Chart Number 188

October 9, 2015

By Ekta R. Garg

Enjoy these Spurts from the last two weeks, readers!

The other day as we came home from an after-school activity, the kids and I chatted while the radio played in the background. Conversation wound to a natural stopping point, and the music on the radio took a break to go into a series of ads. One espoused the wonders of some product that would help fight the “signs of aging.”

“I’m too young to be looking for the signs of aging,” she retorted to the radio.

I had to laugh at that. A moment I started laughing harder when Seven said, “Me too. I’m way too young.”

Can I join the “too young” club? Me too. No signs of aging here.

***

In Seven’s second grade class the kids earn stickers for a variety of tasks completed. These stickers, in turn, get saved in a passport book, and on certain days throughout the year the kids have the opportunity to “spend” their stickers in the sticker store that gets set up in their classroom. The kids also have the opportunity to save their stickers until the mega sale at the end of the year.

The day before the first sticker sale of the year Seven and I talked about the sale. I reminded her that she didn’t have to buy anything just to buy it.

“I’m not going to use my stickers if it’s just a silly pencil or a ring,” she said, reassuring me. “Those things are babyish.”

I smiled but didn’t say anything. I wanted to give her the opportunity to make the decision on her own about whether she would end up spending any stickers. The next day when she came running out of school at pickup time with a stuffed snake, I knew what decision she made.

The snake went with Seven everywhere for the next few days. This past Wednesday she brought the green thing into the car as we drove to dance class. She and Nine had gotten into the car in a giggly mood, and when Seven began tossing the snake in high arcs across the car the giggling continued.

At one point she started giggling so hard that she bent half over her seat. When I drive I’m always cognizant of safety, and I try to stress that for the kids. I don’t mind if they laugh and have fun, but after Seven bent over the third or fourth time I decided to remind her to stay upright in her seat.

Unfortunately my tongue got tied halfway through my reminder.

“[Seven], thr—sit up straight,” I said.

Nine, my ever attentive child, started laughing hard. “[Seven], throw up straight.”

Then she began making vomiting sounds.

“‘Mamma, it isn’t coming out straight,’” she said in a high, squeaky voice. “‘Try it this way,’” she went on, adding the other half of the conversation on her own. “‘But it’s coming out sideways,’” she said. “‘Try it again,’” she answered herself.

Seven’s giggling just got louder and harder.

***

Yesterday as we drove home from school, Nine piped up.

“We had an incident at P.E. today.”

“What happened?” Seven and I asked.

“Well, I was laughing at something that X. said, and G. thought I was laughing at him, and he came over and kicked me on the leg.”

I bristled. Nine had a little bit of trouble last year when he used profanity against her. At that time I sent an email to the teacher to let her know what was going on. I usually don’t get involved with the kids’ disagreements outside of the house, but in that case I felt my involvement was warranted.

Despite the history with G., though, I didn’t want to get involved in this right away. Instead I asked Nine if she told the teacher. She did, she said, and I reassured her that she did the right thing.

“And if G. ever does this again, you go right back and tell the teacher again and then ask him if he’d like someone to treat his sister like that. He has a little sister; ask him if he’d like someone to do the things to her that he’s doing to you.”

“Okay.”

“What is wrong with G.?” Seven asked in dramatic fashion. “He’s totally lost it.”

None of us said anything, but then my diplomat had to speak up and balance the issue.

“No offense, Mamma,” Seven said, “but it sounds like you’re getting into G.’s business.”

“If someone’s hurting my kids, it is my business,” I said right away.

“Oh,” Seven replied. “Okay.”

Yeah. I don’t like to swoop in on every single problem, but I want my kids to know I’m always here. No questions. No exceptions.

***

One of the newest elements in Seven’s world is using iPads at school. She and her classmates get to use them to play a math game called Prodigy, and Seven has fallen in love with the iPad.

“I got to use my iPad,” she’ll tell us with glee. “It’s so much fun using my iPad.”

On Tuesday she talked yet again about the iPad, her voice brimming with excitement, and she said, “Now I know why you don’t want us to play video games at home.”

“Are you addicted to the iPad?” Nine asked.

“Yes,” Seven said. Then she added. “Actually, I don’t know what addicted means, so I don’t know.”

“It means you think about that thing all the time, and you can’t stay away from it, and you have to be with it and use it all the time,” I explained.

I know, I know, I could have gone for the easy way out and given them a softer explanation, but these kids are reading middle grade and (in some cases) young adult fiction. I’d rather offer them simplified definitions of the word that actually define the word instead of just make something up.

“Well, okay, I’m not addicted to the iPad,” Seven said, “but it is fun.”

Glad we got all that straightened out.

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