Secret Lives of Kindergartners

“Tell me another story, Joey!” cried the middle sister as we sat outside in the evening air. The oldest was inside watching a movie and playing on her phone. I think she’s gotten to an age where it’s not cool to be seen with her lame aunt.

Once I get started with a story about something funny that happened to me, or sometimes about something that irritated me, the middle one always wants to hear more. I think it’s in the way I tell it, because the stories themselves are not so interesting, but I inject a little enthusiasm along with my afterthoughts on the situations that make the little ones laugh like crazy. Bear in mind, most people probably wouldn’t find my stories funny and would quickly tune me out, but the little ones think they’re hilarious. So I began to tell another story, and in between breaths, the little one kept popping up with her own stories. The older one was upset because she wanted to hear more Joey stories and kept trying to shush her little sister. But we listened to one of her stories and for a moment, I thought, Wow, I don’t remember anything like that happening when I was in Kindergarten! And I wondered what crazy things go on that I haven’t heard about because they don’t think enough of it to tell me. Sharing gum? Picking things off the floor and eating it? Shoving things in their noses? I wouldn’t think to tell anyone of those things, either, if it were just an everday event. Nothing special or peculiar about that stuff in the mind of a kid that age.

“And I threw my hair on the floor and everyone was looking at it saying, ‘Is that your hair?'” she said, laughing. To give a little more detail into how it actually sounded from her lips, her pronunciation of certain words is still like that of a younger child, with her “r’s” like “w’s” so that to spell it out phonetically it would be something like “hayew.” And “floor” would be “flow.”

“It’s blonde and you have blonde hayew, and I said, ‘No, no, dat’s not my hayew!'”

I can imagine the look on my own face. It was a mix of amusement and confusion. “So let me get this straight. Your threw your hair on the ground?” I know I asked a billion questions before getting the whole story.

“I was wunning my fingews thwough my hayew and some came out and I thwew it on da gwound and Alex picked it up and said, ‘Eww! Is dat yo hayew?’ and I said, ‘No, it’s not mine! It’s not mine!’ and evwyone said, ‘But it’s blonde like yo’s and I said ‘No, no, it’s not mine! It’s not mine!'” She repeatedly stressed the part about how she denied the hair was hers. And then she repeated it again. And again, each time laughing and sticking her tongue out as she tried to pronounce her words in between giggles, shaking her head with her long blonde hair tossing from side to side. There was something in the way she said it that made me laugh even harder. And made me hope she’d never grow up.

“EWWWWW! HE PICKED IT UP?!?” cried the older tot. And myself. Almost simultaneously.

We all laughed. It was a mix of pure hilarity, horrified disgust, and sympathy over the poor tyke’s embarrassing situation. Sure, she might only be in Kindergarten, but I thought for a moment how many times I had found myself in a situation like that, and if I would have pulled it off with the “grace” and assertion of that little Kindergartner.