The One Hundred-and-Forty-Eighth Chart (Spurts)

November 21, 2014

By Ekta R. Garg

Enjoy these Spurts from the last two weeks, readers!

When we went to see the movie The Box Trolls, both kids found themselves charmed by the trolls and the boxes they wore. We especially got tickled when we realized the trolls got their names from the picture of the item on the box. So the trolls name the main character Eggs.

We came home and Eight decided to draw her own box troll. She named her troll Olives. She did a pretty good job too.

At some point, and I still don’t know how this happened, Six’s friends found out about Eight’s troll. When Eight went to Six’s school for the annual Diwali dinner, she sat with Six and the other first graders to eat pizza with them. I didn’t this at the time, but apparently when Eight sat down all of Six’s friends began chanting, “Olives! Olives!”

Earlier this week after I dropped Six at school and we turned the car in the direction of Eight’s school, something made her think of lunch that day.

“They kept saying ‘olives’, ‘olives’,” she said. “Great Scott, it was so annoying.”

Great Scott?? Okay, just where does this child get this stuff?

***

We monitor the girls’ sugar and fat intake pretty carefully, and we also teach them to think about what they’re eating before it goes into their mouths. It’s part of a larger philosophy of helping them understand that food affects our bodies in a variety of ways, that it’s not just about the taste.

Of course, we can’t be with them every minute of every day. When they attend a birthday party, many times we’re not with them. So we want them to use their best judgment, and we always ask after the party what they ate.

The kids have also gotten into the habit of telling us when someone celebrates a birthday at school and what they ate from the treats the birthday child brings. Usually the girls tell us the day of the party. Occasionally, though, they might forget.

On Wednesday Six came to me.

“Mamma, I’m really sorry, but when it was A.’s birthday we had treats and I didn’t know it was an ice cream sandwich and I ate both cookies.”

I smiled. “It’s okay. Thank you for telling me now.”

“The cookies had M&Ms in them,” she said, putting her hands on her hips, almost challenging me to get upset with her.

“It’s okay,” I repeated. “I appreciate you telling me about it. Was this today?”

“Oh, no,” she said, shaking her head. “This was months ago.”

Guilt ridden much?

***

With combined classes in her school, Six and her friends from last year have had many opportunities to share their knowledge of the classroom with the kindergartners this year. At the start of the school year we teased Six about her position as one of the “big kids” in the class. She didn’t fully grasp what we meant, but as the school year progresses she can understand the difference now between her and the kids new to the idea of school this year.

She’s mentioned more than once that the kindergartners are “so tiny!” Which I find ironic, considering she was a kindergartner herself about six months ago. She got into the car after school the other day pretty chipper.

“I like being a first grader,” she said. “Ms. C. and Ms. K. treat us like older kids. Like we’re middle schoolers or something.”

Okay, how can I convince this child that I’m not ready for her to even think about middle school yet, let alone be one?

***

The other day as we drove home from school Six announced, “I have a problem with my friends.”

My heart fluttered for a moment. “What is it?”

“They all want to play with me!” she exclaimed, frustrated. “It’s so hard because I don’t want to leave anyone out, but I don’t know what to do.”

I hid a smile, easy to do because we were still in the car and Six sits directly behind me in the car.

“Well, maybe you could play with a few friends one day and then play with others the next day,” I suggested.

“I tried to do that,” she said. “It doesn’t work.”

“It’s because you’re popular,” Eight said sagely.

“What does that mean?”

“It means that everyone decided, without even speaking about it, that you’re popular,” Eight said. “Don’t worry, I’m popular too.”

Well, I’m glad that we’ve got that all sorted out. I had no idea I had become chauffeur for the elementary school elite. Does that mean I get to sit at the cool kids’ table at lunch tomorrow?

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