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Hollow Tree Ventures parenting humor
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Adult Life (according to a 7-year-old)

A few days ago I found myself, once again, in Zoe's classroom.  You might remember my math lesson from a while back; this time she couldn't quite choose between all of her Pretend Play Options, so she was a "teacher who likes to cook and also teaches cooking but first we're going to work on spelling."

She started by selecting a costume, which almost always includes leg warmers these days.  And arm warmers.  And why not?   I'd probably dress like that too, if I could pull it off.  As I recall, one of the most disappointing things about growing up was no longer feeling perfectly comfortable leaving the house decked out in every color, style, and pattern available in the entire world of fashion.  The same must be true for boys (or maybe it's just my kids); pictured below are Jake and Zoe, ages 5 and 2 1/2, and clearly Jake is taking full advantage of Kids' Right To Wear Whatever Crazy Thing They Want, including full use of the Dangle Multiple Things From Your Belt Clause.  Zoe's outfit that particular day was a bit more tame, but then again she was  carrying around a Halloween candy bucket in mid-August, and it was filled with eleventy thousand pairs of Disney Princess underwear.  Leg warmers are a more recent addition to her grab-bag of accessories, and she likes them because they decorate her otherwise unadorned calves (I should interject here that she does not call them calves.  One day she came to me, kicked her leg out in front of her and poked at her calf, demonstrating how it hangs down.  "This is my leg lobe," she announced - like an ear lobe for your leg - and frankly I think that's a much better term for it than "calf.")

Zoe, age 3, pretending to be
All Grown Up
Anyway, my point is that kids dress like crazy homeless people sometimes, and the more "grown up" they're trying to look, the wackier their outfits get, despite the fact that they see adults on a daily basis and most of us are not wearing nearly as much jewelry or nail polish as they seem to think.  I mean, Zoe likes to wear necklaces and bright, sparkly clothes any day of the week, but when she's pretending to be an adult she takes it several steps further, decking herself out like some kind of Mr. T/Elton John/Punky Brewster hybrid (but, you know, in a cute way).

So anyway, once she was dressed as her version of an adult, school was in session.  First, I learned about vowels ("They are A, E, I, O and U.  And sometimes Y.  And H should be a vowel, too, because vowels are the ones you open your mouth to say.").  Then it was on to spelling.  I could tell she was trying to stump her student, as she started with the hardest word she knows.

You can also see, upon close inspection of the clipboard hanging below the dry erase board, that in my role as The Dense Student I was collecting demerits at an alarming rate.  Nevertheless, she was soon eager for an excuse to play with her kitchen and felt food, so despite my misbehaving she said I'd earned the distinct honor of lunch with the teacher.  She made us each a delicious (fake) sandwich and then sat next to me primly, making sure to remain haughty enough that I wouldn't forget that she  was the adult here.  I thanked her for the food and decided to get the low-down on what it's like to be a grown up, which wasn't easy, because apparently part of being an adult is that you give really terse answers to questions about your personal life.

ME: Wow, being a teacher must be great.  You seem to really like kids.  Do you have any kids of your own?
ZOE (delicately nibbling a felt cookie): No.
ME: Oh, then what's your favorite part about being an adult?
ZOE (changing her tune): Well, I did  adopt a kid.
ME: Oh, I didn't know that!  What's your kid's name?
ZOE: Billy.
ME: Cool.  I bet Billy really likes living with you.
ZOE: Yeah, his favorite thing is eating dinner.  He loves how I cook.  I got him a few years ago.
ME (stifling laughter at the thought of referring to adoption as "getting a kid"): Did he not eat dinner much before he lived with you?
ZOE: How would I know?
(For a while, just to see what she'd do, I'd been taking fake cookies off the tray and putting them on my own plate.  She hadn't said anything, and at this point I had a whole plate mounded with cookies.)
ME: He probably loves cookies, huh?
ZOE (cutting her eyes toward my plate): Not that  much.
ME: Oh, he doesn't?
ZOE: Actually, he's never had cookies.  I got divorced from his dad, and every time I offer him a cookie his dad comes and picks him up.
ME: Wow, being a parent must be pretty hard.
ZOE: Naw, it's not as hard as we make it look.


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