Personal Statement

Personal Statement

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Kid Stuff: World History As Explained By My Seven Year-Old

The first week of second grade, the Little Kid had to fill out a questionnaire.  One of the questions:  in what subject do you need help this year? 

Little Kid responded, "Backstroke." 

He's not wrong.  Backstroke is his weakest event.  But it's become apparent that a good alternate answer would have been world history.

First, he told his friend E's mom that his grandfather "was there when the Germans bombed Hurricane Harbor."  We managed to keep a straight face while explaining to him that:
  • Hurricane Harbor is a local water park.  The word you're searching for is "Pearl."
  • The Germans didn't bomb Pearl Harbor.  And you're a little too young to be watching "Animal House."  And, if you do watch "Animal House," you need to know that John Blutarsky is not a role model - he's more of a horrible warning.
  • Neither grandfather was at either harbor on December 7, 1941.  Your maternal grandfather celebrated his third birthday two days prior, and your paternal grandfather was roughly your brother's age.
  • If we catch you doing the "I'm a zit" thing from "Animal House," you're cleaning up whatever you splatter, and losing computer privileges for a week. 
After he had left the room, the parental riffing started:

"The bombing of Hurricane Harbor - they took out the Bonzai Boggins, first, right?  Or was the first attack on Oasis Island?  I can't remember:  which came first, the storming of Boogie Beach or the Battle of Six Flags?  You remember the Battle of Six Flags:  those three soldiers planted a flag on top of the Mr. Freeze ride?  And then repeated the process with five more flags?"

Then Spouse informs me that the Little Kid was overheard to describe the Vietnam War as "a bunch of people from Mexico running around in black pajamas and shooting people in the jungle."  Um - wow.  I don't even know how to begin to address that one.   For starters, he didn't actually say "people from Mexico."  He said, "Mexicans."  In his defense, the subject of when it's appropriate to use that term came up during the Olympics:  the Big Kid asked me which divers were in medal positions going into one of diving finals, and I responded, "an American, a German and a . . . um . . . Hispanic diver from Mexico."  Because I am so used to avoiding the word "Mexican" that I could not bring myself to use it - even when it was totally appropriate.  The competitor from America is an American, the competitor from Germany is a German, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with saying that the dude competing for Mexico is a Mexican - but politically correct me could not get the word to come out. 

Little Kid, apparently, carries no such PC baggage.   In his mind, those snipers with the tanned skin and black hair were from Mexico, and, therefore, Mexicans.  Notwithstanding that Mexico is over HERE, and Vietnam is over THERE.

Adding "atlas" to list of "birthday gift ideas for the Little Kid."  Along with "second grade-appropriate book of world history."

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