Tuesday, September 4, 2007

I Don't Mean to Brag, But You Should Know That I Got a 14,000 On The SOS

Since school has begun I am once again playing the role of dumb mother. I am not really dense, but I am constantly shocked at how impaired my kids think I am. I don't think I have ever done anything to make them question my intelligence. There was one time back in 2002 that I washed a wool sweater and it shrunk to the size to fit a cabbage patch doll. And of course the incident where I put the mostly empty shampoo bottle in the dishwasher in an effort to clean it for recycling. It was difficult to hide bubbles bursting from the appliance as they uncontrollably spewed across the oak kitchen floor.

But those occurrences are very rare and are not exactly a sign of lack of wisdom. They are simple mistakes that people from all walks of life make every single day.

Nevertheless when D2 asks me to sit down and help her with 3rd grade math, inevitably she seriously questions my knowledge of the subject. And I suppose it was getting a little old. So I was completely in the right to react the way I did.

A few days ago she had to specify the season for the date of March 7, 1998. When she wrote "spring", I shook my head, "Are you sure about that?" "Yes, mom! That is what my teacher said." Which loosely translates into, no matter what you and your years of education and your bachelors degree at a terrific private school where you tested out of all basic math classes and enrolled directly into Engineering Calculus 112 think, I know and my teacher knows more than you.

But it is not like I was questioning the solution to a quadratic equation. So since two can play this power trip game I reminded D2 that back in 1986 I got 29 on the ACT and 1140 on the SAT. That I took those tests only once, one of which was taken the Saturday morning of my junior prom after staying up all night on Friday to decorate the school gymnasium. That I almost got a perfect score on the math section. And that it was entirely likely that her teacher did not do half so well on these exams, so even if D2's memory was absolute, I would still be right and her teacher would be wrong. So there. Then I stuck out my tongue for effect.

With this new information, D2 scratched her head, sunk her chin into her hand and finally scribbled "winter" after erasing "spring."

Having satisfactorily made my point, D2 did not give me any more guff as we completed the homework page. Meanwhile I sat sorrowing for betraying and insulting her teacher so early in the school year. In case you have never done so, boasting about your intelligence to an eight year-old while slamming the only adult she adores more than anyone outside the family makes you feel about as tall as bowling ball. And you really hope your eight-year old experiences some short term memory loss. And soon.

Mine, I found out, did not.

Last night we were playing Balderdash as a family. DH voted for one of my made up definitions. When it was revealed that "zinzulation" was not really a trickle shock felt when coming in contact with low voltage electricity, but actually Japanese insulation, DH exclaimed, "No way! How could anyone have come up with that!"

When I acknowledge that the fictional electrical definition was mine, D2 helped explain the mystery to DH. "You know she got a fourteen thousand on the SOS. Mommy's smart!"


  1. Ah, Balderdash...

    Also, I remember some of my teachers being dead wrong on things, but so entrenched in their beliefs that we had to "follow the fold" or else get those answers wrong on tests. Not to say we didn't challenge their stance, but we didn't challenge it when our grades were on the line. I think that's pretty smart in and of itself.

  2. That's high-voltage, Debbie! And your score was better than any score by Beethoven or Chopin.

    Love the picture, too.

  3. Sometimes I'm smart - other times - not so smart. I learned last Friday at work, don't run a sheet of acetate through a laser printer. Plastic melts when heated. UGH!

  4. I had a history teacher that was so set in her ways that she refused to change her curriculum. Once I got an answer wrong that was proven to have been right about 10 years prior and she still marked it wrong. I challenged it and go shot down.

    I showed it to my stepdad, he called the school and essentially explained that he isn't going to argue for a better grade, but that facts should be presented (especially in history). I think they told the old lady to update her tests and whatnot.

    BTW- you took the ACT in 86? I took it in 1999. Put that into perspective =)

    I so kid. I think I hit a 32 on it.

  5. Balderdash, its been a while since I've played that, think the words wetitty and poohawk, still stick in my mind though. I was lousy at maths, but a 14,000 does sound impressive.

