And it's not that we're not intelligent. Actually, if you're anything like me, you like to assume your child gets his or her inordinately large brain from you. But there are some ways kids today simply have the upper hand in matters of mental acuity. Just don't tell the tiny little humans in my household I said so — I'd like to at least feign maintaining the balance of power a little longer.
This is both an advantage and a disadvantage to a parent. On the downside, they inexplicably never forget those things you sometimes say when trying to convince your kids to go along with something. You know the type: "But, Mom, you said..." On the plus side, they never forget birthday parties, playdates and where in the heck you parked your car. My kid's memory has saved many a trip to the grocery store or mall from me roaming the lanes clicking my car horn.
I kid you not; sometimes I legitimately wonder if I should go back to school. No, not graduate school or any sort of higher education, but grade school. These spirals of self-doubt are typically preceded by a small child asking me to help them with their homework. Homework that to me is so complex and impossible to comprehend that it may as well be written in another language. Which brings us to our next point.
Did I have language arts classes growing up? Sure. But they weren't nearly as immersive as kids' language arts classes are today, and they didn't start nearly as young. Pair that with my kids' penchant for Dora the Explorer, and they've already exceeded my limited grasp of another language. My daughter knows it, too, considering when she tries to converse in Spanish, I only ever say hello (hola!) and ask where the bathroom is (¿Dónde está el baño, por favor?).
In full disclosure, if you ever come to my house and forget to put a recyclable item into the recycle bin, you will be read the riot act by my 4-year-old. I wish I'd had these kinds of smarts when I was her age. Kids today, though, constantly hear about climate change and the greenhouse effect and, well, it's apparently sticking. My kid can tell you precisely how long a soup can will sit in a landfill and why we should never, ever, ever under any circumstances throw away Styrofoam.
While I'm still trying to figure out how to set up voice mail on my new phone, my kids have already logged in and downloaded apps, created their own profiles and reconfigured my screen saver. Oh, and they downloaded the latest update for me. Modern kids were basically born with USB ports — they are totally tapped into all things technological, unlike us dinosaurs of the not-so-digital age.
I'm not simply talking about the know-it-all attitude kids of a certain age adopt, although that clearly does happen. However, we've gotta give these kids credit where credit is due. They store seemingly endless amounts of obscure information in their tiny heads. They can recall weird statistics about animals, give you a brief history lesson on presidential candidates and so much more. Their minds are like little bear traps.
Remember that scene in Forrest Gump when Forrest disassembles and reassembles his Army gun in, like, no time flat? Imagine that scene, but swap out Forrest for any small child and swap out the Army gun for, well, pretty much anything. Kids are so good at taking something apart and then working out how to get it back together that I'm considering creating an entrepreneurial career for them as IKEA furniture assemblers.
The worst part about this is that what they've done doesn't actually sink in until later. My daughter has achieved ninja status in this respect. She waits until she's on the losing side of an argument and then, at the precise moment, quotes something I've said in a previous argument, verbatim. How could I find fault with that logic? After all, it was mine in the first place.
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