Tag Archives: School

So I’m forming a commune…who’s in?

Found out Wednesday night that my husband had a last minute work commitment pop up for Thursday morning, which meant he couldn’t take E to school…

Already knew that he had work early Friday morning (a busy week!), which meant I was on duty for school drop-off two mornings in a row…

I always miss my husband when he’s gone, but I never miss him more than at 7am when I am waking up sleeping siblings to load 4 kids in the car and get E to school on time.

I have considered other options:

(1) letting her ride the bus those mornings…However, the reality is that E doesn’t love the bus.  She really helps our family by riding the bus home every afternoon during her brothers’ naps, and we try to help her by driving her to school in the morning.  We are especially committed to this, since the bus gets to school so early that E would have to sit silently in the cafeteria until they let her in the classroom, something she asked to avoid when we originally made our grand-scheme, first-grade transportation plans.

(2) letting her carpool with a friend…and we have done this at least 3 times, but they haven’t needed us to return the favor and I was trying to avoid leaning on them again.

(3) letting her be late, which I did once when a sibling was ill, only to end up feeling horrible because (what are the chances?) she missed morning announcements on the one day they played the video of her doing a book review…three days before they were supposed to play it, by the way.  Irritation, and mommy guilt overdrive (alleviated only slightly when E’s student teacher arranged for the announcements to be played again just for E…thank you, Ms. S!)

So Thursday, I was prepared to wake and load everyone, then pleasantly surprised when all the siblings were unexpectedly up and ready to go on their own…10 minutes before we actually needed to leave!  Knowing disaster (or a poop, or a scraped knee, or traffic, or a meltdown…) could strike at any moment, I went ahead and put everyone into the car.

Well, we arrived a few minutes before they opened the classrooms, and knowing E didn’t like sitting in the cafeteria, I simply circled the parking lot a few times (keeping the car moving so H wouldn’t scream) waiting until the moment when I could drop her off knowing she could walk right into her room.

E was confused (I mean, we are rarely early!  I’m sure it was disorienting for everyone!),  and she asked why we were circling.  When I explained, she said, “Oh!  You can let me out now!  They started reading stories to the cafeteria kids, and I don’t mind sitting and listening.”

“Are you sure?” I asked her.  “I can easily park for a minute, or circle a few more times.  The classrooms will be open in less than 5 minutes.”

“I’m sure”, she told me.  And I let her go in.

E didn’t mention anything about her morning experience during our “how was school” conversation yesterday, and I didn’t think any more about it until this (Friday) morning, when I knew I would need to load everyone up again.

This (Friday) morning was different than Thursday.  Everyone was sleeping late, and I was dreading getting them all up and into the car.  T had been up all night.  And I mean up to the point that at 1:30am, I finally put my computer in his room and played a Dora video so I could nurse H and get myself ready for bed.  Short version: I knew he needed to sleep and was loathe to wake him up, along with S & H who were also still sleeping at 7am.

So I got E ready very quickly and at 7:05, I asked her the million dollar question.  All her siblings were asleep.  I didn’t want to wake them.  It was too last-minute to arrange a carpool.  And being late wasn’t an option, because her class was going on a field trip to the Science Museum.  So, I asked her, “E, how would you feel about riding the bus this morning and letting everyone else sleep in?  You could listen to the stories in the cafeteria just like you did yesterday.”

“I don’t want to, mom.  Please drive me.”

So I did.

We had 10 extra minutes before we had to wake everyone, and we spent it on the couch, with her reading me a story.  I felt good about that, and then felt horrible as I woke up the siblings to load everyone in.

Well, don’t you just love it when that bad feeling gets so much worse?  Because as we pulled into the parking lot, E asked me, “Are we early again, mom?”

“No.  Right on time today.  You should walk down to your classroom.”

“Good”, she said.

“Why?” I asked her, “Did you not enjoy being in the cafeteria yesterday while they were reading the stories?”

“No.  A bad thing happened.”

