Many of you were "there for me" as I mournfully watched my two oldest children (pictured at left when they were still cute) flap their little scrawny fledgling wings, fly out of our home nest and alight in the tree of knowledge nest, aka "college."
Guess what. Sometimes the baby birds return to the home nest, just long enough to do some laundry and inform their parent birds how smart they have become while away at college.
Two cases in point:
1st Case: College Daughter, pictured here in her dorm room (who says, "Why do you keep using that deer in the headlights picture of me on your blog?") a junior, has picked up a habit of saying, "I know," to anything you say to her. This is her pat response to ANY assertion you make, big or small, opinion or fact. Typical conversation, "I was thinking about eating at Panera, but I decided to go to Qdoba...[interruption:] "I know." "What? How could you know I changed my mind before I told you?" OR "You might want to check the sticker on your car to see if it's time to get the oil ch ... [interruption:] "I know." "OK, I just wanted to make sure you ...[interruption:] "Oh, I know." OR "Wow. Merv Griffin died. He's the one who created 'Wheel of Fortune' and the 'Jeopardy' song...[Interruption:] "I know." "HOW CAN YOU LITERALLY KNOW EVERY THING THERE IS TO KNOW ABOUT EVERYTHING? It's impossible! Stop saying 'I know.' Stop saying it!"
To be fair, she really is smart and does know a lot, but she can't know everything. And just because you know a lot doesn't mean you have to tell everyone how much you already know. When I sensitively, compassionately pointed out this habit, she responded, "I know. I'm working on that."
2nd Case: College Son, freshman (pictured in his dorm room at left and hereafter known as "Joe College.") He's home on the weekend, washing his clothes, and his little sister and I are in the family room with him. He is standing in the middle of the room, and we are on the sofa. The reason I tell you that he was standing and we were sitting is because I want you to visualize that he is "above" us as he imparts this nugget of wisdom to us.
Joe says, "Studying is a little rough. Now, this is just my opinion, but, in my opinion, the kids who had good study habits in high school do better than the kids who never studied that much because stuff came easily to them. That's what I've observed, anyway."
Me: "Kids who never studied ... like ... you?"
Joe: "Yes. I am having to change my study habits now and really work at it. K (little sister) is going to be fine because she already has good study habits."
I look at little sister. She is looking at him as if the sky has just burst open and a booming voice has said, "This is my beloved sister, who studies very well. "
I am inwardly rolling my eyes. When he was in middle and high school, how many times did I say to him, "Joe College, you're very fortunate that good grades come without much effort. But let me tell you, someday it won't be that way. You'll wake up and realize the subject matter is not quite as clear and you'll need to bear down and learn to work at it. You should start now. Why wait until then?" HOW MANY TIMES? HOW MANY TIMES???? And yet, this is just his opinion, his observation, now that he has gone to college.
Later that afternoon, I notice little sister. She has her books out and is studying away without any prompting from her parents. Do you know why? Because Big Brother Who Can Do No Wrong Joe College affirmed her. Sheesh.