Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


You know, having bright kids can be both a blessing and a curse.

Sometimes, I'm not exactly sure if it's more one or the other. But for better or worse, it keeps one on their parental toes.

Diminutive one is an inquisitive kid. He often asks a stream of questions that can leave me feeling both exhausted and distinctly inadequate in the intellectual sense.

We have family dinners as many nights as I can manage. During the winter, that's usually every night, including weekends. From March to October when they are playing baseball, it's harder, but we still eat dinner together at least 3-4 times a week.

Eating dinner together was something that my family always did growing up. I remember some of our really wonderful dinner conversations with fondess. Even still when we go to my parents house, we linger at the dinner table talking over coffee. It used to be that the kids left as soon as the meal was through, but now that they are older, they stay and listen.

We talk about everything from religion, to politics, to art, literature and history. My Dad is a WWII buff and the boys love to listen to him talk about it. He was in Vietnam, and the boys think it terribly glamorous and exciting that he was an honest to goodness soldier in an honest to goodness war.

There will come a day when he will explain to my boys that war is anything but glamorous, and why, but for now, he just answers their questions and basks in their admiration.

Sometimes the conversation at our dinner table was silly and lighthearted, sometimes it was more serious and thought provoking. But it always made us feel connected.

Quite often, Diminutive One's cavalcade of questions takes place while we are a captive audience at our own dinner table. Most of the time, I don't mind, because it has spawned some very interesting discussion.

Other times, I just want to eat, and maybe actually talk to my spouse a little.

We occasionally have to issue a "no talking" edict, because he gets so involved in his questioning that he forgets to eat.

The other place that I am often cross examined is the car. Diminutive One's therapist's office is quite a ways from our home; nearly an hour commute each way. When he was seeing her weekly, he used this time to his advantage.

It's amazingly difficult to be sufficiently erudite when one is endeavoring not to become someone else's hood ornament.

My son does not ask easy questions. He never has. I can't just rattle off some pat explanation, because he knows when I am not putting enough thought into my answers. If he is not satisfied, he will persist until I offer up something suitably academic.

Here are is a sampling of questions he has asked me just this week:

Is it a good thing to disrupt conventional thinking?

How do you disrupt conventional thinking?

(From an ADD commercial)

Have you ever considered making a newspaper?

How do you get paper big enought to print a newspaper?

(I have no idea where that came from)

What is an emissary?

(School vocabulary word)

What is diplomacy?

How do you become a diplomat?

(Prompted by my explanation of "emissary")

Was Elizabeth I alive when the 13 colonies were founded?

Why did Henry VII execute his wives? Why didn't he just get a divorce?

Why didn't Elizabeth want to get married?

Why did her sister want to kill her? Didn't they love each other?

Why did Protestants and Catholics hate each other?

Why did they call her a bastard when her Mom and Dad were married?

(We recently watched Elizabeth and Elizabeth; the Golden Age. She is one of my most admired historical figures)

Do you think George Washington Carver knew that people would love peanut butter cookies so much?

If he was such a famous inventor, how come nobody knows who he was?

(He is researching GWC for a school project and found that he discovered over 300 uses for peanuts)

What is prejudice?

Why did people think black people aren't smart?

Do they still think that?

(Again, the explanation spawns more questions than it answers)

Why was Beethoven so sad if he could write such great songs?

Why does that one song make me feel like crying when I feel happy listening to it?

Why didn't they call a doctor so he could live longer?

(We also watched Immortal Beloved recently, "that one song" is Ode to Joy.)

Don't judge me, it's been really rainy here and he's had the flu.

How come some people don't believe in evolution when we have such an extensive fossil record?

(I swear to God he said that. He loves Bill Nye.)

What happens to people who don't believe in God when they die?

Do they just disappear?

(Spirituality is an ongoing topic of discussion in our home. Go figure.)

Can you see how such relentless questioning can wear a person down?

I don't get easy stuff like Why is the sky blue? or Where do babies come from? Oh no. I get deep, abstruse, philosophical stuff that I not only have to answer, but couch in terms that a 9 year old can understand.

Last night at the table, I was trying to explain "diplomacy", but I was simply too weary. I asked husband for help. He gave me an evil grin and said. "I'm eating."

Gee, thanks for the support, hun.

Sometimes, I just have to tell Diminutive One that my mind is too tired to answer questions any more, which usually elicits an apology from him.

"I'm sorry Mom, there's just so much stuff to know. I'm afraid I'll never know all the stuff I want to know."

I know how he feels.

I wish I could just gather up all the knowledge that he craves so much and deposit it into the spongy gray runnels of his beautiful brain. But then, I think...that would deprive him of the joy of revelation; the challenge of exploration, the thrill of realization.

And that makes me think of how very, very far he has come. Once, learning was a chore. Now, it is a voyage of discovery; one that he embraces with the passion of the young who are so innocently hungy.

That makes me ridiculously happy.

Even if it is flippin exhausting.


  • At 3:28 PM, Blogger Shelley Jaffe said…

    Having raised two spirited, exhaustingly inquisitive wonderful sons (they're now 15 and 18), we had the "8:00 pm" rule - no hard questions after 8. By then, MDH and I were done like dinner. Having that rule has prompted many fascinating dinner time conversations. We actually had an exchange student from Australia stay with us overnight on the way to somewhere else, and while we were eating and gabbing, he was just mesmerized. He went on to tell us that his family had NEVER eaten dinner together at the table. Wowza. Aren't we lucky?

