Last night Stella, Etta, and I were eating at McDonalds. It was the one with the playground on Riverside. We’d driven the extra 5 minutes since the McDonalds around the corner from us doesn’t have a playground.
As we were eating we were having a nice conversation. Then out of the blue Stella asked, “Dad, am I dumb?”. She had the most pathetic look on her face. Immediately all sorts of thoughts ran through my head. “Who said that?” I asked. She looked at me puzzled. I thought about the fact that we’re trying not to just tell Stella she’s smart, but praise her for the things she’s actually done. Had this backfired? Did we go too far? Had we destroyed her self-confidence? Had some kid been calling her dumb because of her clothes? Did we not bathe her enough? Was it because we didn’t let her watch princess movies?
“Dad,” she asked again, “am I done?
Done. Not Dumb. Done.
“Yes Stella, you’re done. You can go play.”