May 25, 2011

Book Smart Ain't the Same as Street Smart, Kid...

As most of my dear Readers know, I have two children: Quinn, age 10 and Claire, age 8. Both children are, of course, gorgeous, delightful, polite, well-mannered, and extremely smart. No really. They are. Smart that is.

They both test very high and are good students. Quinn's been on the honor roll this whole year (they don't have honor roll for second graders, much to Claire's dismay.) The difference is, Claire's an extremely motivated smart kid, and Quinn is lazy. Typical boy-girl stuff.

When Claire was testing to get in to kindergarten, we were told that she could skip it and go directly into first grade. My thought was, she's smart -- but not that smart. She was simply a determined second child. I'd rather her be at the top of the class she's supposed to be in than struggling in the one she wasn't. I've never regretted that decision. Claire's bright, and she's a hard worker, and that's going to carry her far.

Quinn could be a straight A student if he wanted to. But there are just so many other things to DO like play Legos and read books and Wii and lay on the couch with Mama and watch TV... This is the child who, when he did poorly on his Spanish test, told the teacher, "Yeah, well, I'm not really so much a Spanish kind of guy." So it's a combination of threats, punishments, and rewards to keep him on honor roll. 'Cause it's certainly not going to be his athletic prowess that's going to get him a college scholarship.

One of Quinn's talents lies in his negotiation skills. Ever since he was very young, he had the ability to articulate his position in such a way that I'd forget I was talking to a five year old and find myself having a discussion about something like bath time or bedtime before it dawned on me, "Hey! I'm the grown-up! You do it because I say so!"

I share all that with you to preface the conversation my darling children had on the way to school this morning. I don't know what had occurred prior to them getting in the car -- but the following is the part I witnessed.

Quinn: I know what your problem is.

Claire: Oh really? What's that?

Quinn: I don't want to tell you 'cause you'll punch me.

Claire: I won't punch you.

Quinn: Yes you will.

Claire: I promise I won't punch you. Just tell me.

Quinn: Okay. You're problem is you're jealous of me.

Claire: Why am I jealous of you?

Quinn: You're jealous of me because I'm smarter than you are.

Now here's where I jumped in. I'm not going to have one kid calling the other one dumb.

Me: Actually, that's not true. You guys only scored one point apart in the academic testing you did. You're both above average with only one point difference. That's pretty much the same thing.

And I'll be damned if that little brat didn't come back at me with a point that a lot of adults I know wouldn't have been quick enough to pick up on.

Quinn: Pretty much isn't the same as is.

At this point we'd arrived at school. Claire picks up her backpack, calmly looks at her brother, and punches him -- HARD -- in the arm. Flits out the door, kisses me goodbye, and sashays into school.

Quinn, meanwhile, is slumped over in his seat holding his arm.

Me: Well, you may be smarter, but she's stronger, and next time -- I'd keep my mouth shut.

Book smart just ain't the same as street smart, kid

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