October 18, 2017 – Problem Solved

*Isobel is in first grade. In class, the kids sit grouped together by fours and fives- there is one girl at Is’s table who, sometimes, just isn’t that nice. Today, Is reported that this girl grabbed a boy’s math work and threw it on the floor. Then she turned and said to Is, “Why are you always staring at people?”*

“Mommy, she always says I’m staring at her.”
“Are you?”
“No, I’m just looking around.”
“Okay, did it bother you that she said that?”
“Well, yes.”
“Huh. Well, you could really, really stare at her, like this…” And I stare at Isobel, really hard, and when she starts to smile, I turn my head a little, but don’t smile back, kinda creepy-like.
“But, Mom, that’s not how we do things now.”
“Oh?”
“No, when there’s a problem, we don’t just do something back to someone. Like when you were in school. Like in old times.”
“Huh. Like old times.”
“Yeah. It’s much gentler now.”
“It sounds like it. That’s nice. Okay, so what do you do now? How would you handle it?”
“I already told her I’m not staring at her.”
“Good! That should do it, right?”
“I’m not sure… she says it all the time.”
“Huh. Well, what else can you do?”
“Well, I don’t want to get clipped down, so I could just tell the teacher.”
“That seems like a good idea. Will you do that the next time she bothers you?”
“Yeah! Thanks for solving all my problems!”
“You really solved your problem, Is, if you think about it.”

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October 11, 2017, with ninjas

*We’re talking about family at dinner, and Isobel asks if there are people in the family she hasn’t yet met. Among others, I mention a cousin who lives in Japan. He’s an artist, does amazing cut paper work, and is also a new father. I jump up and pull a magnet off the fridge- it’s a picture of one of his pieces- a slinky black rabbit in motion, paper curling like smoky ribbons around his body. Is is impressed.*

“Mom, so, my cousin is an artist?”
“Well, he’s my first cousin, and so he’s your first cousin, once removed. And yes, he’s a professional artist.”

*Her eyes get big, and I can almost smell her thinking.*

“Mom. Wow.”
“I know! He’s amazing. He does all this work by hand. Pretty cool, eh?”
“It’s very cool! Hey, is he a ninja?”
“What?”
“A ninja. Because he lives in Japan.”

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July 20, Lunchtime

*Isobel is watching Wile E. Coyote cartoons on her iPad during lunch today, and I mention to her that he was my very favorite of all the Bugs Bunny characters- it was always such a treat for me when the Coyote and Road Runner cartoons came on, since you never knew exactly what would be shown during the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies show on Saturday mornings when I was a kid. Especially since they were only on once a week… Anyway, we were talking about Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner when…*

“Mommy, who would you vote for, Coyote or Road Runner?”
“What, you mean to win?”
“Yeah.”
“Well, I’d vote for the Coyote.”
“What, why? I’d vote for the Road Runner!”
“But the Road Runner always wins. And everybody votes for the Road Runner. So I want Wile E. Coyote to win. He’s my favorite, anyway.”

*Is thinks about this for a minute. And then she nails me with her impeccable logic.*

“But, he wants to EAT the Road Runner.”
“Yes.”
“But if Wile E. Coyote wins, he would be the only character left.”
“Huh. I guess you’re right. I never thought about it that way before.”
“That wouldn’t be any fun, Mom.”
“You got me there, kid.”

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