Underestimating Youth



“Age is foolish and forgetful when it underestimates youth.” ~J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Little K: my youngest child. He is seven and by his own admission … insane! Trust me, he yells, “I’m insane!” into my ear when I am on the phone in hopes that whoever is on the other end of the line with will hear him and likely agree. Those that converse with me on a regular basis can attest to this fact.

And yet, he has his moments of brilliance. I keep threatening to write a book of "Little K-isms" in order to record such moments, but the discipline to do so has not struck me as of yet. However, let me share two instances that took place over this past weekend.

On Friday evening I was at my computer (which is located in my bedroom due to the cramped quarters of our apartment) where I was actually paying bills (go figure) and sipping on a glass of milk. I love milk. It does a body good. The boys were coming and going with various tidbits of information they thought I needed as well as attempts to get each other in trouble like good, loving brothers when –rather suddenly – Big K, who can be rather melodramatic and speaks with his hands, sent my glass flying too redistribute its milky goodness across my keyboard, the corner of my bed and eventually the carpet. Nice! He ran off to get a towel and carpet cleaner which drew the attention of his younger brother. Soon, Little K was in the room filled with curiosity and all that was happening. I put him to work holding my keyboard upside down so the milk could drain out while I began cleaning the desk and corner of my bed (the floor would have to wait).

There we were. Three people crammed into a not so large space in the corner of my bedroom trying to clean up the mess when Little K finally speaks.

“Mom, what happened? Did you spill your milk?”

“No, Little K … your brother did.”

“Did he cry over it?”

Two points to the sassy seven-year-old. Honestly, I would like to think that I was too distracted to stop myself from waltzing right into his set up about “crying over spilt milk” but I may be giving myself too much credit. I really should have seen it coming. For that matter, Big K should have seen it coming. Little K had obviously been pondering it since walking into the room and finding milk all over the place. Still ... touché!

“One should always be ready to listen to one’s children, even if they have nothing to say.” ~Chicken Little, Film (2005)

On we move to Saturday evening and a fun-filled Scrabble game of which Big K and I are the only participants because I obviously haven’t paid enough attention to my youngest child to know that, with some help, he can probably handle it. I have always used Scrabble as a teaching tool anyway, but little K was sitting on the sidelines and obviously not content in his position. Watching would not do so he began pestering his brother.

“Big K, I see a word you can spell? Big K, why don’t you do this? Big K, why don’t you do that? Big K, why aren’t you listening to me?”

On and on he went through game one and half-way through game two. Not once did my oldest child heed the words of his younger brother. Big mistake.

Frustrated with Big K’s refusal to listen to him and in the total knowledge that he has a better word, Little K waits until Big K takes his turn and then shouts out, “but you could have spelled ______!” It has been more than 48 hours since these events took place so you will have to forgive me for not remembering the exact word(s).

Big K looks at me. I look at Big K. The word he has just played garnered him less than 10 points. I look at the letters he put on the board and Big K swivels his tiles around so I can see the remaining letters … all the while Little K is pointing at the specific spot on the Scrabble board where he is positive Big K should have played his tiles.

Know this: the little one was right! I may not remember the word, but it was rather impressive for his age: 5 or 6 letters long and on a triple word score. If Big K had listened he would have earned more than 30 points. Of course, he spent about 5 seconds pouting but, not one to be left out, he joined in the high-fives that Little K and I were giving each other as I was incredibly proud of him.

Needless to say, the next round of Scrabble had three players instead of two and for a seven-year old … that boy held his own.

Someday I will learn to never underestimate my children.

“Never try to fool children. They expect nothing and therefore see everything.” ~Fairy Tale: A True Story, Film (1997)

4 comments:

  1. I really like your blog. You're so funny. My favorite entry (difficult choice) is the one in which the boys were watching the food channel.

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  2. Lovely story.

    Isn't it the case that "insane" or "crazy" in popular usually connotes "nonconformist" rather than "mentally ill", whilst "not conforming" usually refers to the expectations of others rather than the rules of society?

    And isn't this the way that we impose on one another a sense of what's normal, whilst retaining an elastic tolerance for behaviour that doesn't fit it in, so long as it is cute and harmless enough?

    Outside of these permitted limits we find difference to be disturbing, as indeed the plotlines of Harry Potter demonstrate time and again.

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  3. Thank you for stopping by...Your boys sound perfectly charming! I love your blog!!!!!

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  4. Thank you ladies! I consider it a compliment.

    Vincent ~ I'm rather proud of the fact that both of my children tend to "go against the grain.". True, in choosing to do so they have encountered difficulties with societal expectations even among their young peers.

    Like Luna Lovegood in the HP books, I often think my youngest child is perfectly happy in his differences. He knows he is different and just doesn't seem to care!

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"Stranger, if you passing meet me and desire to speak to me, why should you not speak to me? And why should I not speak to you?" ~Walt Whitman

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