Friday, January 16, 2009

Are You Smarter than a Second Grader?

I don’t claim to be very bright. But I thought my children would graduate from elementary school before surpassing my IQ. My son’s in the second grade, and he’s quickly becoming the forerunner for smartest-in-the-house. My reign was short-lived.

It doesn’t help that a lot of the stuff I learned in school is outdated. Yes, I’m that old. Like Pluto. A couple years ago it received an interstellar demotion and is no longer a planet. So, "My Very Excellent Mother Just Made Us Nine Pizzas," no longer applies.

And neither does Roy G. Biv. Remember that one? Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet: the color sequence of the rainbow. Well apparently, “indigo” was fired because it was unable to adequately distinguish itself from Blue and Violet. And there was no press release for that one. I only found out after missing the question while playing Cranium. I lost, by the way, in Cranium. The irony in that does not escape even me.

All this makes me highly unqualified to help my children with their homework. Unless, of course, the new definition of “help” is nag until it’s done. If that's the case then someone please crown me Queen Homework Helper, because that is an arena in which I excel. In fact, is there were a board game for nagging, I’d challenge anyone of you people. Bring it.

But alas, even with my sub-par intellect, I know that helping my children with their homework requires just as much guidance as it does, ahem, encouragement. But what kind of tutor am I? I can barely remember my multiplication tables without the help of a Pee Chee folder (and they don’t even sell those anymore).

My son’s taken to asking me obscure questions like, “Is an otter a mammal?” or “What plants come from spores?” or, my personal favorite, “How does a whale go to the bathroom?” This is where I must be honest and acknowledge that my master’s degree is in creative writing. So I could answer all my son’s questions with stunning brilliance that includes unforgettable details and perhaps a Greek hero with a tragic flaw, but I’m sure it would eventually land the poor kid in the principal’s office. So my typical answer always includes, “Let’s Google that one later, okay?” My kids think Google is like Einstein or something.

So there you have it. Apparently I am not smarter than a second grader. Now wiser, that’s another question. Okay, so it’s not, people. Do I get brownie points for being old?

Anyone, anyone?

Thursday, January 08, 2009

I haven't been posting...

So I decided that instead of having a whole new blog, I would just change the name of this one. And I would try to post now and then... The two posts below are from the column, but I do have A LOT of other stuff I want to post about, and one of my New Year's unResolutions is to get busy and post. We'll see how that goes.

Thanks for stopping by (and not giving up on my lil ole blog...).

The unResolution

It’s that time of year again, where we aspire to become better (and thinner) people. I always get tense when friends start talking about the New Year. There’s so much pressure to make a list of resolutions—to start dieting, to go to the gym, to be nice. Isn’t life difficult enough already?

And I’ll be honest; I haven’t been too successful in my prior relationship with The Resolution. Maybe my expectations have been too high, my goals unrealistic, the onion blossom too tempting. Go figure.

So this year I’m taking a new approach to my New Year’s goals. No more unrealistic, overwhelming, grandiose resolutions. This year they will be completely attainable. Take a peek:

  1. Don’t yell at my kids, after bedtime. Because I’ll wake them up if I do.
  2. Lose all the weight I gained from December18st to January 3rd. News Flash: I won’t be acting as the Weight Watchers spokesperson anytime soon. I’m already on probation for all those lies I told you about holiday goodies being worth one point. What will they say when they discover I’ve outgrown my skinny jeans (purchased a mere 16 days ago)? So my second unresolution is to lose all the holiday cheer stuck to my backside.
  3. Stop Googling illnesses and their corresponding symptoms. My regular readers know that I’m a closet hypochondriac who consults Dr. Google every time my nose itches. Google will no longer be my homepage in 2009, nor will I continue visiting that wretched
  4. Vacuum my stairs. Okay, so I’m commitment-phobe who is unwilling to resolve anything more domestic than a once-over with the handi-vac. Baby steps.
  5. Be more positive. Right. Whatever. Like that’s going to happen. Okay, I’m just kidding. I will try to become all zen and stuff through meditation and positive affirmations designed to achieve good karma. Or I could just stop using pseudo swear words around the kids.

There you have it: my five New Years unResolutions. And seeing as how today is January 1st, 2009, I must remind myself to step away from the cheese ball and get back on that elliptical! See, they’re working already.

Happy New Year!

Why I'm Not Smart Enough to Be Santa

My oldest child is in the second grade and has been informed that Santa is not real. Some third-grade Grinch told my son that parents really masquerade as Santa Claus, filling stockings and leaving presents under the tree in the name of Jolly Old Saint Nick. Unless that kid’s parents are indeed Father Christmas, I don’t know what he’s talking about, because I’m not smart enough to be Santa. And I’ll tell you why.

First of all, I can hardly remember the names of my own three children let alone nine reindeer. And those elves? If you ask me, Santa’s running a sweatshop, and even Kathy Lee Gifford couldn’t get away with that. Only a jolly fellow like Kris Kringle, who pays his staff with sugar cookies and ski lift tickets, can make that racket work.

Not only that, but I don’t have the organizational skills required to hide presents from my own children until December 25th. I once “hid” the marshmallows from Zack and then forgot where they were, until I found him sitting on the counter stuffing them into his mouth (I had hidden them in the back of the silverware drawer—who hides marshmallows in the silverware drawer? Me, apparently.).

I also don’t know enough about the greater toy world to even pronounce half the things my children want. Would someone please tell me what distinguishes a Spectacular Spiderman action figure from your average, run-of-the mill Spiderman action figure? I leave those weightier issues to the big man in the red suit.
In fact, Santa would probably make a better parent than me. I’ve told you that the mere mention of Santa’s Naughty List will whip my kids into better shape than any Love and Logic strategy. Not that I plan on vacating my position anytime soon. I’m just sayin’.

Add to that the fact that I don’t drive well in the snow, have a horrible sense of geography, and wouldn’t be able to afford all those cookies on my Weight Watchers plan, and you have a mommy that can’t even apply for Santa’s job, let alone perform it.

So to all you children out there who think your moms and dads are doing Santa’s job, let me just say that in behalf of most parents in the free world, we don’t have the brain cells for it. Santa runs a tight ship and has to remember more things than I can track on my grocery list, so power to the big man. He’s doing a fine job and I won’t rock the boat by questioning his existence.

Will you?

Merry Christmas!