It's official: My 5-year-old knows more than I do.
She's acted like a know-it-all for the better part of a year now, but kindergarten has armed her with facts to prove that Mom, while perhaps not an outright idiot, certainly is not as smart as she is.
Think I'm kidding? You wouldn't believe the things these kids learn in class. Here's a quiz, made up of information Rosa has dazzled us with in the past few weeks.
1. A pumpkin is a:
c) something you put a candle in and light for Halloween
2. The pointy things on top of an owl's head are:
3. The black widow spider is:
a) an insect
b) an arachnid
c) a really scary thing to have in your house
a) are warm-blooded
b) nurse their babies with milk
c) can hear really well
d) all of the above
5. True or false? There is water in the air.
Dizzy yet? I could go on. Every day Rosa goes to school, she comes home and recites a new fact, following it up with, "You didn't know that, did you, Mom?"
Most of the time, I didn't. I never discussed the characteristics of pumpkins (they're a fruit -- yes, really) or the anatomy of owls (those pointy things are feathers, believe it or not) when I was in school.
And if I did somehow manage to learn about these things, I didn't do it in kindergarten. Things I gleaned from my first year of elementary school run more along the lines of how to pass the raisins at snack time and how to wait on the red step for the kid in front of me to go down the slide.
What strikes me me isn't how much kindergarten has changed, although it has. It's that I am no longer the all-knowing mommy my daughter idolized during her preschool years.
Those were the days. When she was 3, she'd ask me "Why" at least 100 times an hour. "Why is the light red, Mommy?" "Why did you turn on your headlights, Mommy?" My all-time favorite, shouted at the top of her lungs in the checkout line at the grocery store: "Why does that man have boobies, Mommy?"
I would do my best not to show my irritation. "The light is red because we need to stop." "I turned on the headlights so other cars can see us." "Shh, we'll talk about it later, honey."
Sadly, my daughter doesn't pepper me with questions anymore. Our conversations run more along the lines of, "Do you know that some animals lay eggs and that some have live babies? I do." "Do you know what evaporation is? I do." "Do you know hermit crabs outgrow their shells? I do."
I'm glad she is learning so much, but her new-found knowledge makes me a little teary. What happened to the little girl who thought her mom had the answers for everything?
She went to kindergarten and became an encyclopedia.
You can't imagine how much this bothers me. It could be because, even though I think these factoids are cool, they're not the sort of things I consider to be all-important. Unless, of course, the TV show "Jeopardy" makes a comeback.
It could be because, without meaning to, she is implying I don't know very much. How on earth do I manage to hold down a job when I don't know the difference between insects and arachnids? How have I made it this far in life without understanding the makeup of air?
Most likely, I'm troubled because she is growing up. I don't control all the information she takes in, and that's not an easy thing to come to grips with.
So, bear with me for a moment ...
Do you know the answers to the quiz? I do, I do.
1) a; 2) c; 3) b; 4) all of the above; 5) true.
Bee staff writer Kerry McCray can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 578-2358.