Time is a Vortex…
…and it just sucks!
Seriously tho, I’ve been meaning to update here – it’s just that things are crazy right now. We’re trying to get ready for a vacation that starts Friday – Buttercup is sick (looks like croup) and that means multiple awakenings in the middle of the night. I keep thinking of things to say, but never finding the time to sit down and say them. And when I do have the time? I don’t have enough functional braincells to come up with coherent sentences.
Such is parenthood, I suppose.
When I was pregnant with my daughter, I worried like any soon-to-be-new-parent does. But honestly, probably not about the same things. One of my greatest fears was that my daughter wouldn’t be smart.
Yes, yes – I know – we’re all supposed to pretend that we just want happy, healthy babies. But I said “honestly” above, and I’m being candid here. I was worried that my daughter wouldn’t be smart. By that I mean really smart. I know that intellectual ability is the one area we’re all supposed to pretend we don’t take pride in and don’t value. It’s okay to be ecstatic if your child has the athletic ability of Tiger Woods or the voice of Charlotte Church – but we’re supposed to keep quiet about it if s/he has the brain of Albert Einstein.
The thing is, if it’s shallow to value intelligence, then I’m one of the most shallow people out there.
I couldn’t have married my husband if he hadn’t been at least as intelligent as I am. I really am incapable of maintaining any kind of lasting friendship with someone of simply “average” intelligence… not because they aren’t valuable people – but because we value different things.
I’m an information junkie… a knowledge addict, if you will. If posed the question “would you rather be extraordinarily beautiful or extraordinarily smart?” there would be no hesitation as I answered the latter. What I find fascinating in other people is their minds. Stephen Hawking is far sexier to me than any Hollywood pinup boy.
So the prospect of having a child who fell lower on the spectrum when it comes to that sort of thing was rather, well, terrifying. Because I didn’t know (still don’t) that I wouldn’t end up being too shallow to be a good parent to her as a result.
Yes, this is a handicap. Yes, it is a personality flaw of mine. No, I’m not going to gloss over it. I am what I am.
Fortunately for both me and Buttercup, she’s smarter than I am.
Fortunately for me right now, she is not yet as informed or educated as I am… because when I say smarter I mean raw intellectual potential. For the moment, I can make up the difference with data and experience. I have knowledge and wisdom to balance out the difference in our intelligence – thank heavens. But I’d say I’m going to be hard-pressed to keep up with her when she’s a teenager.
I say this because I clearly remember being her age. I remember vivid scenes and experiences. I also remember that I wasn’t as quick to pick up or understand things she does at the rate she does.
Little things remind me of this all the time. Like lying in bed with her the other night when she first started getting sick, trying to calm her down enough to go to sleep. After 5 minutes of silence in the dark, as I thought she was drifting off, a little voice suddenly says “Mommy? Why do we have teeth?”
I explained to her that it was so we could chew our food, so we wouldn’t choke. She then asked me why babies didn’t have teeth – and trying to avoid a biology lecture at bedtime I said “that’s just how we’re born – that’s why babies don’t eat food when they’re born, they drink milk – and when you get teeth, you start eating food.”
“That’s silly,” she said, “if you need something you ought to have it before you need it. Why don’t we have teeth before we need them?”
Trying to avoid having a discussion with my 4 1/2 year old about biology, evolution vs. creationism, and intelligent design vs. random mutations I simply said “I don’t know honey, go to sleep.”
Yes, it’s a cop out. But seriously, what else was I going to say just then?
I foresee many, many long discussions in our future. I wonder if I can learn enough additional data before then to hold my own. As she said, it’s silly not to have something before you need it if you know you need it… So I’d better get to work acquiring it before she figures it out.
Especially since my new fear isn’t that my child won’t be smart enough for me – but that I won’t be smart enough for her. Ah well, she’s compassionate too – she’ll probably take pity on her poor, old shallow Mom… and only laugh a little bit at me.