Every parent thinks their child is a prodigy. Mine were not. Oh, they are smart kids. Good kids. Funny kids. IQ’s in the upper range. Still, no prodigious talents from either.
But there is a video store clerk by the name of Gregory from Jackson, Tennessee who believes differently . . .
See, Kacey was an only child until she was almost 7, and I was, for the most part, a stay-at-home mom who loved nothing more than hanging out with my kid. We loved to read, sing, play games, swim, watch "Eureeka's Castle" on Nickelodeon, and listen to music.
By her 2nd birthday, Kacey could recite the alphabet and spell her name. By 3 ½ she could read some basic words, plus recognize a few familiar names. No big deal. One of the words she knew was the name “Gregory” as it was on her dad’s police badge that she saw every day.
Around the same age we began learning state capitals as a car game using a children’s atlas my parent's had given her. We started alphabetically, and because she was born in Alaska, she eagerly learned the capital city of Juneau. (I would say, “Did Juneau you were born in Alaska?” and she would giggle.)
Finally, though we listened to many types of music, the only real thing she knew about classical music was that Beethoven wrote those two songs (“Fur Elise” and "Moonlight Sonata") that both mommy, and Schroeder from ‘Peanuts’, played on the piano.
So, back to the Blockbuster clerk, and the most amazing coincidence of fake-believe prodigy:
Kacey was barely 4 years old and we were walking the aisles looking for a movie. There was classical music playing in the store. “Fur Elise” came on and Kacey said loudly, “Mommy! Beethoven!” The clerk, who was restocking shelves, said with amazement, “You sure are a smart little girl!”
A few minutes later as we are checking out, he decided to see just how smart she was. Now he could have asked any number of follow-up questions at this point, but he didn’t. Here is what he asked: “You’re so smart, but I bet you can’t tell me what my nametag says.” She looked at his nametag, then looked at me as if to ask, “Does it really say what I think it says?” She spelled it to him, “G-R-E-G-O-R-Y, Gregory. Is your name Gregory?” His mouth literally dropped open and he looked at me with an expression of disbelief. I pulled my shoulders back proudly, and allowed my head to swell a bit. At this point, other clerks and some customers are observing this interaction. “Okay,” he said, “How about this: What’s the capital of Alaska?” SERIOUSLY? Did he REALLY just ask her that? “Juneau!” she squealed with enthusiasm.
At that point we were batting 1000. I figured if we stuck around for another swing, our stats would drop significantly. We left him speechless and I left the store pretending to be the world’s greatest mom to the most precocious child ever to grace the doors of Blockbuster Video.
That was a pretty decent day.