Wednesday, May 18, 2011
"My Kid Is So SMART!!!"
So, I think it is safe to say that just about everyone's kid is a little super-genius... sometimes, and in some way. Maybe even all the time. I'm sure we all have moments when our kid says or does something outrageously precocious - and hey, feel free to share those moments in the comments.
What do you do when you have acquaintances who makes statements like: "OMG, your kid just READ that?!" "He just wrote his own name?!" "He's way more advanced than my neighbor's little boy who is a year older than him." But in your heart of hearts you think it's all just average behavior. Nothing too special. Just the types of kind of things you'd expect from a kid born to a mother who was over age 30, and living in a home with a lot of books. (Gratuitous "Freakonomics" reference.)
Is the proper response, "Thank you." ??
Or do you dare venture into Keeping It Realdom, where you completely disabuse them of their inflated notions of your child's super-extra-specialness? Sometimes I totally want to. But sometimes, just as I'm about to open my mouth, DS makes a crazy horrible impression the very next minute, and suddenly they go back to seeing him for the wonderfully average 3.5-year-old he truly is.
It cracks me up that this exact same child has on the one hand had people sincerely recommend we take him in for a developmental evaluation because he wasn't talking to them, which made them conclude he couldn't talk at all (my son told me later "she was not a nice lady," that's why he wasn't talking to her); and then on the other hand, we've had some total strangers (who don't have kids/have adult kids I might add) tell us they're just blown away by his perceived amazing intelligence.
My conclusion? Context matters.
We can't all be super-geniuses all the time. But we can have moments of brilliance. Followed by moments of crushing defeat.
SES stuff matters. (understatement of the year, that one.)
I really don't think intelligence at age 3 equals intelligence permanently for life, but it sure seems like society does.