Turns Out I Am Still Not Smarter Than A 5th Grader

So, this summer’s song of choice is actually “Just Give Me A Reason” by Pink, but other than that every word of this post remains true. In fact, I am pretty sure when I give you the latest example of my lack of book smarts you will definitely might conclude I have gotten dumber. And am not only not smarter than a 5th grader, but not actually smarter than my 3rd grader.

Sitting at the table the other day, Abby asked a question about geography. In attempting to answer I might have suggested that Europe is a country. Or something like that.

Emma, thankfully, was there to save the day…again.

“Um, mom, Europe is a continent.”

Seriously, is it too late to sign up for summer school? For myself?

Tell me I am not alone. Do you feel like your brain cells for actual knowledge are slowing being replaced with the ability to name all the members of One Direction?


I am not saying that pre-children I was a rocket scientist or anything.

But I could certainly rattle off more than just the names of Santa’s reindeer and all the characters in The Little Mermaid from memory.

There were years when I could not only tell you every nominated Academy Award Best Picture, but I would have actually seen them, too. Granted that was before The Academy went and made it available to ten movies, so I guess I had a bit of advantage over today’s moviegoers.

I am still a reader, and I follow the news (not even just the news on Facebook, thank you very much), so I don’t feel like my entire brain got delivered with the last child, but I am quickly coming to the realization that I am certainly dumber than I once was.

Case in point came today in the car with the children.

We were driving along listening to Lady Gaga sing “Edge of Glory”, which could be questionable I realize, but the fact that I am no longer burdened in the car by “The Ants Go Marching” or the “Go Diego Go” theme song is a win in my book. I have plenty of years left to teach morality lessons. Not so many though to keep from driving off the road if the damn ants don’t pick up the pace with the marching one by one.

So, Abby, in her quest to drown out my enjoyment of the music gain as much knowledge as possible pipes up from the backseat with this question, “What does edge mean?”

A total softball, right?

Not for me. I sputtered for a second before replying with the brilliant, “Edge? What does the word edge mean? It means like the edge of something.”

Wow, someone call Webster’s because there is a cubicle with name on it just waiting for my genius in their definition department.

Thankfully, Emma came to the rescue with an answer that seemed to satisfy her. Honestly, I don’t remember what it was as I was too busy at that point mentally composing this blog post in my head.

This happens ALL.THE.TIME. y’all. With words, with basic questions, don’t even get me started on geography, I swear I don’t even have to download the app to know that in fact I am NOT smarter than a 5th grader, because quite frankly on any given day I don’t even think I am smarter than my four year-old.

It is even worse when it happens in front of Robert, because I think part of his attraction to me might have been my intelligence or seeming capability at thinking and knowing things. So, when we are all together as a family and Emma asks a seemingly innocent question about what exactly causes thunder to make its sound, I totally find myself hoping he will chime in first. Which, of course, he totally doesn’t, because he wants to see me take a crack at it first.

Needless to say, I dig deep into the recesses of my brain and think about the fact that I wish I had paid better attention in Mr. Grubb’s science class and then come up with the only acceptable answer I can.

“The thunder sound is made when God bowls a strike.”


Turns Out I Am Still Not Smarter Than A 5th Grader — 64 Comments

  1. Lol this is so funny!! I am sitting here trying to think of a decent definition of edge — not happening!! I think we lose cells as we get older but I think social media and certain candy related games contribute to it as well 🙂

  2. Okay, so with each kid, more of my brain cells were squashed and killed and I have 4! I am pretty sure it has something to do with sleep deprivation (and Gia is still a terrible sleeper). Anyway, I have been asked so many questions that I have no idea what the answer is that my answer is always, “Hmm..let me think about it and get back to you,” and then I Google the question. My kids still think I am a genius. And I’m laughing so hard at the definition of edge and the Webster comment. For the record, that is the same answer that I give for thunder. 🙂

  3. This is so funny and you are not alone. I find myself trying to think of how to describe a definition of something all the time and coming up with nothing better than “look it up in the dictionary.” And often times when someone asks me something and I can’t come up with the name, or answer right then and there, it will come to me 15 minutes, 2 hours, a day later…. I think at this point I have decided there is too much stored in my brain.

