Category Archives: Kids

Can You Kill It?

Since moving to the burbs, we’ve had issues with house flies, mainly because we are super bad at remembering to close the kitchen sliding door that leads to the deck. So naturally, we invested in a fly-swatter bulk pack (family style!) and are constantly running around the kitchen chasing flies, killing them, and then congratulating ourselves with a celebratory dance and a screamy notification to the whole house that “I KILLED THAT FUCKER!”

Nora watches all of this.

We really gotta start remembering that she’s there (for this reason and also, just like, in general.)

Because naturally, seeing this ritual in action then led her to believe that house flies are very scary and dangerous (necessitating the brutal killings and professionally choreographed victory dances). Therefore, whenever she’d see one, she’d scream, run away terrified, and yell “Mama, can you kill it?!!!”

It took some explaining to get her to see that flies are not dangerous and will not hurt her, so she doesn’t have to be afraid. Luckily, Nora is pretty smart for an almost-2-year-old, and before long, with some patience and gentle encouragement from me, she was able to see that house flies are not dangerous, they’re just annoying. Armed with this explanation, she was no longer terrified of them and started to say “Is ok, fly don’t hurt, is just annoying, Mama” whenever she’d spot one. She’d then waddle over to the table, grab the fly-swatter, and hand it over to me like the dutiful little partner-in-crime she is.

Yes, I will gladly accept my bouquet of parenting trophies.

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Flash forward a few days. Nora and I are on the deck.

Nora: “Mama, what’s dat sound?”

Me: “That’s Uncle Jeremy blasting music in the kitchen.”

Nora: “Why he so loud, Mama?”

Me: “You’re right, he IS being loud. But that’s ok. It’s no big deal, it’s just a little annoying.”

Nora: “Mama?”

Me: “Yes?”

Nora: (hands me fly-swatter) “Can you kill him?”

So no lesson is perfect.

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No. I’m Clearly Not.

Tutoring session with a 5th grader…

Me: “Hey bud! What’s up?”

Kid: “I’m hanging on by a thread.”

Me: “Oh, man. I’m sorry to hear that. But you know what? I think everyone’s hanging on by a thread these days. I know I certainly am. It’s just becoming too much, you know? Waking up every morning and every day is pretty much the same, with very little to do to get our minds off the problems in the world right now. It certainly creates feelings of anxiety, wondering when and if any of this is ever going to get better. But just know you’re not alone in those feelings.”

Kid: “Wait what? I said I’m hanging out with Fred. My cat, Fred.”

Me: “Oh!”

(awkward silence)

Kid: “Are you ok?”

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Modern Math

Math session with a 1st grader…

Me: “Ok, so we’re going to do some fun math problems today, all involving ducks! Because I know how much you love birds. The questions are going to start off super easy, but they build off each other and become more challenging as we go.”

Kid: “Ok.”

Me: “So first question– there are three ducks. Each duck is 1 foot in length. If the three ducks go swimming together in a line, beak to tail, how long is the duck-line?”

Kid: “Wait, so each duck is ONE foot long?”

Me: “Yes.”

Kid: “And there are THREE of them?”

Me: “Yes.”

Kid: “Ok let me think.” (starts whisper counting to himself, goes way past 3)

Me: “Woah woah, you’re already counting too high. There are only THREE ducks.”

Kid: “I know I know…” (keeps counting, now silently, but keeping track on fingers)

Me: “This is supposed to the super-easy first problem, it doesn’t really require finger counting.”

Kid: “I’ve almost got it, hold on.”

Me: “Ok I’m trying to help you but you’re not listen—”

Kid: “Shh shhh wait let me finish.”

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Kid (finally): “15! The answer is 15 feet.” (crosses arms, super proud of self)

Me: “What? No. Not even close. There are only 3 ducks and they are each ONE foot!”

Kid: “Yeah but you gotta have 6 feet between each duck or they’ll all get corona.”

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Don’t Worry, I Have a Plan

Friend: “So what’s your plan if school doesn’t open in the fall?”