“What?!  What happened?”

“I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Are you sure?  I’m so sorry something bad happened.  Are you sure you don’t want to tell me?  Is it something I can help with, because I can park the car and we can all go in?”

“No.  I don’t want to talk about what happened.  I accidentally went in to the gym yesterday instead of the cafeteria, and that’s where the older kids [grades 2-5]  wait for their classrooms to open.”

My heart totally sank for E.  And I fought my desire to know every detail so I could offer every comfort because (1) she didn’t want to talk about it, and (2) I didn’t want to make her relive a bad moment, and get upset, right as she was about to walk back into the school.

So at this point, I still have no idea what happened.  Was the bad thing that she went into the wrong room and was embarrassed about that?  Or did something bad happen in the room…maybe an older kid teasing her about something else?  I don’t know how much to push her to talk about it.  If it’s something I can help her sort through or offer comfort about, then maybe pushing is worth it?  But she said very clearly that she didn’t want to talk about it (at least right then).

Anyway, we did get some quality family time this afternoon.  We surprised E by picking her up from school (no bus today!) and taking her to cash in the “free coke” coupon she won recently.  We also picked up the pottery piece she painted with Grammy during her visit last week (held at the store for glazing…E was so excited to get it today…thank you so much Grammy!), and checked the bike store for the third time in two weeks to see if any good used girls bikes had come in (and one had!  we currently have it for a trial period, but I think it’s going to be perfect…)

(And lest you think the other kids were neglected, there were a few fun things thrown in for them too – suckers at the pharmacy where we picked up E’s asthma medicine, ice cream cones after dinner, a set of used bases for family T-ball games from the sports store, etc.)

Nothing uber-fancy…all things we were going to do at some point…but today seemed like good timing…a fun post-school pick-up for the girl that has done the post-school bus ride for the rest of us all year.

And a distraction for the mama that wants the schoolyear to end so she can put her kids back into the little bubble – for just a little while – that is our family.

Not that we don’t have our moments…but at least I know most of what happens, who needs to say sorry, what my kids are feeling (and why and when).

Anyone want to throw all the “we need to stop micromanaging our kids’ lives” articles into the garbage and form a helicopter-parenting commune where everyone is required to be nice to everyone else all the time?  (Kidding, with just a hint of wistfulness…)

Love you, E.

So much.

(and if anyone out there actually runs with the idea of a non-creepy commune of niceness, our family is in : )

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Watch out, Kindergarten

Talking to S about the book The Five Love Languages of Children

Her first response, “Well, I don’t know what that book says, but [4 month old] H’s ‘love language’ is milk…”

 

Celebrating E’s “Jump Rope for Heart” activity with a discussion of how one life was saved when a doctor was able to use a pig valve to fix a man’s heart…

Everyone celebrating until S says, “Stop.  Wait.  What happened to the pig?

 

Attempting to keep S busy during church by telling her to draw a circle around all the S’s in the “word find” puzzle.  She circles one, then another, then wrinkles her nose, smiles at a thought, and draws one big circle around the entire puzzle.

In a whisper to me two seconds later  “There.  I drew a circle around all the S’s in the puzzle.  What’s next?”

 

Watch out, Kindergarten.  We’re sending you a live one next year…

Love your brain. Love you. Be who you are always.

*I may delete this post someday if I decide it’s too personal or realize that it would bother any of my children.  If you think it falls into either of those categories, I am open to recommendations on deleting it…feel free to weigh in!*

So if you’ve read the last couple of blog posts, you know that I’m thinking a lot about the kids these days.  That trend continues with this post, which contains two stories and some reflections about S, particularly with regards to the awesome way she engages in, and expresses, her learning.

There is a refrain in these stories.  It is…

“I love your brain, S.  And I love you.  Be who you are always.”

And the stories are as follows…

 

 

Story 1: S (who turned four in February) learned to write her name this year.   It is so cute, with its crooked, all-capital, all-over-the-page letters that I asked her to write it on a blank sheet of paper for me, so I could file that paper in her box of “special things from childhood”.

