My daughter, F, is in first grade. She gets tested weekly on “Dolch Words.” (I don’t know why they’re called “Dolch Words,” they seem like “Spelling Words” to me.) We are supposed to work on these words every day. We do not. But when we do…I have noticed that she does this when I give her a word to spell:
Like I’m going to COPY her. Like I don’t already know how to spell “paper.”
It’s weird that she‘s doing that though, right? Or is it? I mean 1st grade seems a little young to be covering your work, but in a way, she’s also setting the stage for later. It’s like she’s taking a preemptive strike against cheaters. She’s ready for them, whether she needs to be or not.
And who can blame her? She’s right. Screw that kid who stayed up all night slamming juice boxes. He should have been doing his Dolch Words! That kid doesn’t get to come in and copy off my kid. That kid is a slacker—a slacker AND a cheater.
I was a slacker and a cheater.
It was in college: Sophmore year. I don’t think I would have made it through my Anthropology class without cheating. And the ironic part—guess who I cheated off of? Yep! The Asian kid. Not only am I a cheater, but I’m also a racial profiler, who now has a daughter from China.
I would say that on most every aspect of her life, F is in better shape than she would have been if she stayed in China. The area where she is from, it was not good. It was real rural China. All I remember is mud. And huts. And more mud. The part of Fengdu, China that we saw was not, by any means, a tourist destination. It seems like one of those areas where the children grow up working in sweat shops. But I don’t know for sure. Either way, it made me sad.
We weren’t there for long though. We drove 3 hours from the hotel to the orphanage and then we drove 3 hours back. I only know what I saw on the bus ride, and it was rough. Other than that, I don’t know a lot. I just know that I’m glad she is here and not there.
F has a good life. She may not have everything she wants, but she has everything she needs. I do believe she would have had all of the necessities if she were still in China, but the extras—the opportunities and non-essentials, I can’t see that those things would have been accessible or plentiful there.
That’s not to say F’s biological parents weren’t probably very lovely people. I have never met them, but I like to believe they were hard-working, good people. Sadly, they were faced with a horribly difficult and painful decision and they did what they thought would best serve their daughter—because they were good parents.
And so are we. We are providing for our daughter, the daughter they gave us, as best we can— and sure enough, she is a happy, well adjusted, self-confident, beautiful child.
There is only one thing we might be coming up short on though.
F might not end up being as smart as she could be. She’ll be normal smart, I mean Cody (my husband) and I aren’t idiots and we’re not standing next to her with a vacuum on her brain—but being placed with us, chances are good that she might not live up to her full intellectual potential.
I think we jinxed ourselves. When we used to tell people we were adopting from China, ninety percent of them would respond with some variation of “She’s going to be so smart!” Seriously, almost everyone said it. I don’t even know if we should have been offended or not. We were just like: “Smart? Great! Less work for us!”
But, still—raising smart children is work and my huz and I probably (definitely) don’t do as much as we should. Like right now, I should probably be doing something productive with my kids because my 4 year old is running around, pulling down her pajamas and showing me her gynie, yelling that her gynie is a “GUITAR!!!” and do I want to watch her strum it? (No, I don’t) …and F is yelling that she wants to play “Restaurant,” and if her sister doesn’t play with her, she won’t be her sister anymore.
When we first got F, she was 11 months old. She was in China for almost the whole first year of her life. Still, she caught up to other kids her age very quickly. She had never heard the English language before meeting us, but by the age of 18 months, not only did she catch up, but she was blowing kids away right and left. There wasn’t a mom anywhere who wanted to play “Guess what my daughter is doing?” because my kid would have smoked her.
Somewhere, somehow though, something went awry.
We didn’t get the sweet, shy Asian kid we kept hearing about. We got the kid who, during a nice, family dinner last night, flat-out leaned over, looked me square in the face, lifted her leg and RIPPED one, a LOUD ONE, at the table.
And we were told she was going to be SO smart, but, thanks to our slacker ways, I don’t know how smart she’s going to be. In other words, if someone decides to cheat off her one day, HAHA! Joke’s on them! You thought because she was Asian that she’d be SO smart, but little did you know, she was adopted by two dummies, so she‘s not super smart, she’s only regular smart. Sorry, pal! Enjoy your C+!
But if the day comes when she’s not paying attention, and she uncovers her work and lowers her guard—and someone cheats off her, or even worse, ON her, this is my hope:
I hope she lets it go.
