December 5, 2011

A Conversation. Of The Crazy Making Kind.

“So Mum, did you like my performance best, or Johnny Li’s?”

My son was referring, of course, to his end-of-year school concert, which we had attended the night before. And the question wasn’t an easy one to answer. My son had read a beautiful poem about Maths that he composed himself (yes, about Maths. Numbers are very poetic, you know), but Johnny Li was a violin prodigy, and his performance had nearly brought me to tears.

The poem was possibly the best poem about Maths I had ever heard (and to be fair, I did hear three that night), but Johnny was a genius. How to answer?

“I always love your performances more than anyone else’s performances,” I said truthfully. My son rolled his eyes.
“Yes, I know that, Mum. You enjoy them because I'm your child. But which did you enjoy most?”

“They were both good! But I enjoyed yours most.”
He still wasn’t satisfied. “Okay, but if you didn’t know me, which would you think was the better performance?”

Oh for god’s sake. Why the fuck does he have to ask me these types of questions? How the hell am I supposed to answer that?
“How the hell am I supposed to answer that?” I asked, which possibly isn’t the approved way to speak to a twelve year old boy, but as he doesn’t seem to follow the rules when talking to me, I’m not sure I really care.

“Just tell me the truth, Mum. I can take it.”
“I can’t answer. I don’t know how to answer.”

“If Johnny did my performance and I did his, which would you think is better?”
Um... er.... “The one you did,” I said finally. I was pretty sure that was the right answer.

“So you’re saying his violin playing was better than my poem???”
“NO! I didn’t say that! I said I’d like the one you did better!”

He tried a different tack. “Okay, so what if a stranger read out my poem and then a stranger played Johnny’s violin?”
“Would the stranger be a good or bad violin player?” I asked. This was getting really confusing.

“Good. As good as him.”
“But did you still write the poem?”

“No, someone else wrote the poem.”
“I’d like the poem better. It was brilliant. Far better than that violin playing.”

My son looked satisfied, and he smiled. “Okay. Can you pass the milk?”

And I knew that – this time – I’d won.


  1. Holy moly, he is destined for a career in law with that line of questioning, what a clever kid!  I'm starting to get that from my 11 year old son too, it's almost like he's challenging me to be honest with him.  Which is tough because I adore him to much to be!

  2. Last night at our friends house, our children all gave a little performance. My 7 year old son impressed us by remembering his lines from Pied Piper. Our friends 7 year old daughter did her piano recital which was really terrific too. My 2 year old danced and their 4 year old played the wiggles guitar. My son (always wanting to be the best) asked "who won?", to which I responded "it wasn't a competition". "Yeh, but who was the best?" he replied. So my answer....You were the best at Drama, Miss L was the best at Piano, Master J was the best at guitar and Master 2 was the best dancer. Sorted!

  3. That made me laugh, he sounds just like my sister.  She always wanted to know who was the best - the answer being her.  I however always just assumed I was the best and Mum was just placating my little sister.  Now I wonder ....

  4. Well done, I don't ever seem to answer those questions correctly. There isn't alot of artistic ability in my children so am Switzerland when questioned.

  5. You are a genius. I would have been trapped and fallen at the first counter-question. The next time this happens to me I going to tell Prima I have to "phone a friend". xx

  6. You are a genius - he'll never catch you out at this rate. x

  7. Um... Er... *runs from the room in confusion*

  8. Wow, scares me what I have ahead of me. My son is just on to the "why' questions...  we have his (he is 2 going on 3 yr ) first concert on Sat! need all the prep I can get.  We received an email today requesting child to be dressed all in white. Not sure the staff at the daycare have to do the washing of a 2 year old as I don't think there is any piece of my son's clothing that is not stained and therefore i dress him in dark colours aka navy and black!  I am wondering if the daycare is auditioning the kids for a detergent commercial. Anyway off to spend $$ on white clothes that will become no longer white after the first wear... Also just found out that it is protocol to buy teachers presents... so many things I need to learn #definitelynotastepfordwifeandveryunlikelywilleverbe

  9. maybe she is not the genius we thought ...

  10. Touche! I think my problem with the sidestepping tricky questions issue was they would hit me first thing of a morning before my eyes were properly open.  Cunning little buggers ...

  11. I think that we should tell our kids what they want to hear and whet they wants is really simple: to know they are loved and appreciated. This is quite enough! You gave your son the best answers! I am sure he was pretty happy with them.

  12. Hah! You are a MUCH better mother than me. I would have caved on question three and said "Johnny Li is an absolute PRODIGY. Are you kidding me? There was no contest." ... then gone away and opened an acount for his counselling fees later in life.


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