Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Pass the Brains, or How I’m Putting My Education to Use

My four year old boy still has to show me all his poops. I feel bad that I no longer get freakishly excited about each one, high-fiving him and skipping happily to the kitchen to get him a treat, but I still have the privilege of viewing them. And butt wiping. Lucky me! Anyway, he had a really gross one today. (I’ll spare you the detailed description.) So I told him it was gross. He repeated it enthusiastically: “It’s a really gross poop!”, to which I replied, grimacing, while dumping it out of the frog potty into the big boy toilet, “Tell me about it.” Without skipping a beat he said, “Well, it comes out of my body…”

I’d like to say he proceeded to detail the intricacies of the digestive system (which we have studied many times in his body book), but instead he stuck his butt out and made the fart sound—with his mouth, that is—and told me in a far less scientific fashion about how poop works.

I love how kids interpret things so literally. He still asks me what a bet is each time I say “wanna bet?”, like he needs to know if a bet is some great thing that he most definitely would want. As if I was asking him if he wanted a cookie. And the way they interpret everything is just awesome. I was cutting the boy’s fingernails earlier and he told me “Don’t go too far or you will touch my blood,” which hearkens back to the body book, the circulatory system more specifically: one of his favorites because he’s slightly obsessed with blood. “Do we have blood in our tongues? Do we have blood in our toes? Do we have blood in our tummies?” Of course it got real confusing when we talked about the respiratory system and how it puts oxygen in our blood.

I know he just turned four and the Body Book is intended for ages 8 and up, but I get a kick out of teaching my kids “advanced” ideas. It reminds me that I used to know things. I like to pretend that I’m still putting my education to daily use, plus it’s fun to watch their wheels spin when I tell them things. Like how storms are created when hot and cold air collide. Like how calcium and protein benefit your bones and muscles so eat your damn food, and how your body metabolizes sugar and it makes you crazy, so no cookies for you before bedtime (despite the fact that recent studies say otherwise. I think they’re full of crap because he’s nuts on sugar). Like gravity and energy and other physics-y stuff. Like the movement of tectonic plates, which was totally applicable while watching the earthquake ("earthshake") scene in “The Land Before Time” (which, by the way, is a ridiculously sad movie, especially when your kids ask you where Littlefoot’s mommy is). Of course things like plate tectonics engenders endless questions such as “Why does the earth do that?” Sometimes I’ll rattle off a complex scientific answer and sometimes I’ll say really smart things like “Because it does.” 

Right after the earthshake. Also, did you know this movie came out in 1988?
Itemizing the differences between mammals and other classes of animals becomes quite the ordeal too. Of course the moment I’ve laid out the basics we encounter a freaking platypus on TV. “Mommy that’s a bird because it has a beak and lays eggs.” No. “Mommy that’s a mammal because it’s furry.” Maybe...? Freaking platypus. The whale is equally confusing. And the concept of being warm-blooded and cold-blooded is tricky for a four-year-old brain. (Also a 28-year-old brain.) Then there’s the whole carnivore/herbivore/omnivore debacle. Sheeesh. 

So that covers anatomy, biology, meteorology, geology, and physics. History is lacking, but we’re working on geography. He knows South America because that’s where Diego lives. Both kids know most of their letters…at least the upper case ones, and most of the lower case. Dirt can read a few words, including his own name and the name “Coors”. Yeah. He gets ridiculously excited when pointing out a Coors truck, or loudly (and embarrassingly) yelling out the name in the liquor store. (Bear in mind that Coors is his father’s place of employment…which logically results in Coors products in the home. Duh.) Tuesday, who is 2 1/2, habitually reads the movie poster in her room “B-R-A-V-E. That spells brave!” I was very impressed the first time that happened, but then she looked at her clock and said “2, 6, 9, 1. That spells clock!”

So what other subjects are we lacking? Math? They can count to about fourteen, after which their numbers become nonsensical. OH! And they know some French and Italian and Japanese and Spanish…like bonjour and amore and ichi, ni, san, and uno, dos, tres, and pinche. AAANNNND of course they’re accomplished artists, kicking out Pollock "masterpieces" like nobody’s business. AAAAANNNND rockstar genius musicians. Okay, no, banging on drums and crazily strumming toy guitars while yelling like monsters isn’t exactly Mozart…more like thrash metal or something. 

Before you get too annoyed by my maternal bragging, let me remind you of the poop story at the beginning. And the butt wiping. And, for your enjoyment, an example of an everyday conversation—hardly the civilized, intellectual dialogue —as follows:

Me, yelling: “Tuesday, stop screaming! Dirt, Stop being a jerk!”
Dirt, condescendingly: “That’s not a nice word.”
Me, rolling eyes, still yelling: “Then stop being one. Tuesday, you’re FINE! Stop screaming!”
…ten seconds later…
Me, eyes bulging: “Dirt, leave Tuesday ALONE! Tuesday, stop making that horrible noise! Use your words!!!”
Tuesday, furiously at Dirt: “Don’t EBER do dat!”

[She always repeats things from our extreme parenting moments, like “Don’t EVER do that” and “I’ve told you so many times” and something about not listening, but I forget how it goes. Whatever. It’s totes adorbs. Her stern tiny voice and scowly tiny face.]

Uuuuuummmmmm so my point? My point has wandered off and gotten lost. Because it's 1 in the morning and I'm only still awake cuz the husband is working nights and I took a long, glorious afternoon nap earlier. Also I made chocolate chip cookies at 9 and ate lots of the dough. I guess my point is just that my kids are super geniuses. And college is definitely worthwhile. And that there should be some special quotation marks or italics specifically meant to indicate sarcasm in writing. 


  1. Sarah, you're a genius. Your kids are ridiculously bright. But, let's get one thing straight: isn't a platypus a mammal? I'm not hip with the scientific classifications, but feel this animal may be getting a bad rep since everyone's all like "it's a mammal!" "no, it's a bird!" - Your friend K

  2. Yeah...I guess you're right. LOL. I thought maybe they were a weirdo marsupial since so many of the animals in Australia/New Zealand are out of the regular boxes. Should have googled that shiz since that knowledge slipped my mind...

  3. I'm with you on the whole sugar thing. I read that study too. The thing is I have seen the sugar in action with my own eyes. I am confident they will eventually figure out there is a connection between sugar and kids getting a little crazy.


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