We sat down at the kitchen table together, side-by-side.  I gave her a sheet of paper, she chose her marker, and then – to my surprise – she started to make all sorts of non-sensical marks.

Now, I have seen S write her name many, many times.  She knows how to do it.  But these were just scribbles.

I didn’t say anything – just waited to see how many marks she was going to make and what she would say when she was done.

She finished, and put the cap on the marker.

I looked at the page full of scribbles, and S looked at me.

Then she looked back at the paper, rotated it 180 degrees, and there, in those precious crooked, all-capital, all-over-the-page letters was her name.  She had written it in reverse and upside down, so that (with the exception of one backwards letter), it was a three-year-old’s version of perfect when she turned the page around.

I almost fell out of my chair.

I swear, if I were reading this, I would think the author was lying or exaggerating, but honest-to-goodness that is exactly how it happened.  The follow-up is that I later sat down with my own pen and paper and tried to do it, and it is not easy.

Furthermore – just because I think it’s interesting, I will mention that I have paid attention since, when she doesn’t realize I’m watching, and never seen her write her name this way again…it was something about me asking her to do it and sitting right next to her, I guess???

The refrain…get ready for it…

“I love your brain, S.  And I love you.  Be who you are always.”

 

 

Story 2:  One day while I was busy cleaning up the house, I noticed that the pieces of one our puzzles had been scattered across the playroom table, and I asked S to help by doing the puzzle.  She collected all the pieces she could find (2 were missing at the time), sat down to work, and after a minute or so, said, “I did the puzzle, mama!  Come look!”

I went over with the intention of quickly viewing, collecting and putting away the puzzle, but had to stop when I saw the ultimate results of her efforts.  This is what I saw:

Not a single puzzle piece was in the “right” place.

Now I know S can do this puzzle, so I was curious.  I sat down next to her and asked her to tell me about her work.  She said, “I decided that this puzzle would be more fun if I made a rule about how I could do it.  My rule was that all the pieces had to go with their right color, but none of them were allowed to go with their right shape.”  And now it’s done.

The refrain again…get ready for it…

“I love your brain, S.  And I love you.  Be who you are always.”

Later, I gave her a much harder puzzle to do.  Here’s what the puzzle typically looks like:

And here’s what it looked like after S was finished with it:

That’s right, every piece fitted together…upside down.

Clearly, it was too easy – or not interesting enough? – to do with the picture side up.

Can I sing the refrain one more time?

“I love your brain, S.  And I love you.  Be who you are always.”

 

 

A mama’s reflection:

I have said many times (including in this blog) that I love the way S sees and engages the world.   I actually say this more often than I might otherwise because (1) it is simply beyond awesome, in my opinion, and (2) as she gets older, I worry that she is going to encounter lots of people – especially in school – who don’t appreciate her more unique perspective, so she needs to hear it from her mama in every way and as many times as I can say it.

She has not encountered any naysaying yet.  From what I’ve seen, Pre-K and Kindergarten programs seem to take pride in allowing children to be creative (shout out to E & S’ teachers here!).  In the young years, schools are great about introducing an idea, then letting the kids run with it in any direction they choose.  However, looking down the road, I have to admit that I am worried about finding the right school for S after Kindergarten is over.  Maybe I worry needlessly, but from what I do know, encouraging unique, creative, explorations & expressions is not the top priority in a lot of grade 1-12 environments.

The things I list below are, in my opinion, important for all students.  But there are some who will struggle more than others when asked to limit themselves to “acceptable” learning styles and expressions.  And I think S may be in this category both because (1) her style is relatively unique and (2) she is not one to cow-tow to any systems “just because”.  As her mom, I can help her figure out when to “play the game” and when to challenge the system (and how to evaluate the consequences of both courses of action), and I can give her advice on how to be who she is while code switching to get the most out of what traditional education has to offer.  But honestly, what she really needs is the right learning environment for her.

