Why Having Kids Has Made Me Smarter

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Let me start by saying that during their baby and toddler years, this was definitely NOT the case.

My brain felt like mush. I spoke in short sentences, used simple words (if any words at all), and used expressive tones to get their attention, even abbreviating words in reference to other things. “Baba” was a pacifier, “blankie” was a blanket, things like that. I’m sure you had your own language too.

But now that my kids are getting older, 10 and 13, the cobwebs are slowly being cleaned out of my brain.

As I mentioned in a previous article, my son is competing in his school’s Math Olympiad, and it is way more than we bargained for. But we’re getting through it, together, and with the help of the internet. Thank God for YouTube!

My daughter is refreshing my memory about government, establishment of colonies, things like that. In helping her to study, the knowledge is slowly returning. I can’t guarantee it will stick for very long. After all, it’s competing for brain-space with who needs what for which class, soccer practice is at what time, not to mention what bill is due when, working on a new budget this year, new tires for the car…it’s no wonder I got sick this week!

As a bi-product of this knowledge-refresher, I’m also getting wiser, and not just with book smarts.

I’m learning to interpret what they “say” and what they “mean” because the two aren’t generally congruent (see that…my vocabulary is expanding – hopefully I used it correctly).

I’m learning to break THE CODE – When they “say” they don’t have any homework, what they “mean” is nothing is really due “tomorrow.” But there might be a test they need to study for, or a report they could get started on. And it’s my job to decipher their clues.

As they get older, I don’t have to move dangerous objects out of the way, but I do have to be able to stay one step ahead of them and see around corners to keep them out of danger. I still let them fall so that they can learn to get back up on their own, but I’m definitely getting smarter about assessing what will cause irreparable harm and what will only need a bandage to fix.

What part of being a parent has made you smarter?

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