In Which I Am Outwitted by a Six-Year-Old

SteelyKid has developed a habit of not answering questions, whether because she's genuinely zoning out, or just not acknowledging adults, it's not clear. (She's going to be a real joy when she's a teenager, I can tell...) In retaliation, I've started giving imaginary answers for her, which generall snaps her out of it, but I've been waiting to see what the next step was.

Which was taken last night: in the car on the way to taekwondo sparring class, I asked "What are you guys doing in art class these days?" silence.

"Hey, [SteelyKid]? What are you doing in art these days?"


"Oh, rattlesnake painting? That sounds pretty cool."


"So, is that painting on rattlesnakes, or with rattlesnakes?"

"Well, it would have to be a dead rattlesnake." (Finally, a response!)

"I guess. Though I suppose if it were asleep, you could paint on it. You might not want to be around when it woke up, though."

"Hmmm... OK, here's what I would do. I would get the snake, and put it to sleep. Then I'd give it to a museum, and they'd keep it until it grew enough to shed its skin. Then they'd give me the skin, and let the snake go."


"And then I'd paint on the skin-- on one side oft he skin. Then I'd take a piece of paper, and press the skin onto the paper, and the paint would go off on the paper and look just like the snake. And then all I'd have to do is draw the head, and color it in."

"Yeah, I guess that would work. Very clever."

So, once again, I have lost a battle of wits to a first-grader. Happily, this got her out of the not-answering-questions mode, and she chattered happily about what she's really doing in art class these days (a project involving a picture of a snowman that sounds a little Calvin and Hobbes), pop music, and various other things. I'm going to have to think up some new absurd activities for future car rides, though, if she's going to go and raise the bar on me like this.

More like this

Did you mean to leave in the name?

Lara has been doing this ever since she can speak. She sometimes ignores us so completely, we seriously thought she doesn't hear properly, but she hears just fine - if you insist long enough, she will finally frown her forehead and may say "yes" or "no". Her sister on the other hand has serious babble-flashes in which all you want is for her to PLEASE stop talking (about, say, who went down the slide which way and in which order). On the average though, they're perfectly normal ;)

Sili, his daughter's name appears in the dedication in How to Teach Relativity to Your Dog (feel free to add an appropriate Amazon link, Chad), and I believe I've seen it in other photos of art projects on here.

Chad, I would say that you've in fact won the battle of wits. The question is, who will win the war? Seriously, this is a good idea, and I find myself wondering if it will work on my 2.5 year old.

Ah. I haven't read that one yet. I'm just so used to the pseudonym.