A Household Name

| Related | August 26, 2016

(My niece is five and about a month away from becoming a big sister. Due to both her parents having very common first names, they gave her an uncommon one and have picked out another uncommon name for my soon to be nephew as well. In the fall she will begin kindergarten, so her school sets up a two-week long summer program for the students to attend to get to know their classmates and teachers. This happens when her very pregnant mother goes to pick her up on the first day.)

Teacher: “[Niece] seems to be very outgoing. She just wanted to play with everyone. She went up to every student and introduced herself the moment she got here.”

Mom: “Yea, she does that everywhere.”

Teacher: “There was a slight incident, though… Were you planning on naming your new baby [Nephew]?”

Mom: *laughing* “Did she tell you that?”

Teacher: “Well, we have another student here with that name and when he told her that was his name they got into a little argument. I tried to explain to her that there are a lot of people in this world who share the same name but she refuses to call the other boy by his name stating that he’s not her brother.”

(Back at home, mom and dad are discussing what happened and they realise that Niece has never met two people with the same name before. They are trying to convince her that the boy’s name is actually Nephew’s Name.)

Niece: “No!” *points to mom’s belly* “That’s baby [Nephew]. He can’t be [Nephew] because he’s not baby [Nephew]!”

Mom: “They just have the same name. It doesn’t mean they’re the same person. When I was in kindergarten I had three other girls in my class named [Mom] like me. We never knew who the teacher was talking to.”

Dad: “You wouldn’t believe how many people I’ve met named [Dad]. In fact, you have a cousin named [Dad], just like me.”

Niece: “You’re not [Dad]. You’re [Nickname] and [Dad] is [Dad]!”

Mom: “You can’t argue with that logic. You know, she does always correct people when they call you [Dad].”

Dad: “Does that mean when someone calls me that she thinks they are talking to her cousin and not me?”

(They did finally get her to understand (although reluctantly) and a month later they welcomed in a healthy baby boy whom she can’t wait to introduce to her new, same named friend.)

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Doll-ing Out Some Interesting Lessons

| Learning | August 26, 2016

(Overheard while picking up my little brother from nursery:)

Boy: *snatches doll away from girl* “No! Girls can’t play with dolls! That’s sexist!”

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STOP! Reading

| Learning | August 16, 2016

(My brother learned how to read young, before starting school. This caused a bit of a stir when he started kindergarten.)

Teacher: “Now, sir, just because a child sees a red octagonal sign and says ‘Stop’ does not mean the child is reading.”

Dad: “So what’s it mean when a child sees a red and white rectangular sign and says ‘Dad, what’s a snow emergency?'”

Teacher: “Well, that doesn’t happen.”

Dad: “Okay. Son, go get one of the books from that shelf there.”

(The teacher has a shelf of her education textbooks. My brother goes and picks one.)

Teacher: “Sir, those books are going to be much too hard for him.”

Dad: “That’s okay. Go ahead, son.”

(My brother starts reading. He makes sure to read the title and author before going to chapter one. Of course, being five, who knows how much he understood what he was reading, but he was reading it. For some reason, when I started kindergarten the next year the school didn’t try to say I couldn’t read…)

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I Didn’t Planet This Way

| Learning | July 10, 2016

(It is the 90s and I’m five years old. My kindergarten teacher had just brought in a model solar system to teach us the planets. She goes over them one at a time and eventually gets to Pluto.)

Me: “Where’s Pluto?”

Teacher: “It’s this one. *points to Pluto*

Me: “That’s not a planet. Planets are big.”

Teacher: “They can be many different sizes, and they’re all much bigger in real life.”

Me: “It’s so far away from the other planets.”

Teacher: “There are lots of other planets that are nowhere near those ones.”

Me: “It looks like a moon.”

Teacher: “Well, it’s not.”

Me: “It’s in an oval instead of a circle.”

Teacher: “Those circles represent the planets’ orbits. Pluto’s orbit is stretched out, so it is represented by an oval.”

Me: “I still don’t think it’s a planet.”

Teacher: “Trust me, it is.”

(We ended up getting into a heated argument over Pluto’s status as a planet. It was similar to what most people would imagine a fight between a five-year-old and a professional adult would be like and I got sent home early. For the next few days I was insistent that Pluto wasn’t a planet and acted like a brat about it. About a decade later, my mother heard that Pluto wasn’t a planet anymore and laughed hysterically. When I asked her why, she told me this story.)

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Kids And Squids

| Learning | June 21, 2016

(My step-sister is teaching a kindergarten German class once a week, and I volunteer to help her. Note: our mothers are a couple.)

Sister: “Today we’re going to learn the German words for family members. [Student], why don’t you go and draw der Vater (the father) on the board?”

Student: “I can’t draw the father. I can only draw squid.”

(My sister and I exchange glances.)

Sister: “All right, you can draw a squid.”

(After all the children are finished drawing, we point to each drawing and have the students name them in German. Somehow, even though all the drawings look like random scribbles to me, the children know what each other’s drawings are — until we get to the squid.)

Student #2: “What’s that?”

(My sister and I realize we have an unprecedented opportunity to teach the children more than German.)

Me: “That’s a squid. You see, some families have a mother and a father.”

Students: *nod*

Sister: “…and some families have two mothers, or two fathers.”

Students: *nod*

Me: “And some families have squid!”

(And they just accepted everything we told them!)

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