Ideally, S needs teachers all the way through that are going to challenge her with a question or idea and then let her try her own way of doing things without interruption.

It will be especially important for S to have a teacher that will encourage her to explore her own ideas and processes instead of “correcting” her when they see her headed down a path that seems to make absolutely no sense.

I am desperate to find teachers for her that are like those we have encountered in our pre-K and Kindergarten classrooms…teachers that will NOT try to make her thinking and expression fit into a standard path, but will instead celebrate her very unique way of seeing and engaging the world…

If they stifle her, or make her feel self-conscious or defensive or (I shudder to write it) – make her feel wrong – about approaching things differently, the world is going to miss out on the true essence of S.

(Moreover, my girl is impassioned, so she’s probably going to tell them what she thinks about their methods, and then get punished for it, unless she’s in a pretty special setting.  I mean, if a teacher had asked her to write her name, stopped her as soon as she saw the unrecognizable marks, told her she had misunderstood the instructions, removed her paper and given her blank sheet with instructions to try again, I can tell you that the S I know would absolutely refuse to do it, thinking, “I was writing my name, and you insulted and stopped me.  There’s no way I’m going to start writing it again”.  What no one will realize is that behind all that fire, she’s hiding a bruised spirit and hurt feelings.  And then her dad and I are going to be in the principal’s office trying to sort it all out.)

Maybe Calvin’s parents could give us some tips…  (And by the way, I believe that all students are “utterly and exquisite crystals”… and lots of teachers are too : )

Any suggestions on where to find a post-Kindergarten classroom that can manage all that?  I mean, I am a former teacher, and I know the challenge.  And I have lots of teacher friends who meet and exceed this challenge.  They are fantastic (you know who you are folks…and I love you for it!)  But it’s a lot to ask of a teacher to give a creative child leeway to explore alternate means of completing assignments, when that teacher has 18+ young children to prepare for a mandatory standardized test (i.e. I am not sure what is even fair to ask teachers to do, given all their responsibilities…)

(Along this note, as a former teacher giving a shout out to all teachers, I can tell you that every child has a unique perspective and that “the system” makes it very difficult for teachers to engage them all as individuals.  We need to do better as a society at addressing this.  In the meantime, I’m thinking about my now 4 year old daughter.  In terms of the “formal” schooling she’ll face in a few years, what’s the best place for S?)

 

 

SIDE NOTE:  My current solution is to beg my friend L (a former teacher and principal) to move her family here from Colorado and open a school and enroll all my children in it.  I will make her job relatively easier by introducing her to several teachers in this area, and insisting all my other amazing teacher friends move here and work in the school too.   A little background:  When L and I were studying education together, a guest speaker came into our classroom to teach us some math skills.  He wrote some problem on the board that I don’t remember exactly, but it was something like,

“Find 4 odd numbers that, when added together, equal the number 63.”

Well, he gave us a few minutes, saw everyone looking quizzical, and then provided the answer, which was that since 4 odd numbers will always equal an even number, it couldn’t be done.

Everyone looked relieved except my friend L who raised her hand and told him that it could be done, and she would be happy to reveal the method.  In response, the speaker launched into a re-explanation intended to convince her that you can’t get 63 by adding 4 numbers that are odd.

She responded by asking if she could write her answer on the board.

When she wrote the following:

the guest speaker almost looked relieved.  He predictably told her that her answer wrong, because 60 was not an odd number.

L, who still had the dry erase marker in her hand, simply continued writing until her answer looked like this:

Then she told the guest speaker that he simply needed to expand his definition of odd.

(How’s that for awesome? I approached L after class and basically told her she should decide whether she wanted me to be her friend or her stalker…)

I’d be ok with her teaching S!

Thank goodness this question wasn’t on the exams for my teaching certification…

So I taught middle and high school, but am unable to help my five year old with her Kindergarten homework because the questions are clearly beyond what my intellect can handle.

