Latest Spurt: Pots and pans and adverbs, oh my!

April 21, 2017

By Ekta R. Garg

Enjoy these Spurts from the last two weeks, readers!

Last week, Eight got some terrible news: at the end of the school year, her teacher will move to North Carolina.

Eight loves her teacher. She had the same teacher for second grade, and when she found out Mrs. B. was looping up to third grade Eight was ecstatic. (So, by the way, was Mrs. B. The two are in a mutual admiration society.) Consequently, when Eight heard last week that the teacher she adores will no longer be around school, she had a meltdown.

Never mind that the child is moving up to the fourth grade next year and wouldn’t have had the same teacher anyway.

I wasn’t at school when Mrs. B. broke the news to the class, but she emailed me about it before the end of the day. Apparently Eight cried hard for several minutes, along with some of the other kids. Later at recess, however, they all rallied when Eight suggested a going-away party for Mrs. B. Within minutes they’d formed several committees, including decorations, whose house would host the party, and who would jump out and yell “surprise” first.

By the time Eight came home, she seemed pretty chipper. She surprised me, actually, because I’d expected her to get in the car still in tears and sniffling. But she hopped in brimming with ideas instead of tears.

Her good mood didn’t last long; later in the day she wilted like a tulip in late spring. As much as I wanted her positive mood to last, I also had a hunch when she first got home that it wouldn’t. When she declared that evening that this summer would be the worst of her life, I almost nodded in acknowledgment.

Kids, if nothing else, are predictable.

(Note: Be sure to come back next week for more on this whole issue in an expanded Chart.)


On Monday the kids went into the basement to play, and they jumped into one of their impromptu games where they narrate the game as they move through it. I sat nearby listening with half an ear as I finished editing the book of one of my favorite writing clients. When the kids were younger and used to narrate their games, I would listen to them but as they’ve gotten older they haven’t done as much game narration. I’ve almost gotten out of the habit of listening to them because, honestly, most of the time the narrations are just downright silly.

My brain had kicked into high-gear editing mode as I looked for the last round of typos, so I may not have been listening to the kids’ game when they first started. Soon enough, though, my ear picked up on something coming from behind me. After several minutes, I had to turn around.

“All right, everyone,” Ten announced, sitting primly on the sofa with Eight sidling up to her. “Adverb.”

“Okay,” Eight answered in a babyish voice.

“The sprightly young—wait,” Ten said, interrupting herself with a grin, “that’s old people talk! Who says ‘sprightly’ anymore?”

The girls broke into a round of giggles. Then they composed themselves, almost at the same time, and Ten kept going.

“Quickly, young Herbert—Herbert? Who names their child ‘Herbert’ anymore? Okay, um, quickly, little baby, let’s get moving. Yes, that sounds better!”

Another round of giggles, and this time I had to smile at them. I guess, technically speaking, Ten was right. “Sprightly Herbert” does kind of sound like he lives in the past.


On Wednesday of this week, I had a minor kitchen mishap. I was home alone, so no one got hurt, but this was the kind of mishap where I had to spend several minutes scrubbing the countertops. And the cabinets. And a small section of blinds.

I have yet to make it to the ceiling.

I told the kids about it after school on Wednesday, but I gave them the short version. Yesterday morning as the kids ate breakfast, they asked more questions about the incident.

“Were you in the kitchen when the pressure cooker started spraying?” Ten asked.

“No, I was on the phone,” I said.

“How did you know what was happening?”

“Well, I could hear it,” I said. “I know my pots and pans really well and the sounds they make when something isn’t right.”

Ten sat up straight, impending drama evident on her face. “She’s the pot and pan whisperer,” she said in a whisper herself.

“She’s the pot and pan whisperer,” Eight repeated in a normal volume. “It doesn’t sound the same when you say it like that.” She dropped her own voice to a whisper. “She’s the pot and pan whisperer.”

“Yeah, definitely sounds better like that,” Ten said in her own normal voice.

Well, I’m glad I finally found out where my destiny has brought me. Who knew I had such talents on hand? Most people want to be rich and famous when they grow up.

I’ve become the pot and pan whisperer.




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