I’ve been filling out the insanely detailed liability/permission forms for L’s summer camps.
(Seriously, folks, this isn’t a college application. He’s in SECOND GRADE. It’s SUMMER CAMP.)
There are questions about likes, dislikes, personality traits, is he an all-in kid, toe-first… I’m to answer these questions, then he’s to answer these questions, then I guess we should seek an impartial party to answer the questions, as well.
We’re nearing the finish line and there’s a section where the camp asks him to “draw or write about some of his favorite activities, hobbies, friends.” I keep checking to make sure this isn’t a dating site (“sunsets, long walks, coffee in bed”).
I sit him down and say, “okay, let’s get her done. Will you draw an activity that you like?”
Mister Sly comes up with this: (It’s L drawing L drawing… Heh heh heh.)
Dad is out of town, traveling for work. L and I swing by a local pizza joint for a to-go pie. We look up and there he is…
The Great and Powerful Oz. No, not the guy behind the curtain. The one who has a television show which, up until yesterday, I’d never seen.
The subtitles are flying by, (phonetically spelled, always a plus for a kid), and suddenly we realize this Great and Powerful Oz is talking about the dangers of eating (too much) red meat, the alarming rate of salmonella in poultry, not over-indulging in calcium…
Animated visuals are showing platelets zipping through the bloodstream like pinballs, an ominous buildup of plaque. Ultimately, we see a heart cease to beat (in cartoon, natch).
L: “Ack! I don’t think I’m going to eat red meat anymore. I barely do anyway.”
L: “Is hamburger considered red meat?”
L: “What did it say about turkey?”
L: “So milk is bad? Should I stop taking my vitamins?”
I do what any good, responsible parent would: I pull out my iPhone and command him to play.
L has been thrown off the scent.
All I can think is “The Exorcist” might have been less traumatic.
We have a mandate in our house: Always tell the truth. You will not be punished for telling the truth. There may be consequences, but telling the truth is paramount.
Okay, got that outta the way.
How about bending the truth?
I’m not proud about this, but these things that may occur in the near future:
–L’s Nerf gun may “go missing.” (A pox on them… Yeah, I’m a chick, I don’t get it.)
–L’s Hoodie, (which I wisely purchased in white and is now stained, soiled, disgusting no matter how many times I wash it) may get “lost” on laundry day.
–L’s newest pet, Tofu the Tadpole, may end up going through his metamorphosis “outside.” In a bucket. (He seems so cute now. In a few weeks he’ll be a giant, loud, jumping all over the place bullfrog. Not gonna happen.)
–The ‘Captain Underpants’ Opus may be “donated.” (They’re past tense at this point. Why not share the love?)
Walk the talk takes a pause.
Or, riding in the car with me.
After reading several reports on the state of education and feeling dismayed, I thought, I’ll go straight to the source: L.
(Okay, so I don’t think L really wants to talk about education at the end of a long school day. Then again, he’s buckled into the back seat. He’s all mine.)
M: How was school?
L: “It was good. Overall, a good day.”
M: Did anything stand out for you?
L: “I got to read with my kindergarten reading buddy. That was awesome.”
(I have a specific question in mind. I’m gonna cut to the chase.)
M: How do you know you’re doing well in school?
L: “Because I know the answers.”
M: (ACK) If you have to choose between knowing the answer, or how you got the answer, which one?
L: How. Definitely how. Because then I can figure out other stuff.
The state (of education) rests.