Latest Spurts: A full moon and channeling Katniss

May 12, 2017

By Ekta R. Garg

Enjoy these Spurts from the last two weeks, readers!

Eight has finally come around to the idea that her teacher will leave school. That is, she’s no longer stomping around the house and greeting me with whimpers when I go to say good night to her because “everything” in her life is “totally confusing and moving too fast.”

After we talked a few weeks ago in my studio, the two of us scrunched together on my super comfy chair, Eight started to calm down. She stopped acting out as much, and she stopped pointing out the negative in absolutely everything. The most tangible proof of her about-face came last week, however, during Teacher Appreciation Week.

The head of the school sent out an email reminding all parents about the variety of opportunities during the week. One of these opportunities was encouraging our kids to write notes to their teachers. The school manager would collect the notes, organize them, and then present them to the teachers when the week ended.

We had some free time early in the week, so I encouraged the kids to write their notes. Both of them ambled away, and within 15 minutes Eight came back. She handed me her note to Mrs. B. and scampered off again.

I expected the run-of-the-mill “Thank you for being an awesome teacher; I love you” kind of message. Instead I got, in part, the following, parentheses and all:

“Don’t feel guilty leaving… I (knowing you) assure you that you’ll have a future brighter than the full moon on a pitch-black night. You had a different destiny.”

A future brighter than the full moon on a pitch-black night.

Is it considered legally actionable plagiarism if I steal from my own daughter? Wouldn’t I be able to make the case that because I gave birth to her and she has 50 percent my genes and I write for my profession that I’m technically responsible for, and part owner of, any freakishly awesome combination of words she creates creative endeavors?

I truly do not know where these children came from.


Ten isn’t the most athletically inclined child. That is to say, if she tried really hard she could probably be good at sports. But she’s not enamored with the idea of chasing a ball/hitting a ball/doing laps-sprints-really long distances for fun.

Weirdly enough, though, this child really enjoys archery. She’s way too young to read The Hunger Games, but I keep wanting to call her Katniss. And telling her that the odds will most likely be better for her than they ever were for Gale.

The latest offering in P.E., then, really got Ten excited when they spent every P.E. session for a week shooting arrows at targets. On the second day of archery P.E., Ten got into the car and couldn’t help bragging—just a little—that she got close to the bull’s-eye.

“I was the only one who got it that close so many times!” she said, the grin on her face more telling than her words.

“You rule archery, Di-Di!” Eight exclaimed. “You’re the queen!”

I don’t think Katniss ever became queen of Panem, but, hey, it could happen here, right?


Last week Central Illinois got buckets of rain. The kind that makes you forget what the sun looks like. The kind that leaves fields with huge pockets of standing water days later.

Fortunately the rate of rainfall ebbed and flowed a little bit, so we weren’t completely drenched as we moved through the week and from one activity to the next. On Wednesday as we left dance class and went to the car the rain fell in disinterested drips, just below a drizzle. I had folded my umbrella but still pulled my hood over my head, and Eight did the same.

Which, of course, prompted a discussion several minutes long about whether hoods were really necessary and how much we enjoyed wearing them.

“I just don’t like it,” Ten said. “I know some people think it looks dope, but I don’t feel comfortable with it on my head.”

Dope. Right. That’s exactly what I go for when I pull the hood over my head. Has nothing to do with having naturally curly hair and knowing that any amount of moisture that doesn’t come from a shower will create an unwanted crown of hair that no amount of product will control.


From the time that Eight found out Mrs. B. is leaving, she’s been in high gear party-planning mode. If I have to be perfectly honest—and I think Growth Chart is a place where unvarnished honesty belongs—I didn’t even believe the party was real for the first 10 days or so when Eight mentioned it. I really thought she and her friends were playing some elaborate game that was just getting more detailed and creative as time passed.

Eventually, though, when she bugged me for the second or third—or maybe twelfth—time to email the second grade teacher, Mrs. P., to discuss when and where the party was to be held, I started to get the idea that maybe this wasn’t the latest “play pretend” game doing the rounds of the third graders at school.

Apparently this party has way more moving parts than I had originally realized. According to Eight, there is already a decorating a committee, a snacks committee, entertainment (a comedy skit and other acts,) and even a person designated to be the first to jump out and yell “surprise.” The party, Eight informed me with all the sagacity of an experienced planner, would be held at our house, and the second grade teacher had concocted a plan to trick Mrs. B. into coming so she wouldn’t be suspicious at all.

I didn’t want to ruin Eight’s idea by telling her that Mrs. B. has been teaching for longer than Eight’s even been alive and would probably smell something fishy a mile off, so I just nodded in agreement.

Things got sticky in the party planning, however, when W., the student responsible for the solo comedy skit, announced his family was going on vacation soon after school ended. Now not only did I have to contact Mrs. P. about when to hold the party, I also had to contact W.’s mom to ask when they were leaving so we could have enough acts booked to keep the party attendees entertained. All of this, mind you, without a commission.

It occurred to me, then, that it might make more sense to hold the party during school before the year ended so we’d have guaranteed attendees and so the talent would have guaranteed rides. Clearly I’m due for my parenting recertification, because instead of discussing this with Mrs. P. I made the mistake, my first, of asking Eight what she thought of moving the party from early summer to the end of May. I made the second mistake of bringing it up over dinner.

Eight’s face fell, and she started voicing her disgruntlement. We got through the rest of the meal, and Eight, still making a face, got up to put her dishes away. She washed her hands, dried them off, and started walking away to get ready for bed (because, of course, I had to strike out completely with my third mistake and do this on a school night.)

As she walked away, without bothering to turn around, she called over her shoulder, “And just so you know, we are SO not done talking about this!”

Um…aren’t parents supposed to have exclusive rights to that line?


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