  4. I totally feel you on this one. Like how close Africa is to Europe completely blew my mind one day a couple years ago. I am not kidding, I looked at the map and was like, WHAT? and got out another map because surely this one was wrong and of course it was close on that one, too. Spain is like 5 miles from Morocco or something totally crazy close like that.

    ALso when it comes to continents, Russia is my biggest confuser. What is it? Asia or Europe??

  5. Totally use that one about thunder all the time and I taught 8th grade science on year. So what does that say about me, lol!! But seriously, don’t be too hard on yourself, because I find this happening to me, too as I am getting older and “Give Me One Good Reason” is a great song, lol!! 🙂 🙂

  6. I think that the more we assimilate the knowledge about various children’s programs and interests, the more our former knowledge is covered up. I like to think it is still there, somewhere, though. I just can’t retrieve it all that easily sometimes. 🙂

  7. I’m so with you. My mind turned to mush a long time ago. I’m on lumosity.com now playing memory games and hoping to get a higher score so I can prove that I’m “improving” my brain muscles. Followed you from SITS. Have a blessed day!

  8. I am constantly stumped by questions my children ask. I tell them we’ll have to look the answer up (figuring it will be a nice learning moment for us both) and then I never remember to actually go and do it. Four kids. Oldest is 17 and youngest is 5. I’ve been wowing them with my lack of knowledge for years now. 😉

  9. Do that myself! The reason why we do things like this? Because it has been a long time since we’ve had to think about what things mean or where things are on a map or when things in history happen…We just know or are satisfied that they happened or were so traumatized by the learning of such things that we have blocked them out of our minds for the duration. We haven’t had to reason it out and explain things in forever, so we stop thinking in terms of “Oh! ___ means to ____ ” or “Oh! ___ is another word for ___” or “Oh! ___ is near ___ on the map” or “Oh! ___ happened ___ years before ___.” Your kids will be there one day, too. They will arrive at the day when they no longer have to think about the meaning or location or “why” of things because the word/event/place is synonymous with its meaning/importance. I don’t think that makes us dumber…Just wise beyond {the ability to} reason. 😉

  10. I definitely suffer from a severe case of mommy brain and rely heavily on my super smart hubby to answer any tough science or math questions not-even-4-y/o conjurs up. Seriously, the kid shouldn’t be able to stump me yet, should she?! I do feel that writing for my blog provides some mental exercise, although I couldn’t get through a single post without my trusty friend, M-W.com!

  11. See.. your problem is that they’re catching you in the field. What needs to happen is they walk into your “office” when you’re behind the computer “working” and as they ask these questions, you’re quickly googling the question. By the time you say “Honey, give Mommy one second to finish this and she’ll be HAPPY to answer your question” you will have WikiAnswers right in front of you and able to rattle off the most intelligent sentence of your day! The kids will walk away on a cloud of euphoria and how wicked-smart their mom is. Been there. Done that. Works like a charm.

  12. I think in our defense, I think we over think the answer. I don’t think it’s that we don’t know what the answer is, I think its the fact of how to explain it simply to a child without sounding like this:

    The outside limit of an object, area, or surface; a place or part farthest away from the center of something: “a tree at the water’s edge”.
    Provide with a border or edge: “the pool is edged with paving”.

  13. It’s really the worst when you have 23 students looking at you and you can’t come up with an answer. Teacher trick… Turn it into a teachable moment. I have said numerous times: “Let’s look that up…” Or “Does anyone else have an answer to share…” They usually have caught on that this is a ploy, but they can’t prove it 😉

  14. I need to start doing what Kristen does, because I NEVER have an answer for my daughter’s questions. “Why isn’t Pluto considered a planet anymore?” That was the last one she threw at me. I just shrugged my shoulders and told her I’d have to Google it later. She’s in third grade, which makes me not as smart as that, for sure!

