Saturday, November 19, 2011

Work it out.

Hannah: Can I watch TV
Me: No. Daddy will be home in 15 minutes and we're going out to eat.
Hannah: Can I play a computer game.
Me: No. Entertain yourself for 15 minutes.
Hannah: I have no idea what you mean.

Me: You're going to have to work it out for yourself.

This is my child, who can play by herself in her room for hours at a time.  Any abandoned shoe serves as an airplane or car for her doll house people. No small, flat object is safe from being used as a cookie for her stuffed animals' tea parties.  And any loose ribbon or sash from a bathrobe is instantly re-purposed as a lasso, leash, or long hair for whatever doll or critter she's playing with at the moment.  This kid has no trouble entertaining herself.

But her most recent social language acquisition is the ubiquitous "I don't get it."  She uses it when she just doesn't want to figure something out.  

Me (reading homework instructions): Choose the word that starts like Top, but sounds like Bent.
Hannah: I don't get it.

Me (reading again): How many more than 7 is 10?
Hannah: I don't get it.

Me (jut bossing her around about penmanship): The straight line on your "n" should be shorter than the one on your "h."
Hannah: I don't get it.

I could go on.  I've told her to stop saying that because it only makes her sound lazy and foolish.  I avoid the word "stupid," although it's what I'm thinking, because I don't want her repeating it to children at school.  For some reason, I think Foolish is less insulting than Stupid.  Don't question the logic. It will only confuse us both.

My new tack is to walk away when she says "I don't get it."  If she asks an actual question, demonstrating what part of the instruction doesn't make sense to her, I'm happy to elucidate.  But lazy people at my kitchen table just have to figure it out for themselves.  To my chagrin, smart girls find a more complicated way to say "I don't get it."  But I'm still not buying it. 

I might be a jerk.  But my kid will be able to do her own algebra homework when she's 14.  Or at least ask some sensible questions about it.

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