Anyone with a child in school knows that the question “what did you do at school today?” can lead anywhere, or more likely, nowhere. It’s a tough question to ask. As parents we want to know what our kids do all day, but we usually get “nothing” or “I don’t remember” in response. Other times, we get quite the story…
Things were not pretty between me and Little Man after school the other day. When I picked him up from my friend’s house after work he was mad that I had come so early (I had actually run some errands and picked him up late, per his request) because he wasn’t “finished” playing Skylanders. In the morning he had specifically told me to go get my nails done “or something” after work so I wouldn’t be interrupting his time to play without any of the other kids around. When I showed up to get him (late) a tantrum ensued and I never got to ask him what he had done at school that day. By the time he was calm enough to talk to it was time to go outside and wait for his sister to get off the bus from school. From there they had after school snacks, they played, watched a little TV, and then played some more. It wasn’t until dinner time that the topic of school came up.
Big Man wasn’t at home because he had class and Ladybug had been dominating the conversation through most of dinner. When she was finally finished chatting she asked to be excused to go do her homework. It wasn’t until Little Man had me all to himself that things really got going.
LM: Mom, do we reuse plastic bags?
Me: Like plastic shopping bags? Sure, buddy, that’s why we save them in the closet. Why?
LM: Plastic bags are bad for monkeys.
Me: Really? Hmmm. How are plastic bags bad for monkey?
LM: Well, monkeys could eat the plastic bags, but they aren’t plastic bag eaters. They would get sick.
Me: Oh, I see. Where would the monkeys get the plastic bags? Why would they try to eat them if they aren’t plastic bag eaters?
LM: I don’t know. I think they would find the plastic bags and try to eat them. They’re just monkeys you know. They don’t know any better.
LM: The lady told us. She had a monkey with her. He had a diaper on. And he was rubbing his snacks in the lady’s hair.
Me: Oh, ok. What kind of snacks did he have? Plastic bags?
LM: Mo-om! No! He had tomatoes. Other animals could get sick if they ate plastic bags, too. Like sea creatures.
Me: What kind of sea creatures could eat plastic bags?
LM: Any kind. Well, but we only care about the sea creatures that are gentle. Like seals and sea lions and sharks that are more gentle than Great Whites.
Me: Don’t we care about all sea creatures? Great Whites too?
LM: Well, Great Whites aren’t very gentle, you know.
Me: Did the lady tell you that?
LM: No. I thought of that myself. The lady mostly talked to us about monkeys. Why they have long tails and why they are brown. And she let us ask questions about monkeys.
Me: Why do they have long tails? Why are they brown?
LM: The monkeys have long tails to hang on to the trees and they are brown so that they blend in with the trees so predators can’t find them.
(It finally sounds like something factual may actually have been learned.)
Me: Wow. You learned a lot today. What kind of questions did you guys ask?
LM: We mostly asked about why the monkey was wearing a diaper.
(Clearly, I was wrong.)
I have no idea who the lady was, if she was talking about animals, or if she was talking about recycling. I’m hoping there’s a notice around here somewhere that I forgot to read that might clear the situation up a bit for me. Ladybug was not at the same assembly. Apparently, it was only for kindergarteners. Sometimes I don’t know why I ask…
Note: The next day a friend whose son is in Little Man’s kindergarten class came over. He had not mentioned the monkey assembly to his mother, but when questioned, was also focused on the plastic bags, and the diaper.