You have a good heart." (To Buzz): "And you have Chocolate Cheerios." (To both): "So, I think you are both doing okay."

And truthfully, she does have a good heart. (Although I'm not sure how much the Chocolate Cheerios have to do with it.)


Later in the evening, I learned a lesson about using sarcasm with a sharp-witted five year old.

Roni was putting her fingers in her milk. Which, of course, is something she shouldn't be doing. The conversation went something like this:

Me: "Get your fingers out of your milk! What kind of land do you live in where you think it's okay to put your fingers in your milk?"

Roni (takes fingers out of milk and thinks for a second): "Ummm… FingersInMilkLand. It's a long ways away. Nowhere near Belgium. Nowhere near Kansas. Actually, it's close to Hawaii. Have you ever been to Hawaii?"

Me: "No."

Roni: "Well, then, it's really close to Hawaii. And close to another place you would really love. It's right next to the Land of Cheese."

She knows my weaknesses. (Mmmm....cheese!) Her misdirection ploy worked, because I momentarily forgot about the fingers in the milk and was instead thinking of the Land of Cheese. (Mountains of Swiss with lots of caves to explore! And rivers of molten Velveeta!)

(On the plus side, Roni didn't put her fingers in her milk again.) (That I know of.)


This morning I went and played basketball with some of the neighborhood guys. I wore an old "Star Trek the Next Generation" t-shirt that I got at my first "Star Trek" convention. (Yes, I've been to more than one "Star Trek" convention.) (Hasn't everyone?)

When I got home, Roni looked at my shirt and started to read it.

Can you believe it's been over 20 years since Star Trek: The Next Generation went off the air? Dang, I'm getting old!

She picked out two things to ask me about. 1) "Q's Visiting Again," and B) "Drinking with Guinan."

In trying to explain the character of "Q" I ended up using the word "mischievous," which I then had to define for her. I tried to keep my description of "Q" fairly vague, because I didn't want her fixating on him like she has recently with the characters from Star Wars. She's never seen any of the Star Wars movies, but a classmate told her about the movies so now she feels like she knows the characters. Just the other day she said had been "teaching Han Solo how to sing like Ariel." (Hmmm…Star Wars meets The Little Mermaid! They're both owned by Disney now, so as crazy as it sounds, it just might work!)

And as far as Guinan is concerned, I explained to Roni that she is a nice, friendly, smart person who wears really silly hats. So, if Roni compares you to Guinan, take it as a compliment. (But think about wearing a different hat next time.)


So, am I smarter than a five year old? It depends on the five year old. 

Am I smarter than my five year old? It depends on the subject. 

But, by the time she's seven I won't stand a chance.