I debated on whether to write about this but thought that years from now, I want a record of the crazy conversations that are sometimes had over here. You know when you are in bed at night replaying the day in your head and you get to a point when you ask yourself, “Did I really say that?” Well this is one of those conversations. Let me start out by saying that Isabella has one of the best teachers my kids have ever had or that I have ever known. He is enthusiastic, fun, smart and so good at easing a child’s worry or a parent’s concern. Isabella has always loved school but I have seen her confidence level soar this year. I tell her all the time that she can be whatever she wants to be and do whatever she sets her mind to and I think this year she finally believes it and I think it is because of her teacher this year.
Belle (after school): Mom, my teacher challenged us over break to come with questions for science and so I wrote a bunch down.
Me (trying to decide what to make for dinner): That’s great. You didn’t even ask for any help. Nice job.
Belle (beaming): He said that I had good questions and that I could be a great scientist because great scientists work hard to find answers to their questions. So, now I want to be a scientist. What do you think?
Me (seeing a lot of battles over the hard science and math classes): I think you can be whatever you want as long as you are willing to work for it. Maybe you’ll be the scientist that cures CF.
Belle (as if a light bulb went off in her head): Yes! That is the kind of scientist I want to be! But…
Me (deciding on Sloppy Joes): But what?
Belle (looking sad): After I said that at school, some of the kids started making fun of me saying that scientists are nerds (sorry for any scientists reading this…not my opinion).
Me (hating how mean kids are): Scientists are not nerds (see, scientists…I have your back). They are the smartest people in the world (sorry all other professions…didn’t mean to generalize). Even doctors go to them to find answers.
Belle: Yeah, that’s right. They are really smart.
Tommy (walking into the room): Who is really smart?
Belle (proudly): Scientists. I am going to be one when I grow up.
Tommy: Oh, no way! You are not even close to being smart enough to be one. I am better at science than you are anyway.
Belle (before I even got a chance to say anything to Tommy): OH MY GOD, TOMMY! SHUT UP! I AM SO SMART ENOUGH! MY TEACHER SAYS SO!
Me (mad now that Belle yelled so Gia woke up from a too short nap): Belle, you don’t need to scream at him. Tommy apologize. She can be a scientist if she wants.
About an hour later while I was making dinner:
Belle: Mom, do you think I am smart enough to be a scientist?
Belle: What if I don’t understand the classes?
Me (not really wanting to think about the future science classes she would have to take): You take classes before the classes that are hard so that you’ll understand them better. You’ll have to study a lot but you can do it.
Belle (getting frustrated and agitated…why? I have no idea): What if the before classes are hard? What if I study them and I still don’t know them? I am not good at studying. I forget all the time.
Me (not really believing that I am having a conversation about classes she has not even had yet): Why don’t you wait until you are older and have the classes before worrying about that?
Belle (rolling her eyes): You never want to talk about what I might do when I get older.
Me (hating the rolling of the eyes): We are talking about that but you are getting upset about classes you don’t even know that you won’t understand.
Belle: I’m just saying. What if I can’t be a scientist? Should I be an artist? What about a baker?
Me (I’m not going to lie. I was getting tired of the conversation.): You are good at all of those things.
Tommy (sitting at the table doing his homework): You should just be an artist. It’s too hard to be a scientist and you’ll get frustrated and Mom can’t help you and then you’ll cry.
Belle (stomping her feet): I am not going to cry and Mom won’t be at college with me so she can’t help. You’re the dumb one. I can too be a scientist! Mom, make him stop talking to me.
Me (the bickering at this point is nails on a chalkboard): Tommy knock it off. Belle, people are going to tell you for the rest of your life that you can’t do things. You can choose to believe them and quit or you can believe in yourself and work hard to make your dreams come true. If you want to be a scientist, don’t listen to people that tell you that you can’t.
Nico (walking into the kitchen from practice): Who is going to be a scientist?
Belle (exasperated at this point): Nevermind! Everyone just be quiet about it!
Tommy (being the aggravator that he is): Belle is.
Nico: Seriously? Scientists are nerds.
Belle (crying…I kid you not…crying): See! I told you! Everyone thinks that scientists are nerds! No one thinks I can be a scientist and even if I am, I’ll be a nerd!
Me (having zero patience and no wine in the house): You know what? Forget it, Belle! You shouldn’t be a scientist! If you are so worried about what everyone else thinks and you are going to believe people when they say you aren’t smart enough, then you can’t be one! Tommy, stop saying she isn’t smart enough when she got a better grade than you in science and Nico, it is a scientist that is going to cure CF so nerd or not, you better have the utmost respect for them because they are the answers to your prayers!
All four of my children looked at me like I was crazy and at that moment, I admit, I was in a speak before think mode. I realized I had just joined the people that told her she couldn’t be a scientist, threw Tommy under the bus with his science grade and yelled at Nico about CF. Another Mom of the Year award down the drain.