Me: “Oh, don’t worry, we have like a million back-up plans for Nora’s schooling because yeah, the school we signed her up for already said it might not open. And they sent us a list of all these possible scenarios if they DO open, most of which involve distance learning, which would be pretty useless for her age. So we’ve totally thought this through and researched all these other schools so that we’re prepared and don’t end up getting screwed.  We really like [School #2] and they seem ready to open safely. And [School #3] will definitely have spots open should we wait until the last minute, because we’re hesitant to put a deposit down now for something that might become distance learning. And there’s this other school, [School #4], that’s smaller and lesser-known but actually seems pretty great so bottom line she’ll have lots of options, and we’ll be fine with wherever she goes, plus she’s at the age where we’re not worried about if she’s in like a top program or anything like that, you know? So regardless it’ll be fine, and I know she’ll love wherever she is because she’s super social and energetic so she’ll just be happy to finally get out of the house and be around other kids and added bonus I REALLY need the break!”

Friend: “No, that’s not what I meant. I meant what’s your plan if NO schools open in the fall?”

Me: “Oooooh! Oh oh oh oh.”

(pause)

Me: “Kill myself.”

 

 

Plus That

Today I was in a tutoring session with a 6th grader who I have always considered to be very mature for her age. She’s always aware of the latest current events and it seems her parents don’t try to censor the content she consumes online. Just last week we had a very in-depth conversation about George Floyd (she’s horrified and heartbroken) and Trump’s handling of the coronavirus (she’s disgusted).

As a teacher, I of course don’t play favorites, so needless to say she’s my favorite.

Anyway, given her maturity and general awareness of horrible shit in the world, I was surprised when, given an assignment to invite 4 famous people (past or present) to dinner and write the dialogue that would ensue, she immediately chose Michael Jackson as her first guest.

Me (treading lightly): “Oh. That’s, umm…an interesting choice.”

Kid: “Yeah I mean he’s a LEGEND. And a musical genius. I bet he’d have a LOT of interesting stuff to say. He’s like one of the most successful and best-selling artists ever!”

Me (realizing she is clearly unaware of the controversy surrounding him): “Well…I can’t really argue with that. So ok, Michael Jackson. Who else would you choose?”

Kid: “Barack Obama, Malala, Greta Thunberg, and Martin Luther King Jr.”

Me: “Oh! I love those choices! But remember you can only have four guests total.”

Kid: “Ok, I guess then get rid of Michael Jackson.”

Me (relieved): “I agree.”

Kid: “He doesn’t really fit in with the rest of my choices. Like, he’s not a hero or an activist or anything.”

Me: “Right. Exactly. I was thinking the same thing.”

Kid: “Yeah.”

(Silence)

Kid: “Plus he raped all those kids.”

 

And Then I Paid HER For the Session

During a tutoring session with a 2nd grader…

Me (after we read a story about a man who wasted his wishes on material things, and ended up with nothing): “And so if you had one wish, what would it be?”

Kid (thinks long and hard; seems indecisive): “I guess….a red sno-cone. That’s my favorite.”

Me (disappointed): “Really? You looked like you were deciding between that and something else. Something a little more meaningful, maybe….?”

Kid: “Well, I was going to say I’d wish for the world to be a better place.”

Me: “YES!!!! YES YES YES. I love that. Now THAT is a beautiful, powerful, meaningful wish. Why didn’t you choose that one?!”

Kid: “Because you can’t wish for that.”

Me: (confused)

Kid: “You have to DO that. You can’t just wish for it, you have to DO it.”

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My Spies Are Everywhere

When I take Nora to the kiddie gym, she insists on using the water fountain and is somewhat obsessed with it. Early on I had to implement a rule that she can have one sip before class and one sip after class (#thisismylifenow imgres-2). She’s been shockingly very compliant until today, when suddenly she whined, flailed, and resisted all my attempts to remove her from the fountain…

Me: “Nora, no. We take ONE sip. You know the rule.”
Random Nanny (sitting by fountain, without looking up from her newspaper): “I think maybe she is confused about the rule.”
Me: “It’s been the rule for months, I’ve been very consistent. I don’t know why she’d suddenly be confused.”
Random Nanny: “Because yesterday she was at the fountain for a VERY long time, until her whole outfit was soaked with water.”
Me: “Wait, what?”
Random Nanny: “SOAKED I tell you. Water EVERYwhere.”
Me: “No no, you’re mistaken– I wasn’t even here yesterday!”
Random Nanny: “Yes but Nora was. With your husband.”

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