This past week, E was assigned to visit two businesses and answer 5 questions about each.  The first question on the list was “Does this business provide a good or a service?”

Well, since we were going to Burger King for the free St. Patrick’s Day fries anyway, I thought that would be a great place to begin our research.

Of course, while we were there, it occurred to me that I have no idea whether Burger King provides a good or a service.

Fortunately, it also occurred to me that this was not my homework assignment.  So I asked E, “Burger King…good or service?  What do you think?”

Without batting an eyelash, she told me it depended on whether you went the drive-through (and left with a good) or ate inside (enjoying the service).

Booyah!  (Does saying that make me an obnoxious parent?  Do I seem less obnoxious if I admit that I don’t know if I spelled it correctly?  Maybe I should just say it differently…Here it goes…E came up with that answer all by herself while her mother stood in the corner trying to get the cobwebs off her cognitive brain function, and I think it was an excellent answer.  I admittedly know nothing, but it seemed thoughtful and it was hers, and I was very impressed!)

Anyway, since E’s response essentially turned a multiple-choice question into an essay, and she is just now learning how to write, she still faced additional challenges while completing the assignment.

Until she decided to step back and simplify.  Her answer to the question, “Did the business provide a good or a service?”  now simply reads, “Both”.

Whew.

Then onto the next business and its set of questions, which involved a special trip to Hallmark, where E and I chatted and toured with a wonderful employee while S & T had a fabulous time destroying the displays.  I wanted E to see Hallmark in particular since in the project’s final presentation, E has been assigned to “work” in a mock card store (while her classmates man other storefronts in their creative community and the parents use pretend money to purchase goods and services from the kids).   This occurs five days from today.

I am in so much trouble, because apparently the “real work” starts next year, when E enters first grade.

Notice that I said I’m in trouble, because clearly, E will be fine.

P.S.  I do realize that this post makes me seem like a bit of an idiot, but just to prove that I’m not completely brain-fried, know that this social studies website doesn’t know whether restaurants are providing goods or services either, listing “food” as an example of a good and “fixing you dinner” as an example of a service.  And yes, I do realize that posting this now makes me appear like an idiot and a nerd, but I’m over it.  I actually think this stuff is interesting and looked it up for my own edification, NOT for any conversations with E!

St. Patrick’s Day ideas for fun with the kids

Absolutely by chance, our playgroup was at the park on St. Patrick’s Day two years ago, and we stumbled across a leprechaun stash that some kind soul had left there for the kids.  You have never seen such excitement over some glitter and a pile of pennies!  The kids were ecstatic!  (Thank you, to whoever that kind stranger was!)  The kids celebrated their treasure, fingered every penny, and the playgroup adults scoured their wallets (and car consoles) to replace the penny treasure trove before we left so that the next lucky group would also have something to find.

It led to a conversation about St. Patrick’s Day, a holiday I had never thought of as particularly kid-festive.  I mean, I’m not going to deny that I celebrated with some green beer in college, but it hadn’t occurred to me to do anything for my preschool-aged kids.

Oh my goodness, was I missing an opportunity!  As I talked with the other parents, I discovered that leprechauns visited their homes and left surprises for the kids to discover on St. Patrick’s Day morning.  Not presents, mind you…but surprises.  Green pee in the toilet, green milk in the fridge, glitter trails on the porch leading to piles of pennies, and havoc among the normal placement of things wreaked by those tricky leprauchans (imagine a 3 year old’s face when she discovers dad’s ties hanging from the chandeliers, for example, and how much fun she could have showing daddy what those leprauchans had done!  Something she would never dare to do, which makes is so extra fun!  Also chairs tipped over, etc.)

So maybe I was the only one not doing this?!  On the chance that others were unaware of the fun too, know that if you have a little green food coloring for the toilet and milk (consider whether you really want to tint a whole gallon, since the kids may not drink it!), or a little extra glitter (I don’t have a glitter stash, but we have plenty of preschool artwork that we can scrape a little off of), consider letting the leprechauns leave some surprises for the family tonight, in preparation for a giggly St. Patrick’s Day morning tomorrow.  It really is lots of fun!