I know cheating is wrong. I was wrong to cheat in that Anthropology class. But if she were to tell me that someone was cheating off her, I’d still say “Let it go.”
Who cares? Chances are the cheater is going to end up exactly where he or she should end up in life. That’s what happens to cheaters.
I knew this one lady once, her husband cheated on her. He cheated on her with a friend and then he married the friend and had a whole new family. He was still good to his original kids, but he was done with the original wife. I’m not saying it doesn’t suck to get dumped. It does. But at some point, it’s time to move on. This lady, she never moved on, and all of her anger and bitterness wasn’t going to make things go back to the way they were.
If anything, it made things worse.
But she never got over it and instead she got cancer. I’m not saying the two things are related but, I think they kind of are. Bitterness. That stuff will eat you up if you let it. It might even make you sick. I don’t know FOR SURE, but do you really want to chance it?
Let it go.
The one who cheated off you in class or cheated on you in a relationship, that person is CLEARLY not preoccupied with thoughts of you. Whey are you giving them your time? As my dad would say, “What’s the percentage in THAT?”
And that’s just what I am going to tell my daughter.
That’s what I’m telling her because even though I may not be the smartest person out there, I’m still a little smarter than she is.
Marianna (aka 'Diva' says
Love it & so will everyone else, including Frankie when she gets older. I love your thoughts & words & thank you so much for sharing….. Xoxoxo
Thank you, Diva! I miss you every single day of my life but I love that we are going through all of this together, even if it’s over the phone, through texts and vacations. You are one of the most special people in my world. Love you.
AMAZING!!! So glad that you’re back! xoxo
YOU are what’s amazing. Thank you for that. I needed it. I don’t know why but this was a hard one for me to put out there. Thank you for commenting. You have no idea the smile on my face. Thank you!!! XOXOXOXO!!!
Well done, lady! Miss you guys!
Thank you, Sharon. If I get a “well done” from you, well, then that is gold to me. For real. That means a lot because I was a little nervous about this one. Thank you for making me feel good about it. Thank you so much.
This is great!! Brendan is especially impressed with the chair-shattering ripping one! Anyway- when I was in High School, a boy cheated off me for an entire semester of trigonometry. So, I asked him- Why Me? He said I was hot! Crazy boy… anyway, Frankie can be hot AND smart! PS- we both earned our A’s in trig that semester. I wonder if he’s a garbage man now??
You being hot seems like a totally acceptable reason for cheating. In fact, if he saw you now, he’d probably cheat on his wife for you.
Thank you so much, Patti!!! I’m glad you liked it, or at least that you like me. I’ll take either one. 🙂
Hey Storch, nice piece! Ever read the book Outliers by Malcom Gladwell? Very interesting read on cultural destiny and success…I wouldn’t give up on her smarts just yet – regular smart is really, really smart! Most important, it’s “smart enough” to make a difference in her future. I would totally cheat off of her. (But unsuccessfully, since her teacher probably tells her to cover up those words; my daughter has to turn her sheet OVER AFTER EACH WORD). Keep ’em coming!
I have never read that book. I’m going to look into it though. It sounds so smart. Maybe it will make me smarter! I love your comment and I love that I still have you in my life and as a reader. You have always been nothing but good for me. Thanks, Dect! Miss you.
Stacy Vieder says
You’re awesome. I loved this. FJ (and her birth parents) are incredibly lucky to have you and Cody. I think the kid you really should bank on, though, is J…I think she’s on to something w that gyn guitar.
HAHAHAHAHAHA!! No one else has said anything about the gyn guitar. I LOVE YOU!! The gyn guitar is where it’s at, right? I mean, who else besides JJ? Who else? Love you! On the kick drum, baby. Come Come!
So good, Robyn!!
Really surprised at the “she’ll be smart” comments!
How about, “she’ll be so loved?!”
She is being raised in a warm, loving family; that sounds pretty
SMART to me! Xo
OMG, almost everyone with the “She’ll be so smart” comments. So much! I don’t remember getting too many “she’ll be loved” comments but probably because that was a given. She is definitely loved. She’s our kid, she’s family. I love your line about her being raised in a warm and loving family and how that is SMART. That made me tear up a little bit. Thank you for that. Not for making me cry, but for “getting” it. You are awesome. I hope you come back. I like the smarties.