  6. Deb,

    You don't know how many times I have felt quite dumb in the face of my children! But 14,000 on the SOS is truly impressive, I must say!


  7. I got a perfect score on the math portion of the ACT, but yesterday could not add 42, 40 and 37 in my head.
    I think motherhood is making my stupid.
    - Christine

  8. Bart,

    There are as many levels of smart as there are stupid. I agree.

  9. Chewy,

    That sounds not so fun at all. I'm so sorry!

  10. Dan,

    32 on teh ACT, eh? I knew someone would pipe up with a higher score once I admitted mine. Very good!

  11. Pope,

    Thsoe are interesting selections from the Balderdash archives. Way to go!

  12. Phaseout,

    Yeah 14,000 is not so bad, huh?

  13. Christine,

    You've probably figured it out by now but it is 119. Right?

  14. yeah for brilliant women who choose to use their intellect and knowledge to raise and educate their children! i will never forget the high school english teacher, who, upon discovering that after college i wanted to raise a family and stay at home with them, she proclaimed it "a terrible waste of a great mind." she meant it as a compliment, but it troubled me then and still does that society at large doesn't think that our children deserve to be raised by intelligent people. as if childrearing was so simple and unimportant that we should leave it for the people that could never make it in the professional world. ugh.
    and yet, d2 clearly wasn't sure if you could actually be brighter than her teacher (or at least right when her teacher was wrong.) oh, well.

  15. PHHHHHT!

    You and your inferring that you are so much older than me (I'm sure you did somewhere...)

    I took the ACT in 1987 at the LAST possible minute - as opposed to a number of my peers who "studied," took it once, got a 31 - which is, incidentally, what I got (a 33 on science - so don't you all be goin' and dissin' when I make my "scientific" comments") and then they went back and took it again so they could get the perfect 36.

    I don't remember what I got on the SAT's. I do remember felt like crap that day, and I only took it because I was a National Merit Finalist (or semifinalist? - see I don't even remember that).

    Anyway, I thought someone should split the difference between you and Dan. Do we have a 30 out there? Going once? Going twice? Going thrice?

    Too bad I suffer from a rare malady that has gradually eaten away certain areas of my brain. For instance, the dorsal fronto-median cortex, has been obliterated in terms of self-control in regards to my speech and writing. Also, the Broca's area in the inferior frontal gyrus of the frontal lobe of the cortex (something to do with making words and having them come out the front of your head or somethin') and the the frontal lobe (especially dorsolateral prefrontal cortex), the parietal lobe as well as interaction with the hippocampus (what were those for again?) are in trouble.

    Too bad, so sad.

    Crazy, Losin' it Kate of Le monde de fromage de Kate

  16. I'll go you (perhaps) one better on the dishwasher story.

    I once put shampoo in the dishwasher ON PURPOSE. I thought I had put little enough in to do the dishes but not have foam leak out. Wrong. The dishes were marvelously clean, though.

    Also, I have a linoleum floor, so after the mop up, I had a very clean linoleum floor. Not all bad.

  17. this was just funny! You smartie pants, you! I'm the parent with the good grades and scores too....I love whipping them out at the most opportune times!

  18. Michal,

    So true! My junior high principal called me into his office when on a testing report I had indicated I planned to major in home economics. It was my favorite class!

    Anyway, he was certain I had filled in the wrong circle by mistake and hoped I meant to say engineering.

  19. Oh Brilliant Scientific One AKA Kate,

    If I were only half so smart as I was in 1986 or 1987... At least now I am a bit wiser. I suppose I am trading a bit of wisdom for brainy smarts every day.

  20. Suldog,

    Yes the key difference is linoleum vs wood floor. If I ever have it to do over the wood floors will not be in the kitchen.

  21. b.,

    Great idea. Maybe I'll pull out the old report cards, test scores, etc. and keep copies by the homework folders. Ah ha! Now you're thinkin'!

  22. Hey Deb! Too funny. I had some brilliant comment to make, but I forgot it. Mother brain. I used to be fairly smart. *grin*

  23. Eve,

    You still are smart - brilliant in fact. I'm sure of it!

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