Thursday, September 8, 2016

Stupid is as stupid does


I had every intention of writing a post about Grammar Nazis today, but that got sidetracked after a little conversation with my eldest daughter this evening. It's a shame because I was really looking forward to analyzing what the grammatically elite must think about the comment feeds on social media. I swear some people must make an intentional effort to butcher their grammar....even worse than some of what I do on my blog.

My second grade daughter was in an "extremely over-tired" mood this evening and started having a bit of a tantrum. Being tired and cranky is one thing, but when she really starts taking it to the extreme I know something else is bothering her as well.

So, in amazing fatherly fashion, I patted her on the back and said, "There, their, there honey. It will be ok." (Sorry. I wanted to use that in my Grammar Nazi post.)

What I actually did was try to ignore her comments and actions because (at first) it appeared she was just looking for attention. Her mood then shifted a little bit and she started going on and on about how I should call her "Stupid" from now on. She went on to explain that she didn't deserve to be called by her real name, Ziva, because it means brilliant - and she doesn't deserve that because she's stupid.

First of all, her name means brilliant, radiant, light of God. I didn't have the heart to tell her it was a different use of the word brilliant. The fact that she understood brilliant to mean really smart was...well....smart of her. Telling her she was misinterpreting the real meaning of her name would just add fuel to her "I'm stupid" rant.

Secondly, and probably more important to point out, she's actually very bright. I am more than willing to be the braggart dad and say I'm extremely proud of how smart she is. She's been reading chapter books since shortly after kindergarten and doing math problems that could have her balancing my checkbook. (The numbers always stay small there anyway.) Basically, she's not stupid.

I know she was just saying this to get my attention and because stupid is a "bad" word in our house. I'm guilty of saying it from time to time and I'm always met with a chorus of "Mommy! Daddy said stupid." She's also just "smart" enough to push the limits while she's already doing something that's going to probably end up with a consequence anyway.

As it turns out, she was upset about her name itself. Apparently there are a number of times throughout the day at school where they line up in alphabetical order. As you can see by my profile, my last name is Zahrt. That means that my daughter gets the end of the line regardless of whether they line up based on first or last name.

She was to upset to entertain the idea that the teacher might choose reverse alphabetical order sometimes. Or, how the kids with the "m" or "n" names feel since they are always in the middle and never get to be first. I am fairly certain teachers have learned how to accommodate for this over the years so I'm not worried, but getting her to understand that though is a little different story.

I then learned she has some classmates that are making fun of her for the "double Z" name as well. Whether or not this is really happening or she's just spinning a yarn like her old man, it's something she needs to learn how to deal with. If it's not this, it will be "four eyes" because of her glasses, "klutz" because she is growing faster than her motor skills can keep up or some other kid-created taunt. It's unfortunate, but that's life.

I have a little sign hanging by my desk at work that says, "Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it." I'm going to work on teaching that to her tomorrow. It would be a lost cause to try tonight in her tired state. Knowing her, she will do a pretty good job of understanding the concept and that letting it get her all worked up is just...well...stupid. Until next time....