Monday, May 4, 2009

Oh, the ammunition.

The boy had his first Early Intervention appointment on Saturday (who knew City workers did weekends?) and it went gangbusters. Granted, the woman didn't have a chance - the boy knows when to dial up the cutes. Phase 1 was cognitive, checking to make sure that his brain is firing. Lucky for us (and hopefully Harvard) the boy is doing great. He may be no match for the Mensa toddler but he definitely inherited his daddy's brains. It's not that I'm a complete dumbass but let's put it this way: when Jessica Simpson posed the infamous Chicken of the Sea question ("Is it chicken or fish?") I had to think a minute.

I blame my lack of intellectual curiosity on Tamara Yaffe. She was my best friend Freshman Year - a cherubic, Jewish (so foreign!) whirl of wisecracks. We passed roughly 800 notes back and forth each day which left little time for things like "math" and "facts". What lesson plan could compare to Tamara's whip-smart analysis of her latest crush's kissing technique? Which is how I ended up with a 2nd grade understanding of the cosmos.

This fact came to light as I attempted to explain the universe to my son. Most mornings we start our day with a little thank you to the sun "which lights and heats our planet". Since it was the weekend and Matt was there, I decided to expand my repertoire to add the moon. ("Which controls the tides"). Which is right about where things got ugly. NPR was doing a story about the recent discovery of the oldest known object in the universe, which led to a talk about the galaxy, which led to me embarrassing the shit out of myself.

"What exactly are stars? I've never really known."

"They're suns."

"What?"

"They're suns."

"But then why is our sun so much bigger?"

(pause)

"You understand that the sun is a star, right?"

"Of course."

"You also realize that the sun only appears bigger because stars are millions of light years away. They aren't even in our galaxy."

"But I can see them."

(pause)

"Each star is a sun. With its own set of planets. Not annnnywhere near us."

"No way."

"HOW DO YOU NOT KNOW THIS?"

"I don't think they ever taught us that."

"I GUARANTEE they taught you that! Do you know about the Big Bang?"

"You don't have to get condescending."

"Oh, in this case I think I do! Did you know that the universe is continuously expanding and contracting, and all matter - everything that exists! All the galaxies! - was once compressed into a mass small enough to fit on the head of a pin?"

"NO WAY."

"READ A BOOK!"

And I got into college, kids. (Sarah Lawrence, NYU, Webster. Holla!)

I choose to believe that I have a different type of intelligence to pass on to my progeny. Charm smarts. Wow 'em with wit and they'll never notice the dumbass. (Unless you point it out to them. Fire away, Gunderman. Fire away.)

3 comments:

Lisa W. said...

ROFLMAO! Girl!!!! We are cosmic twins. (Pun intended.) For the record... my 4-year-old son knows infinitely more about the universe than I. Really. Truly. Not joking. Not too long ago (Jan '09) said 4-year-old (with a little help from the brains in the fam - Dad) enlightened me to the fact the the moon does not rotate. Did you hear me? The moon does not rotate!
Says Kelley, "Haven't you ever noticed the dark spots on the moon are always in the same spot?"

Huh?

OK... first of all, there are dark spots on the moon? And secondly, they don't move? WTF? Who is running this show?

I feel your pain, sister. And I am hear to tell you... it only gets worse. :-)

colleen said...

I was laughing so hard reading this, b/c I'm married to a scientist AND I still don't really understand how we get the seasons from the earth rotating or tipping or orbiting despite having two successive children ask me about it--then, after getting me all confused, getting a clear answer from dad--then, coming back to explain it to their clueless mom. They've even made little models to show it to me and I smile and nod but really, it's too much physics and math for me. Seasons happen. Whatever.

And how could I have completely forgotten about Tamara Yaffe?!! Remember her other half, Larke? I just ran across a bunch of pictures of the three of you posing theatrically.

Woman with a Hatchet said...

Woo!

Charming smarts are terribly important. Being charming is a LIFE SKILL that will get you more than one date and called back on more than one interview.

Put that in your hat and smoke it Mr. Fancypants!

(Although I was a bit surprised there. Clearly those must've been SOME notes!) : P