And – for those who really want to go crazy – know that Ella’s homework last weekend was to make a leprechaun trap, which her teacher will use today to try to catch a leprechaun at school.  (S made one too…it was too much fun to let big sister do alone.)  So at our house, while we won’t trap any, we are going to set up them up as houses for the leprechauns to play in.  Here they are, E’s made out of the box the garbage bags came in…

complete with a garden path, a chimney, and a green trampoline and with these words written on the back "Dr al Lcs You wl hv a good hose. Love, E" which translates "Dear all Leprechauns, You will have a good house. Love, E"

And S’ made out of a shoebox…

A house in S' favorite color - pink - covered in roses and feathers with a pudding box chimney, a blue pool and several toilets. By the way, it was actually S' idea to accessorize the houses. We discovered her raiding the recycling bin to find bottle tops to use as toilets. She also asked for the empty blue paint bottle (which I had previously cut in half to get the last bit of paint out), telling us it would be a perfect pool in case leprechauns wanted to swim. This sparked E’s imagination and soon she was making trampolines for them to jump on, etc.)

St. Patrick’s Day…what an opportunity for fun!

(And if I posted this too late for anyone…my apologies…but unless your kids are really calendar savvy, you could probably do it a few days later and have just as much fun?!)

OK, I won’t send the photo…but I’m going to have it in my backpack during the next teacher conference (you know, just in case…)

I volunteered in E’s class today, helping the Kindergarteners during their “writer’s workshop”.

In a variation from my normal volunteer routine, I was instructed “not to help E” during the first half of the class, as she was completing “an important writing assessment”.

I was able, however, to catch a glimpse of her work and overhear part of her conversation with the teacher as I helped a few other kids.

E’s assignment was to write and illustrate two sentences about a real-life event.

Of course, E wrote (in her Kindergarten phonics), that just last week her sister rode on a swing that did loops around a clock in a big mouse’s house.

And then she drew exactly that in the space designated for the illustration.

I have decided NOT send the teacher this picture (of E’s sister, taken at Chuck-E-Cheese, exactly one week ago this evening…not pictured: the mouse mascot…).

I think sending it (while intended to convince the teacher that E does have a grasp of reality), might have the opposite effect of convincing her the whole family is nuts!

A valid excuse?

My husband was out of town Wednesday through Friday of last week, which meant after a fun but tiring stretch of Valentine and Birthday celebrations, I was on tap to load up all three kids every morning to drop E off at school.  To get her there on time, everyone needed to be in the car by 7:30am.   This is generally not a huge deal, since T – my human alarm clock – always gives me a head start by waking up at 5am.

Well, this week, on my husband’s first day out of town, my alarm didn’t go off quite that early.

In fact, when the morning light first hit my bedroom, I rolled over and looked at the quiet monitors (all kids still sleeping!) and then at the clock (Egads, T!  It’s 7am!)

At that point, my choices were:

(1) panic, wake up all the kids (I want you to pause here and appreciate that statement:  I would have to wake up all the kids), prep E, get everyone in the car and sprint to the elementary school in my pajamas, or

(2) recognize that we were all exhausted from the festivities, stretch, roll over and go back to sleep.

Choosing option 2 would mean writing a note later that said,

“Today, for the first time in the history of our family, E and her siblings all slept past 7am.  I decided there had to be a rule somewhere about NOT waking my 5, 4, & 1 year old during their “once-every-five-year-simultaneous-post-sunrise-slumber” that trumped any rule about being late to Kindergarten.  Please excuse her tardy.  Or don’t.  Honestly, I am so happily well-rested that I don’t really care.”

Unfortunately, I did not have my wits about me (so startled was I that my children had suddenly discovered sleeping), so it didn’t occur to me that option 2 even existed until I had already awakened, prepped and loaded the children in a frenzy of chaos.

