Raising Weird Ones

Strange but true, it is possible to suffer from, or possibly to enjoy, ennui at five and a half. My daughter, with an IQ of maybe 175, said to me the other day, “Mom, sometimes when you feel a certain way, you just like to look at something like a blank book.”

She was flipping through an empty photo album, and I’ve seen her seek out this book since. I don’t know how you measure IQ in a toddler, anyway, but that’s what was reported in a day care study in which they “randomly” chose her. You think she boosted their claims of better school readiness in day care kids?

And her kindergarten teacher obviously doesn’t know it, but the plat map Katie drew to show a word that started with “P” is just what plat maps look like in Fairy Land.

She may be unusually gifted, even freakish in undiscovered ways, but we won’t put her on display (except for the family). She’s not from a family that goes on talk shows. We’re just not that kind of people. We’re the kind of people who clean up the house for kids’ play dates, but let the family see us with it all hanging out. If we don’t leave a tip in a restaurant, we omit it without comment. We try to buy our liquor when the righteous are in church and won’t see us. We would never, ever, yell at people in public who don’t have the same last name as us. We don’t sue. We can’t send Christmas cards because it’s too grueling to write all those “nice” notes to the relatives. We should be called the Middles. Middles don’t go into acting careers. (Actually I remember that I have an uncle who appeared on the $64,000 Question. He was and still is, I expect, a Bible expert, but I forget how much money he won.) My son can’t perform on cue and my daughter won’t.

My son has a thing about idiom. He can’t do it. He understands it, but it won’t come out of his mouth. He once slept like a hog, or so he reported. When he’s It in Hide and Seek, he yells, “Ready or not, here I go!” He and his sister used to have an in-joke where they said to each other, “Liar liar, purse on fire.”

But he’s a thinker, too. His teacher had them do an exercise called, “I Wonder,” after reading a story in class. They were supposed to write down something interesting about the book. Evan’s paper said, “I wonder how you build a bridge?”

He’s the boy who spent a year watching real-life emergency room programs on TLC, and now watches something called the Speed Channel–the remote control just gets stuck there. Well, it falls from his hands, unnoticed. Watching hardly describes the rapt attention he pays. He is very wise in many ways. Harley motorcycles, snakes & other surprising animals, r/c vehicles, extreme stunts–performed by others, thankfully–these are a few of his favorite things. Oh, and sentimental songs.

They are an eternal mystery, down to their very souls.