I snapped at my child earlier tonight, and I... well, maybe I wasn't wrong to say what I said, but I was wrong to have snapped at her.
I don't even remember how it came up, but she said something to me that included the words "good job, *genius*" and that was what set it off, and I snapped at her and, as un-angrily as possible under the circumstances, asked her to never refer to me like that again.
My nice Biscuit told me that it was okay for me to have my feelings and she isn't at all wrong, but it immediately prompted a rummage into my own soul to find out why that particular word set me off quite so hard. I try not to speak sharply or angrily at my kid unless it is in service of saving her from something dangerous, so why, at this time when she used that word sarcastically at me, need to be saved from the dangerous me?
The answer, alas, is my own insecurities. Most of us who are told we are gifted in one way or another as children eventually discover, in high school or in college, that there are so many other people who are much, much more gifted than we are. And you better believe it hurts.
Eventually, maybe some of us find we have other gifts than, say, a proficiency for figuring out multiple-choice testing (even though I can still CRUSH that shit) or whatever the testing mechanism is today.
None of that, alas, means that when my smart-as-hell kid refers to me sarcastically as a "genius," that it doesn't sting like hell, because I know in my bones that I'm nothing of the sort even though I grew up thinking maybe I was.
I guess the upshot is... sorry, kiddo. You ran afoul of 40-ish years of insecurity.