by Marinka on February 2, 2013

11 year old Young Ladrinka had a practice standardized test in school last week and in anticipation the parents received an email from the director with some words in it to the effect of not stressing out the kids about  the test and the importance of getting a good night’s sleep before the test and possibly flossing after every meal. I’m not sure because I don’t have time to read every email during Bachelor season.

But I understand the concept of not putting on too much pressure on a child because we all know that the best performances come when people are completely relaxed. That’s why during the Olympics 100 meter race, they wheel beds to the starting line and gently roll the runners out when it’s time to start with a whispered “do your best, I love you!” lobbed at them. Either that or a shot from a starter pistol, I’m hazy on the details.

So as I walked Young Ladrinka to get an Practice Test Day Snack (tm, pending) I shared some wisdom with him.

“Don’t rush,” I said, and also “check your work” and “read the question carefully.”

With that testing trifecta advice, I didn’t see how anything could possibly go wrong.

Later that day, Young Ladrinka told me that the test went pretty well, no bubble trouble to report.

“You might kill me,” he said, which is a fantastic way to start a conversation, if you’re looking for an ice breaker with your boss or something, “but I got one question wrong on purpose.”

“What’s that now?” I asked once the lambs stopped screaming.

“Yeah, there was a question, like who weighs more: an elephant or some other animal that starts with an l and I knew it was an elephant, but the animal that started with the l sounded cooler, so I chose that.”

Fortunately (for Young Ladrinka) we were in a public place, in line at Joe’s, a local coffee shop that I like to go to for an afternoon decaf, even though they never ever have it and talk me into a decaf Americano at only twice the cost.

“What was the animal starting with the l?” I asked. Perhaps it was a Lion, Extra Huge From Having Swallowed an Elephant Whole. Oh please, if that boa could swallow it, so could a lion. Their mouths are very roary.

“I want to know too,” the guy in line behind us asked. He was young and hip looking and obviously impressed with my ability to raise Future Thought Leaders.

“I don’t know,” Young Ladrinka continued to dazzle. “Not a llama.”

“A lemur?” the cute guy asked. “Was it an animal from Madagascar?”

“Yes! A lemur!” Young Ladrinka said as adorable guy and I looked at each other with a sense of accomplishment and caffeine withdrawal.”Wait, no, it wasn’t a lemur.” And just like that we deflated.

“Why would you do this?” I asked. “Why would you…oh, small decaf, please…alright, Americano..why would you pick the wrong answer?”

Young Ladrinka laughed.

“It was just a joke, mom.”

“What was a joke?” I started to tremble. “Your picking the wrong answer or your telling me that you picked the wrong answer?”

“The whole thing,” he said. “They don’t have questions about who weighs more. We’re not studying to be vets.”

Which is a good point.

And good news.

Especially for the animals.

One year ago ...

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Barb Best February 2, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Love your kid’s flair for sadistic play and self-amusement. Torturing parents is serious fun. Bravo, Young Ladrinka.


February 2, 2013 at 2:52 pm

That was pretty great.


Anna Lefler
February 3, 2013 at 9:24 am

I sure hope that, after yanking your chain so hard, he at least paid for your Americano.

And a biscotti, dammit.




February 3, 2013 at 9:52 am

“What’s that now?” I asked once the lambs stopped screaming.

That right there is why I love your writing.


February 3, 2013 at 10:36 am

I was about to applaud him with his FU at the inequalities of the educational system, especially the biases of standardized tests on those less privileged. I was about to praise you for raising a son who believes in political action and ideology above all, a stunning reversal in a culture that produces Harvard students, 1/3 of them who cheat on a test for personal advancements. Yes, Young Ladrinka, you should put wrong answers on the test. In fact, you should shove that standardized test back in the teacher’s face, announcing your refusal to participate in this sham of society, one that believes grades and rote knowledge and obedience to authority figures is what equals success rather than good deeds and authenticity.

Oh, yeah, but it was just a dorky joke. Kinda clever kid though. He’ll go far.


deborah l quinn
February 3, 2013 at 11:50 am

What I always like is the advice from the schools –to the parents and to the kids, during school, which I think goes like this: DON’T STRESS OUT REALLY THERE’S NOTHING TO BE STRESSED ABOUT DON’T STRESS OUT ABOUT THE TESTS AND NOW WE’LL DO SOME DE-STRESS EXERCISES SO THAT YOU DON’T STRESS ABOUT THE TEST.
When my version of young ladrinka was getting ready for the ALL IMPORTANT FOURTH GRADE TESTS there was so much DO NOT STRESS in his class that he said the de-stressing was giving him stress.
And your Y.L. totally owes you a cup of coffee. Plus perhaps a pair of lemur mittens.


dusty earth mother February 3, 2013 at 4:36 pm

The ol’ bait’n’switch. Definitely your child.


Laurie February 4, 2013 at 7:26 pm

Wow. Advanced Parent Torture. He is at least 3 grades ahead of other kids his age. I think that probably calls for a celebratory pizza or something.


Roshni February 4, 2013 at 11:35 pm

He definitely takes after you!! 😛


Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes February 5, 2013 at 7:40 am

Well played young Ladrinka, well played.


joeinvegas February 5, 2013 at 10:50 am

He might make a very good veterinarian.


Kimberly February 5, 2013 at 1:12 pm

I hate to break it to you but obviously the apple does not fall far from the tree


Jennifer Lee February 5, 2013 at 2:28 pm

LOVE! The story – the writing – the sense of humor…all of it!


the mama bird diaries
February 6, 2013 at 9:43 pm

I completely thought he was serious which makes no sense because how could that have been a question.


anymommy February 6, 2013 at 10:52 pm

Wait now, they start to mock US? Is that allowed. There must be a constitutional amendment granting me the right to be free from mocking at the hands of my child?

I loved the screaming lambs too. Genius.


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