I am smart.  I am.  I have a brain and I know how to use it.  Just because it has been put a shelf to collect dust and cobwebs does not mean that I can not take it, dust it off and use it periodically.  I try not to, because it can hurt, but I have the option and that makes me smart.

I am so smart that I can admit that my kids are way smarter than me.  They can out wit, out cry and out maneuverer  me on any given day.  They can wear me down and make me beg for mercy – or a cookie. A ream of cookies.  An entire pack of cookies.

The older they get, the more they learn.  Which is not necessarily good because daily my brain cells jump, screaming “save yourselves!”  An uneven trade that has led me to come up with alternative forms of intelligence.  Distractions, threats, begging…  all tools in my box.  Tools that are not sharp, honed or really any match for these kids.  Tools that can easily be thrown right back at me – debilitating me and rendering me useless.

Today, for instance, Katie had my number.  She has learned that saying please and thank you gets her most things.  And if she repeats her request over and over and over and over and over – ok, I’ll stop – again, she will most likely wear me down until I say, “FINE, Katie!  You can take your bike out in the rain, ride it barefoot with no helmet on the busy street during a hurricane!”

Sarah’s tool of the trade is whining.  About everything.  She even whines about whining.  “But Mamaaaaaaa, I’m not whining anymoooreeee.  Can I have some meeeeuullllkkkk nnnoooowwww???”

This is repeated at different decibels and crying stages until I finally, to save my sanity, fill a milk cup with half water and half milk and – resisting the urge to throw it  – hand it over.  To which her response is to taste it, throw it down, stick out that sweet little bottom lip and start a whole new round of “Mammaaaaaaaa – I want fresh meeeeuuullllkkkkk!  Gimmeee some fresh meeeuuuullllkkkk!”

Megan’s, being verbally challenged, we’ll say, has to get more creative if she wants to outsmart me.  Which she does.  All of the time.  I can admit it.  Another sign of my undeniable intelligence.

Megan screams.  “UUUH!”  Translation, “GIMME!”

“UUH – UUHHH!”  That would be Megan grunt for “NOW!”

“UUUH – UUUH – UUUH!”  The classic “Right NOW I said!” escapes her lips by the minute.  Unless she is asleep.  Which I try to arrange as often as possible.  Much to her chagrin.

I am ok with my children’s intelligence levels.  I figure they got it from me so I kind of have to be ok with it.   Not that my husband is not intelligent, he is.  But I need all the credit I can get before people start arguing with me so I’ll take this one.

But I will say, by the end of the day of wit vs wit, determination vs domination, and mommy vs daughters, I generally come out on top.  Not every day, but most days.  I have a power they don’t possess yet.  The ability to put them in time out, their rooms, and anywhere I else I feel the desire to cram them.  It came with my c – section scars.

So though the battle will always be hard fought and I will lose some – more than I will ever admit, I am sure – I still feel – maybe vainly – that the war will always be mine.

And that makes me brilliantly unintelligent.