Glad you’re back! So much fun! I’m a mom to 2 boys, almost 4, and 6. They get WAY too much enjoyment out of the sounds of their toots! One of them let’s it go- giggling ensues. This happens at least 4-10 times a day. I’ve come to accept it. Sometimes, I even giggle along- some of them sound like the one you described. At least they keep most of it at home, and not in school. 🙂
OK, two things:
1. The first thing I asked F when she let that huge one go at dinner was “Do you do that in school?” So funny that you said that!! Thankfully, she said she did NOT.
2. I woke up at 5 am this morning and couldn’t get back to sleep. I tried and tried and then, for some reason, I thought again of F and her “toot at the table” and I started cracking up. I totally woke my husband up. I felt so bad but I couldn’t stop laughing. Toots are just funny.
So happy you commented. I loved it!!! Thank you!!
Scotty G says
Amazing stuff here Robyn! Although Frankie might not reach her “academic potential,” its easy to see that you’re raising a uniquely special girl here. I give Cody and you both so much credit for that.
Oh yeah, “Hey Frankie!” if you’re reading this some day.
Oh, Scotty G! I don’t think there is anyone she would be happier to see on here than you! I love that you got in touch! For no reason other than hearing from you, I’m glad I started this up again. Thank you so much, love. We miss you more than you know. XOXOXO
Cheaters never prosper. Well, I guess I’m also doing ok and it got me through years of schooling. Hey if you can cheat and get away with it, I say go for it.
You are just all kinds of wrong, Brian. (And I love it!) Good to have you. Come back soon!!
I love reading your blog. So funny, so real and your warmth and humor seep through….thank for sharing it!!
If I could ask for any kind of comment, that’s the one I would want. Thank you so much. I love that you see the “big picture.” People like you make me happy!!! Thank you!!!
Nicole Bentley says
How could robyn and Cody ever have a shy quiet daughter? NEVER! Frankie is just like her gorgeous mumma and dadda! Well… Not that I’m saying that you or Cody let one rip at the table…but as if she wouldn’t be a crazy fun loving chicky dee…biological or not your still a product of your parents bringing you up and I’d be super proud of yourselves 🙂
Hi, Nic!! Our first nanny!! Can you believe that was 6 years ago? (Wow. I guess it wasn’t all that long ago, how in the world did I age so much in those 6 years? That’s weird.) I love that you are still a part of our family. We’re like the mafia. Once you go Coden, you can’t get out. I LOVE YOU and we all miss you so much!!!
I have missed your humor!! You have such a hysterical writing voice- I love it and it actually makes me laugh out loud! That’s right, I’m spelling it out- I’m about as sick of LOL as I am of that freaking Frozen song.
What a great post! I’m a reading specialist, so I’ve got the scoop on those Dolch words, baby… Miss you.
See, I knew someone would know what I meant by “Dolch words!!!” I miss you and I’m so happy to see you on here and have you as a reader. You’re bright and beautiful and it’s so validating for me that you like it. Thank you so much, Jacks. Miss you, miss you, miss you!!!!
this gave me the serious giggles…as I sat in the back of my nursing lecture tonight in the back of the room. I got the feeling I was getting dirty looks so I looked up and realized we were going over proper procedure for digital rectal impaction removal….so now I’m “that kid” in my nursing class. Worth it.
Let me tell you something, Marissa–YOU give me the serious giggles. I literally just told Cody that you are REALLY funny. Did I not know how funny you were when you were at camp? You need to come back. We need a do-over. I’m in love with you and I can’t have you. I don’t like that. We should be together…don’t you think??
Love the blog..this one and all of them! Keep it up! I also want add that I’m SO extremely happy you love to write about your family and NOT your best friends from high school! xoxo
Oh, Erika…if you think you are never going to come up in the blog, I think you are probably mistaken. How can someone I have SO much history with not come up at some point? Sorry. You are just way too special to me and too much of my life has you in it. I’m so happy to still have you in and that you read this thing. I love you, hot mama. Forever!!!
Great post! I got the “She’ll be so smart” comment one too many times and finally snapped and said “I don’t care if she’s dumb as a doorknob, I’ll love her anyway!” They looked at me like I was crazy! Luckily she’s very bright, a little airheady, but that’s probably my fault 🙂
Liz! Seriously, best comeback!! Where were you when I needed you? Love having you as a reader because I know that you’re right there with me, on SO many levels. Love our “cyber connection.” Thank you!!! 🙂