Saturday, June 28, 2008

No, I am not stupid, I am just YOUNG.

This was a really busy week during which we encountered more people who don't know Pablo than usual. We had meetings with both the social worker and our lawyer concerning Beebz' second parent adoption (Oh the fun (and expense) of discrimination... married people don't have to prove that they are good parents to the children they planned for, conceived, and have cherished since egghood... but that's another post.). Both of these women are kind, intelligent people who deal with children on a pretty regular basis. And both treated Pablo like a moron.

First was the sing-song voice that some people adopt due to the fact that they can't distinguish between apes and children. That one alone gets on my nerves. Then came the "Oh, no, you couldn't mean THAT" kinds of statements. At the lawyer's office, Pablo said he was 34 because that day he was PRETENDING to be 34. The lawyer replied, "Oh no, you must mean three OR four. You will get better at knowing your age when you are older." To which we all jumped to explain and she was shocked that he knew numbers as high as 34. No kidding. He is FOUR years old and freakishly bright, but I have yet to meet ANY 4 year old who can't say two digit numbers. She was also shocked he knew his colors and could read the word RED.

This is when I am sorely tempted to trot out his tricks and make him perform like a trained seal by showing off his math, reading, geography etc skills. But I restrained myself. I don't like bending to their level to make him prove his intelligence. Still, it is so hard to watch that look he gets on his face where he is clearly thinking either a) this adult is a moron or b) he is doing something wrong by knowing the things he knows. He has learned to dumb down to the level of the adults he plays with, and it breaks my heart. On the other hand, it shows a considerable amount of empathy and consideration for one so young. He doesn't want others to feel bad that they don't know the capital of Zambia. Isn't that nice?

The social worker did more damage, in my opinion, because not only did she treat him like he was dumb, she CHEATED when they played a game together. It was almost comical because she was clearly cheating, and Pablo clearly knew she was cheating, but she thought she was getting away with it. Since we play all games in a cooperative, non competitive way in our home, he thought she was off her rocker. Why cheat when everyone wins? And, oh by the way, what is cheating and why do people do it, and why did she cheat, and why did she want the game to go faster and and and and....

I feel so sad that people ever treat children in a condescending way. Even when kids don't know things, they should still be spoken to as if they were HUMAN. After all, we are teaching them how to treat those with less power. And life lesson, talking to those with less power (ie ability, strength, position, etc) as if they were stupid just pisses them off. Badly.


  1. What game did they play, and, I am with Pablo on this one, why did she cheat (and how)? I understand people not being prepared for how amazingly smart Pablo is, especially if they are used to 'typical' 4 year olds, but, it seems like you should deal with whatever the person (child or otherwise) hands to you in a caring and respectful way, even if what they hand you is the capitol of Zambia. I understand from experience that the capitol of Zambia is not what you expect from a 4 year old, but what the heck, get over, you might learn something. i know that I do whenever I play with Pablo.

  2. I agree with Lisa Diane. Just like adults, all children are different, and you can't assume what level of education or intelligence that they have (maybe they assume he's talking nonsense because you're bad parents...I mean, why else would you need a lawyer and a social worker? Ugh.) And we can never assume that just because people are educated that they have any common sense. There are plenty of idiotic phds, dos, mds, mfas, jds you name it....
    I disagree that everyone wins. I won't go on about that.