  • At 3:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Let's put your 4th grader and my 4th grader together and let them question each other until one wears out!

    I have been known to say, "You'll learn that in school. I don't want to ruin it for you." hahaha

    I get all those types of questions too. In fact I have a post partly written about some hard questions he asked me when he was really little. I'll post it someday.

    One of my friends says I should write a book called, "Existentialism According to HK".

    Last spring at a giant antique show/flea market we go to he found a booth with things that really interested him. He started talking to the old guy running it. I apologized for all the questions he was asking. The man said he had raised 5 boys so he was used to it. He said they had one they nicknamed "Box", which had gotten shortened to that from Question Box.

  • At 5:39 PM, Blogger Amy Y said…

    Holy crap, Mama. He is a bright one, eh? I don't even think I have pondered 1/4th of his questions as an adult, let alone when I was a child. I can see the bittersweetness that must envelope you...
    I wonder who he'll be when he grows up! :)

  • At 6:06 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    I've got a profoundly gifted kid who asked questions like that all the time. You know what I eventually did? I bought an encyclopedia. And not the world book, britannica. I got it off craigslist for a song because it was old, and then I got the updated books one by one.

    When my boy asked questions that would take too long to answer, I would tell him to "look it up".

    He read the whole frigging encyclopedia. Twice. When he was 8.

    But now the question, which still come at 15, are much more researched and come with a lot of background information.

    Encyclopedias: The best friend of the mom of gifted kids!

  • At 6:35 PM, Blogger anne said…

    Oh. Boy. Do I hear ya on this one.

    My dear babygirl was a non-stop talker. My parents were taking her on vacation once when she was about 4 years old. My dad finally asked her if she could please stop talking, just for 5 minutes. So she sang everything instead.

    My son was also relentless with the stream of questions. Also questions that were way out of my ball park because they were mainly mechanical. I remember driving somewhere with him once and we saw a train. He asked me how fast it would go if it had jet engines on it. Then how fast it would go if it had jet engines and it was pulling cars loaded with coal. And then how fast if it was pulling full tankers. And then...

    Fortunately, I could often sick him on my father-in-law since he's an engineer. In the mechanical sense, not the train sense.

  • At 8:34 PM, Blogger flutter said…

    Good god, I think I would be comatose after a day in your house.

  • At 10:00 PM, Blogger Chicky Chicky Baby said…

    That is one smart kid. I feel inadequate just reading those questions.

  • At 10:28 PM, Blogger Angela said…

    Oh my hard questions. I don't know many of the answers. I could be introuble when my son gets older. Thank goodness for the internet, in that aspect

  • At 12:58 AM, Blogger Lara said…

    i can tell that you already know this, but it is such a blessing (not meant in a religious sense, btw) that he has that desire to KNOW things. even though, yes, i'm sure it's exhausting at times. :-P

  • At 3:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Your DO would maje a great diplomat. Not only would he get to work all over the world, he gets an ultra cool red passport, and a house to live in. :) Get him interested in foreign languages ASAP.

  • At 6:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It could be worse. You could be home-schooling.

  • At 7:34 AM, Blogger Pendullum said…

    I hear ya...
    I can also see the great smile of pride along with a bit of exhaustion...
    And would love to have heard all of your answers!!!!!

  • At 9:14 AM, Blogger Ms. Skywalker said…

    You're telling me...this raising a smart kid isn't all that it's cracked up to be.

    You're doing it right.

    You really are.

  • At 10:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    My "smart kid" would like to know why we have a war when it is "clearly a horrible idea".

    He's 8.

    Lately my answers have deteriorated to "because sometimes people are stupid."

  • At 11:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You have just described my evenings with my son to a T. Although Gabe's only 4 and not exactly asking about diplomacy and fossil records just yet. But the desire to learn from things around him and that which he sees and hears is overwhelming at times. Sometimes, I just want some damn peace. But I keep reminding myself that his curiosity is an intense desire to learn and I shouldn't quash that just because I'd like a moment of quiet.

    This post made me smile.

  • At 12:10 PM, Blogger Mitzi Green said…

    here's how i deal with it:

    "you get two more questions."

    but why, mom?

    "that's one."

  • At 1:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    My son has been reading the paper since he was about 8. Boy the questions he used to come up with (and still does). Now he is far beyond his years in terms of knowledge and maturity.

    Recently he was honored for an essay he wrote on a Supreme Court case involving desegregation. You should have seen the eyes on the 3rd year law student when he began to discuss the merits of the case and the different opinions of the Supreme Court Justice's.

    Sounds like you could gather a list of topics for him to research and then give you a report so you both learn.

  • At 5:38 PM, Blogger Unknown said…

    I feel for ya. The hubby and I got into a "dam" interrogation from my 8 year old daughter a couple of weeks ago. By the end, we concluded that when they put one up to hold the water, the floods had been dammed. But, I think we confused her. She was using dam in the damn way before it was over. :)

  • At 4:22 PM, Blogger Forever In Blue Jeans said…

    Me thinks perhaps his quest for knowledge and understanding and all things wonderful may be a gift of the maternal kind...Tis not it so my dear?


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