  15. {Melinda} I don’ t have two brain cells to rub together on most days … I think it’s the fact that I have to keep all the information in my head for myself and four other people. A lot of data just spills out my ears.

  16. Ok, that puppy is completely cute. I think I lost half of my brain cells after the first child, and the rest after the second…and I agree God bowled a STRIKE everytime it thunders.. 🙂 Missed your posts while I was out of town, can’t wait to catch up! 🙂

  17. My baby is not even a month old yet, and I feel like I can barely communicate with other people. Someone asked me about my freelance writing work the other day, and I went off on a long tangent about how the company I am working for has subcontracted to a second company. It was completely irrelevant and the other person was totally confused. Good to know that it doesn’t get any better. Maybe I should start making some vocabulary flash cards now.

  18. At least she didn’t ask why the wind blows.
    Think there is any correlation between this problem and the bachelorette, the voice, etc.?
    p.s. correlation means connected or related

  19. Europe is only part of a continent so maybe you can give yourself partial credit for that one. You are very smart, but I guess the brain can only hold so much. And mine has gotten cluttered with things like the lyrics to the Gilligan’s Island theme song.

  20. Edge my definition when you are at the end of something and you are about to fall off I have no idea what edge means without looking it up lol

  21. It’s so hard trying to help the youngsters with school work. Sometimes I wonder was I paying attention in class in elementary school too.

    SN: Facebook and twitter don’t count for following the news??? 🙂

  22. You are definitely not alone. My mind has been a complete blank many times since my second kid. Even before him, however, I was never very good at explaining things to kids so that they’ll understand. Obviously I intellectually know what “edge” means, as you do, but often that can’t translate into kid-appropriate speak. I’d be a terrible teacher. My daughter is only three and already knows my phone knows everything I don’t. She’ll ask me a question and if I hesitate for too long to answer, she’ll say, “Better Google it on your phone.” She’s three! Smartphone. Not always Smartmama.

  23. I used to be a lot more articulate before having a kid. I could actually answer questions cohesively. Now when I’m asked something I stumble around like a lost hiker in the woods. The worst part about it is that I can see myself doing it and I have no control over it. The words come out and I guess I just rely on others to assemble them in the correct order.

    Does it really get worse after the second kid?

  24. When my daughter reaches the age where she not only learns I’m not as smart as she thought I was, but that she, in fact, is a whole lot smarter than me I’ll be calling Emma asking her to save my day. I just know that spell check has made me dumber. This from the former spelling bee champ. Well, champ no longer my mind is going, going, almost gone. So sad.

  25. Agreed! I fear that by the time my boys actually get to a grade where they have homework I won’t be able to help them AT ALL!! And listening to Lady Gaga is perfectly ok. I feel we deserve it after years spent listening to all of “their” music!! Ha ha!!!

  26. When I can’t think of an answer quickly, I typically retort, “Well honey, what/why/how do you think?” I really LOVE the answers I get and it usually buys me some time to come up with something. Try it!

  27. Haha! This is so funny! And so true as well. Google has become my best friend lately. Every time someone asks me a question that I can’t answer (which seems to be happening more and more) I say, “I don’t know. Let’s Goggle it!” I bet if the Google people were tracking my searches they’d really start to wonder about me.

  28. You nailed it. See! You are smart! You know your not as smart as you used to be, so there…you know stuff. I think listening to whining and arguing children burns brain cells. It’s not our fault.

  29. Oh yes my friend!!! I am soooooo DUMB now…. but hey- aren’t we all more wiser as moms? I can’t tell you where Nigeria is… but -BUT I can tell you when my kid is on overdrive and needs to go HOME. I can’t tell you what the dividend of 547 is… (Is that even an equation?) But -BUT I can tell you how my daughter’s asthmatic flare is viral induced, or reflux induced.

    Oh yes sister mama!!! We are much MUCH wiser… just really stupid. 😉

    God is not bowling… He is moving furniture around. lol

  30. Your cop out answers:
    Where did you hear that word?
    What do *you* think it means?
    Can you use it in a sentence?

