MG: I don't like school so much.
Me: You don't? You don't?!? You don't like school?!?!?!? What don't you like about school?!?!?!?! [Doting, overanxious parent of an only child? Who, me?]
MG: I just don't like it.
Me: Do you like the bus? [Trick question: I know she adores the bus.]
MG: I really like the bus.
Me: Do you like Mrs. LeBec? [Another trick question: I can't imagine a child who wouldn't like Mrs. LeBec. She is the epitome of all that could ever be wonderful in a Kindergarten teacher. I've been in her classroom, it's amazing, 21 children and they all just toodle around doing what she sweetly and briskly tells them to do.]
MG: I really like Mrs. LeBec!
Me: Do you like your friends?
MG: I really like my friends. [She has friends! Besides the 2 or 3 kids who she knew already, there's one kid in her class who invited her to her birthday party a couple weeks ago, and a couple girls in a completely different class who she hangs out with at recess. "Hangs out with" is literal, by the way: I was there volunteering once at recess and there they all were, on the low parallel hanging bars, swinging their legs around and shoving each other merrily. *Sigh* I don't think I need to elaborate on how dramatically that does not resemble RW's and my elementary-school experiences]
Me: Do you like gym?
MG: I love gym! [Good grief. I'm raising an alien. But a happy alien.]
Me: Do you like computer class?
MG: Yes! Computer class is great. [I'll say. When I was there last week, their assignment was to log on, draw a pumpkin in Paint, and then save it to the class folder. Good lord, I know adults who can't do that. But they all managed, with the help of us 4 or 5 adults scurrying around from one raised hand to another. Then when they were done, they got to play on the reading program.]
Me: Do you like doing science things, like all that work you're doing with fabric? [Comparing how different fabrics feel, getting fabric dirty, washing it, examining little cotton buds, weaving, making fabric collages...]
MG: I love that!
... and so on: She likes the library, she likes doing Calendar in the morning, she likes being lunchbox monitor, and I happen to know, because she doews a little jig every time she mentions it, that she loves punching in her PIN number to buy milk in the cafeteria. I didn't even ask about the two songs her class performed at the Fall Assembly, because she sang them to us over and over, complete with hand motions, all the way to and from services Friday night, and volunteered that she was scared before they went on but she still sang along with everyone else and it was evident that she was totally thrilled and proud of herself.
Me, finally: So, what don't you like about school?
MG: Um...I don't like Spanish. [Liar! She lies! I swear she lies. She's been gleefully larding her conversation with "Buenos noches" and suchlike ever since the first week of school, like some pretentious college student just back from a summer picking coffee beans in Nicaragua.]
MG: And I don't like reading.
Me: You don't like reading?! I thought you wanted to learn to read. [The first week, they all painted big pictures of themselves with speech bubbles saying what they all wanted to learn in Kindergarten, and it's up on her bedroom wall now, coming out of her own red painted mouth, with her yellow yarn hair falling over it: "I want to learn how to read. --Mermaid Girl."]
MG: I want to learn to read books. Not just one word up on the board.
Me: Ah. Right.
Hmm. Probably I should've said something smarter about the steps via which one gets to that exalted stage of Reading Books. Another great teachable moment gone by like the wind.
The truth is, I think she doesn't like getting up so early in the morning. And in that, she is far from alone in our household. Sometimes we all three just lie there in the big bed at 7:30 or so, in companionable misery, complaining in turn about how much we wish we could go back to sleep.
Or maybe she was just yanking my chain about not liking school. Ya think?