Thursday, July 12, 2012

I don't know much, but I do know the Chupacabra (and he's not the largest rodent in the world).

I will be the first to admit I am not smarter than a fifth grader.  Hell, I am not even smarter than my pre-schooler some days.  Half of this inability to compute can be blamed on my ever shrinking memory.  (Who are you?  Why are you reading my blog?)  The other half can be blamed on the fact that I really suck at all kinds of trivia, science, history, politics, and paparazzi.  And the other half can be blamed on the fact that I confuse things in my head on a regular basis.  (Was Neil Armstrong the first man on the moon, or a famous jazz musician?  Is a doppelganger something evil representing misfortune or is it a show about a harried detective that I like to watch on PBS?  Do I respect philanthropists or philanderers?)

When you have four kids who ask you everything under the freakin' sun all day long, and who during the summer are home 24/7 this can be a little problematic.

During the last six weeks here is an incomplete list of things I have been asked and that I have attempted (feebly) to explain (know that my kids now *might* be misguided):
  • What color is blood before it squirts out of your body?
  • What makes something radioactive?
  • What does "being paroled" mean?
  • What happens after the policeman arrests you for speeding?
  • Why are there magnets?
  • What's photosynthesis?
  • What's the tallest mountain in the world?
  • Why are no two fingerprints alike?
  • Who invented money?  Why can't we just make more at our house? 
  • Is Cinderella the one with the wicked step mother or is it Snow White?
  • What is Pixar from Disney Pixar?  What does it mean?
  • Which presidents are still alive?
  • Are there four Ice Age movies or three?
  • Is there more than one "f" word?
  • What's puberty?

Luckily my husband can explain most things (and if he can't, he just makes fairly believable sh*t up).  So, my usual answer goes something like this, "Photosynthesis is when some rare gases mix with the sun's rays and form tequila.  We use the tequila to make a common drink called a margarita.  There are many recipes for them and we usually put salt on the rim of the glass.  I think.  But, I am sure dad knows more, so when he gets home let's ask him.  And then mom will drink a margarita."  Or sometimes I just say, "That sounds like a great question for Google.  Go look it up and prepare a five page report on what you find."

Here's a short list of things I do not/did not know (just pulled randomly from this past month) mainly because I did not remember the facts as they were presented to me or I just plain don't know/don't care:

Many of these have to do with whether or not people are dead or alive and if they are dead, how they died.  You can analyze that at your leisure and decide whether or not I am obsessed and have a problem.  Or, I can save you the analysis and tell you:  Yes, I am.  I have many problems.

1.  I did not know Flo-Jo was dead. 
2.  I did not know Anne Frank died in the end (prematurely, I should say since we all die in the end).
3.  I did not know who Arlo Guthrie was.  Although, the 100th anniversary of Woody Guthrie's death has been commemorated on par with the death of Ronald Reagan (whose funeral might still be in progress).
4.  I am not sure what the largest sea animal is.
5.  I do not know which is bigger:  an elephant or a whale.
6.  I do not know the tallest mountain in the world.
7.  I am not sure why there are magnets.
8.  I do not know how many Disney princesses there are.

All of this is to give you an idea of my frame of mind a few weeks ago when hubby brought home this:

For some reason, Girl 1 was distrustful of the facts as they appeared on the box and felt the need to pose questions to all of us every morning.

(This was a joy to me as I have already explained to you how I excel at these things.)  And, did I mention my Keurig is broken???

Here's how pre-coffee breakfast conversations have gone:

Girl 1:  Mom, is the saguaro really the tallest cactus in America?
Me:  I don't know.  I think so.
Girl 1:  Mom, is the White Sturgeon really the largest freshwater fish?
Me:  Hmm.  I'm not sure.  Is a whale a fish?
Girl 1:  Mom, is Mount Washington really the Windiest Place?
Me:  That's a good question.  How would they even know what the windiest place was?  What do they use to measure it?  Their licked fingers???

I was a little irritated that after making such painstaking attempts to be accurate in my answers, it wasn't until a few days into this game that Girl 1 told me these "Superlatives" were limited to America.  After I found that out, I would just respond with, "Oh, I'm not sure what this is in America.  I know how it is in the whole world, but to know about just America, you'll have to Google it." 

(I am sure this made me appear much smarter to my kids.)

Finally, Girl 1 asked a question I knew a lot about.

She said, "Mom, I FOUND A MISTAKE ON THIS BOX!  I KNOW the largest rodent is NOT the American Beaver!"

I said, "You are absolutely right.  It's not."

Because, this is trivia I actually know!  I hate rodents more than I hate raccoons and so naturally I know that the capybara is the largest rodent in the world.  (Forget the fact that I knew the box would have listed the largest rodent in America.  Which probably is, in fact, the American beaver.)  There is even a capybara at our local zoo that we visit frequently, so I have seen one in person.

I waited for Girl 1 to give me the right answer and she loudly proclaimed,

"A CHUPACABRA is the largest rodent!"

Before I could laugh hysterically, or astound her with the fact that I knew the right answer she said,


I am deeply disturbed that at age nine, Girl 1 seems to be following directly in my footsteps.


Mind Margins/Run Nature said...

Your post is greatness, and your husband is my hero. I used to come up with some great answers to questions my kindergarten students would come up with. They never seemed to be happy with, "I don't know," so I tried my best. I knew they wouldn't be able to Google check me anyway because they couldn't read yet (and these were the dark ages before classroom computers). Of course I always worried about having them go home and saying, "But Ms. Mind Margins said . . ."

Monica said...

@mind margins - oh, thanks. but, i am pretty sure elevating hubby to "hero" would make my life unlivable in so many ways. ;o) and don't even get me started on the explanations i used to give my first graders. and, yes - i too was terrified of the, "well, ms. dayinthelife told me blah, blah, blah."

Gretchen said...

ha ha! Are you the smartest mom? or just the smartest mom in America? If you aren't the smartest then who IS the smartest mom in America?

Shannon said...

You know I actually know the answers to most of the things you don't know but seriously I have not known one single answer to anything the kids have asked in at least a month. I swear I say "I don't know look it up." 100 times a day, maybe more.

What kind of kid asks stupid things like which is harder alexandrite or sapphire and how much would a 5 carat piece of tanzanite cost? Uhhhhh....I dunno. What dumb-asss bought the kids a guide to gems of the world? Oh wait that was me. Damnit.

Leigh Powell Hines (Hines-Sight Blog) said...

You're over my head...I'm the dumb one. Don't know a thing about rodents.

Monica said...

@gretchen - smartest mom in the world - that's me. smartest mom in the u.s.a. - hmm. not sure. i'll have the kids google it and get back with you. @shannon - you truly ARE the smartest mom and because you moved i now have to come up with answers that i have NO IDEA about. ;o) @leigh - i need to carry around a notepad and write down all the questions i am asked. it's ridiculous. i should get paid more.

Anonymous said...

I am amazed by your grasp of all things trivial - but still stunned by the fact that Flo-Jo is dead. I had no idea. Bummer.