(Photo stolen from tsweden on Flickr)
Driving home from our weekly visit with my great Aunt Helen Tuesday night, and this happened.
ME: ". . . blah blah blah blah GENIUS blah blah blah . . ." Oops. Uh-oh. I had a bad feeling about that overused word as soon as it carelessly left my mouth. I can't be careless around --
SMEDLEY: "Mama, do you know any geniuses?"
SMEDLEY: "Why not?"
ME: "Well, geniuses are extremely rare. You and I aren't likely ever to meet a genius in our whole lives." Uh-oh, my spidey sense is tingling . . .
SMEDLEY: "I'm a genius." At this point I could have, should have stopped it.
ME: "No you're not." I really expected her to say, "Well, but I'm pretty smart," or something like that, and that would be the end of it. BUT NO-O-O-O-O.
SMEDLEY: "YES, I AM. I'M A GENIUS. I AM."
ME: "No, honey, you're not. Do you know what a genius is?"
SMEDLEY: "A genius is really, really smart."
ME: "True, but it goes way beyond just smart -- "
SMEDLEY, YELLING NOW: "I GO WAY BEYOND JUST SMART!"
SPARKY, THE 5-YEAR-OLD: "Guys, guys, relax! Calm down!" Condescended to by a 5-year-old. Arguing with a 7-year-old. We know who's NOT a genius here.
ME: "Honey, I'm not saying you're not smart -- of course you are. And more than that, we're proud of you when you work hard and do your best. But a genius is more than that. It's measured by a test score." Oh crap, I would have to say that. I know exactly what's coming next . . .
SMEDLEY: "Where do I get this test?"
ME: "Well, they used to test kids in school, but I don't think they do now." GAHH! Why can't I shut up, already? Listen to Sparky! Sing some Frosty the Snowman, fer cryin' out loud in a bucket!
SMEDLEY: "Did you take the test?" Lie. Lie, dammit, LIE!
ME: "Grandma says I did, but I don't remember." This just gets worse and worse. Are you high? STOP!
SMEDLEY: "Are you a genius?"
ME: "Certainly not." No argument from her, I notice.
SMEDLEY: "Well, what was your score?"
ME: "I don't know."
SMEDLEY: "They didn't tell you?"
ME: "They told Grandma, and she told them not to tell me."
SMEDLEY: "WHY NOT? THAT'S NOT FAIR!"
ME: "Grandma didn't want me to know, and I think that was very wise of your grandma."
SMEDLEY: "That's crazy. Grandma will tell me. Well, anyway, I AM A GENIUS, AND --"
ME: "Honey, did someone tell you that you're a genius?"
SPARKY: "Guys, guys! Forget it! Relax!" She did not say "chill out," for which I'll be eternally grateful.
SMEDLEY: "Auntie Helen. She says I'm a genius at drawing, all the time."
ME: "Honey, every member of our family has, at one time or another, been told by Auntie Helen that they are geniuses. It doesn't make it true. She just loves you, and --"
SMEDLEY: "But I AM a genius at drawing! When can I take the genius test?"
ME: "Not 'til you're 18." This is the first half of my standard answer, for everything from changing her name to moving out to coloring her hair to trying marijuana, and yes, I've already had all of these discussions with a 7-year-old. The second half of my standard answer is, "but not if I have anything to say about it."
SPARKY: "Christmas lights! I saw 'em first!"
SMEDLEY: "No, I did; I just didn't say anything."