Yesterday, my 10 year old, Thing 1, came up to me and said, "Dad, I have a silly question. I can't believe I'm asking this, but how do you spell 'near'?"
"Near?" I asked, making sure I heard her.
"Yes, near. I know I should know this, but it's been a long day and I just can't think straight."
"Simple," I said. "Just remember this classic rule, when spelling with vowels. 'I before E, except after C.'"
She looked at me funny, and thought for a minute. I could see the gears turning. Finally, she looked at me like I was a giant idiot and said, "There's no "i" in "near". I know there's an e, it's n-e-blank-r, but there's no i."
"Thank goodness you at least knew that," I replied. "I'll give you a hint, it's another vowel, and you already eliminated one of them."
I think she then went and asked her mom.