    These will give you time to formulate an answer yourself or look it up on your phone. Plus, you kid might come up with his/her own answer and you will be off the hook.

  31. Oh shit. I’m going to have to answer questions like this when I have kids? I thought I was done having to explain shit like this to myself, let alone to a person who looks up to me-but won’t after they realize how dumb I am. I know all the 50 states and capitals. That’s IT. No, seriously. That’s it.

    I’m not having kids anymore. I changed my mind.

  32. I seriously think I must have missed some MAJOR classes at school…. My kids will ask me a question and I will have no clue. One of my kids in grade 6 asked me not so long ago “Mom, did you actually go to grade 6? You never seem to know the answers”. That’s what google is for, right? I felt like such a loser. Glad to know I’m not alone!

  33. I think that is a completely reasonable answer! And once upon a time I had a book that explained it, so I’m sure 8-year-old Bev could explain the cause of thunder, but 30-year-old Bev surely cannot.

  34. I can totally relate to this! Sometimes my 5-year old makes me feel silly by asking me the simplest questions I can’t answer. Leave it to the kids to make us feel silly!

  35. For the edge I would have said the line where one thing stops and another begins…I’m not sure if that’s *technically right, but it is does make sense in my head. Now when I had to help my 5th grade nephew do homework? THAT is when I felt dumb as a stump. How am I supposed to convince this kid that knowing the difference between the comparative and superlative is vital, when I can’t even remember what that means without google?!

  36. Isn’t that something?!
    I am just a tiny bit scared about what kinds of questions my boy will ask once he start first grade. Hard enough as it is on some days to remember what day or dates I’m on let alone explaining a word asked in two languages (my son is bilingual) hahaha joy of parenting 😀

  37. I have to tell you that most of us aren’t smarter than a 5th grader. Or a 4 year old. I think they teach this stuff at school so that they can secretly laugh about us at night when they are at home. Only one in 100 students are going to use knowledge such as what makes thunder. Or where is Europe (and until I started working in an international company I didn’t know where squat was on a map). I feel ya!

  38. I’ve recently come to the conclusion that my oldest (who’s not quite 8 yet) is better at math than me. I was really hoping to make it past the 2nd grade for this one. He can figure out stuff in his head that I need a calculator for. Awesome.

  39. This is absolutely hilarious and I can soooooooo relate. I am dumber by the day. My kids are starting to ask a lot of the “what does such and such mean?” and I am really struggling to define the simplest of terms. Of course I know what they mean, but I can’t define anything for my life! Forgetting so much… it’s tough. Lack of sleep, juggling too many schedules, etc.
    But thankfully, the toughest questions I have had to field in the past couple of days were “Does God sleep at night?” and “Do frogs fart?”
    So, I’ve been ok on those!!!!
    Oh this post had me rolling!

  40. Yep. For sure. My mind is mush. I feel you. 100%. Exhaustion is likely what does it. But delivering our brain in childbirth, yeah, that could be what happened, too.

  41. Honestly, I can’t think of a good way to define edge without the word edge in it.
    Yesterday I heard a lecturer, also my friend, complaining to a colleague that her students could not define substance. Having heard that I tried to come up with a definition for it…and failed.
    It’s not only you, and it’s probably not age. It’s because we stopped using our brains the moment Google came into being. We don’t have to think anymore. It’s only an option. So the ability is sort of wearing off because our brain cells are probably hibernating.

  42. It happens to me a lot. When I need a definition or the correct spelling, it totally eludes me. I talk gibberish until I get the answer I’m satisfied with. Sometimes that never happens. I LOL at you mentally composing your post.

  43. Haha…I give that sort of answer a lot – giving a definition that includes the word because I’m incapable of thinking of something better. And then I let my husband answer for real.

  44. I can SOOOO relate to this!!! I just spent a week with the kids visiting my parents and as it turns out – sounding like an idiot in front of them was far more humiliating than when my husband hears me literally just make stuff up. I often resort to asking my kids what THEY think the answer is just to cover my bluff and idiotic banter. For more information on that strategy feel free to Google “Asking a question with a question …”

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