But should the stars align twice, that note is ready.  I am a former teacher, and appreciate the need to get kids in their classrooms.  But I also appreciate the rarity of all my kids being in their beds past sunrise.

How bad is it that I really wished, on that rare morning when we all needed it (especially mama), I had just let everyone sleep in?!

Happy Chinese New Year, indeed

E’s class celebrated the Chinese New Year recently by learning about Chinese culture and eating a Chinese lunch.   Dessert was a fortune cookie for each child.

So tell me…

…if your oldest (and one of the beneficiaries on your life insurance policy) came home with this fortune in her backpack, wouldn’t you be just the slightest bit disturbed?

In case you have trouble seeing the image, it says "You will inherit a large sum of money" and has creepy smiley faces on it.

(At first I was comforted by the fact that we don’t actually have “a large sum of money” for her to inherit, but then I remembered about the life insurance and was reminded that to E, “a large sum of money” is anything more than a penny.  Ah, the joys of being 5 and alive.)

Happy Chinese New Year, indeed.

Would this be considered “overthinking the question”?

E: “Mom, can I get earrings?  Not the sticker kind, but the real kind – the ones that stay in your ears?”

[Mom’s internal response (i.e. not out loud): What?!  You’re only FIVE!  Why do you want to grow up so fast?  You’re already growing up too fast as it is!  I didn’t get earrings until I was TWELVE.  Wait. Why am I thinking about me?  I was the last one in my class to get earrings.  There’s nothing wrong with earrings.  I mean, lots of people get earrings for their babies.  They probably think of earrings the way I think of nail polish, something that’s pretty and sparkly and fun to do with their kids.  You love nail polish!  I don’t wear it, but you picked it out on a stranger in the mall when you were barely walking by pointing at her red toenails, looking at me with wide-eyes and saying simply, “Mama! Ooooohhh…That!”  I’ve pedicured your tiny toes every time you’ve asked since then.  We love those pedicures.  Such good girl fun for us.  We could love earrings.  Why should I really care if you want earrings anyway?  So what?!  We could make a mommy-daughter thing of it.  Wait, what am I saying?  No, we can’t.  I have to make some of the fun things grown up pre-teen things, so that you can look forward to doing those things when you’re twelve, and can feel sort of grown up when you do them.  Otherwise, you’re going to want to do or wear other things to make yourself feel grown-up when you’re twelve, and – well, that just isn’t a good idea.  I need to make earrings a fun target, so you don’t start focusing on something else when you’re – heaven help me – a pre-teen.  I taught eighth grade!  I know what’s happening!  Not that I judge anyone who does earrings earlier, mind you.  I really don’t!  I know you have lots of friends that have them.  But their parents are probably more creative, and can come up with other fun things for them to look forward to as a pre-teen.  Maybe I should talk to those parents and get some ideas…but in the meantime, I mean what am I saying here…I’m saying no!  NO, NO EARRINGS!  You’re supposed to still look like a newborn, with your big hazel eyes and your curly dark hair and your wrinkly pink skin.  I cried when they pricked your toe to get a blood sample for a routine newborn screening, and now I’m supposed to watch them hold an earring-gun to your head?  Did I mention that you are only FIVE?  We have to start homeschooling.  What are you being exposed to?  Why on earth would you even ask a question like that? ]

Mom’s external response (i.e. the one E heard):  “Um, earrings?”

E: “Yeah, well, someone at school got them, and I liked them.  But then someone else said when you get them, it hurts.  You know, if it hurts at all, I really don’t want them . . .  I don’t have to get them, do I mom?!

Mom: No, E.  You don’t have to get them.

And that was the whole conversation.  Believe it or not – including “um”, I spoke only 10 words. 

Ready for the world

S’ preschool teacher sent this picture of S (on the right) and a friend via e-mail with the subject heading “ready for the world”.

I agree with her assessment.

Of course, it does beg the question…

Do you think the world is ready for them?