I I I I I I I  

Until I had an almost-five year old, I did not realize that I am the stupidest person in the universe.

Before you get your pen out to write a letter about the word “stupid” and how small children shouldn’t say it, etc., rest assured that we have made it clear that this particular s-word is not permitted in the house when said as an insult. We do have some standards.

Still, it is abundantly clear that even though the Diva refrains from saying “stupid,” that she is thinking it. Somewhere during the last six months, she became an expert on more or less everything. I’m treating this as a warm up for those dreaded teen years, but without all of the eye rolling.

The hints about her feelings vis a vis my stupidity started during an episode of Dora. It could also have been Go, Diego, Go or Blue’s Clues, since most of these shows have melted into one giant kid-friendly blob full of maps and puppies and rescue packs and flying monkeys and tie-dye. Which is, incidentally, the way I also envision the ‘60s.

Regardless, it was during an episode of one of those shows that stops periodically to direct a question to the camera, like “Where do we go next?” or “does that sound like a baby llama?” or “why is there peanut butter on the cat?” Given that I have seen every blessed episode of each of these shows more times than is allowed under the Geneva Convention, I helpfully shouted out the answer from the kitchen, where I was while trying to get peanut butter off of the cat.

“Mo-ther,” came the voice from the living room, “ I already know that.” It was uttered with such patent disdain that I briefly wondered if we had had some major rip in the space-time continuum and moved forward ten years. Based on the tone, I could just see the teen she will become, pink-haired and lounging on the couch with a phone in her hand, which she has pressed against her chest so that her friend doesn’t hear how foolish I am. And, yes, in this vision of the future, the Diva looks like Avril Lavigne. No, I don’t know why.

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I had to stick my head out to check that time hadn’t done something strange. It hasn’t, for what it’s worth. But it does seem to be speeding up.

Even when more experienced parents would assure my husband and I that the first few months with a new baby do seem endless but that time “just flies by” later, I thought they were full of stupid. Now, I find myself telling new parents the exact same thing. Time, as they say, flies more and more each day. It’s one of those things that you only notice in hindsight or near a milestone, like “first solo playdate” or “first time writing your name.”

Or like starting kindergarten, which the Diva will do in this fall. Until we went to the official kindergarten registration a few weeks ago, she was firmly against this whole turn of events, despite our reassurances that her days would be about the same as they are now because she goes to preschool anyway. Come fall, she’ll just be in a different building.

But kindergarten, in her mind, simply became a change and change is bad in Divaland. She had reached a point where she was telling everyone who asked that yes, she was going to be five soon and yes, she didn’t want to be five because she’d have to start school but no, there wasn’t much she could do about it. Then she’d sigh, like the weight of every last Wiggle was pushing on her shoulders.

Admittedly, she was excited on K-garten registration day, which is where she’d get to see her school, meet some of her teachers and run around on the playground. We figured the hardest part would be the small batch of tests that the rising kindergarteners do, which they have to do by themselves. Both my husband and I had visions of prying her fingers off of our calves while she shrieked. Which would, of course, put her in some weird remedial program for weird kids who shriek.

That worry was for nothing, as most of our worries turn out to be. She skipped off when her name was called. Skipped, I tell you.

Mostly, the Diva’s newfound joy for this change is because her best friend O. is going to the same school and will most likely be in the same class. This wasn’t a new bit of information. I’ve been telling the Diva this for months. Still, when O. walked in for her appointment, the Diva said, “O. is going here, too!” as if the idea had never even occurred to her and that I was the stupidest mom ever for not having figured this out already.

Now that she’s been there, kindergarten can’t come fast enough. Some mornings, she wakes up and asks if today’s the day. It will be soon, especially since she looks just a little bit older with each sunrise.

When she lets me put some barrettes in her hair, I swear that I can see the woman that she’ll be in her face. She looks a lot like my mother, and, I suppose, me. And one day, if she is very lucky, she’ll have a daughter who thinks she’s stupid, too.
About the Author:

Adrienne Martini  has been a theatre technician, apprentice massage therapist, bookstore bookkeeper and pizza joint waitress. Eventually, someone started paying her for her words and an editorial mercenary was  born. She has written theatre reviews and features for the Austin Chronicle, blurbs about tofurkey and bottled water for Cooking Light and a piece about  knitting summer camp for Interweave Knits. She is a former editor for Knoxville, Tennessee's Metro Pulse and recently picked up an AAN award for feature writing. In July 2006, her first book Hillbilly Gothic: A Memoir of Madness and Motherhood will be published.  During the day, she fields freelance gigs and crams knowledge into the heads of college students in Upstate New York. At all hours, she is mom to Maddy and Cory, and wife to Scott. 


I I I I I I I  

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