On Sunday night, Katie announced that she’d like to do a report. Having no idea what she meant by a ‘report’, I enquired further. “You know, Mama,” she said. “Like where I learn all about something and then write it up and then present it to you and Daddy.”
I was intrigued. Whose kid decides five days into their summer that they’d like to do independent research? Apparently mine. Cool!
I asked if she’d like to do a book report – a logical question considering that this a kid who quite literally bumps into walls with her nose constantly buried in a book.
She scrunched her nose as she thought. “No, I tell you about my books all the time. I think I’d like to learn about an animal. I could look up all kinds of information – find out where it lives and what it eats and stuff.”
I was all for it. Had I suggested it, of course, it would have been a ghastly idea, but thankfully the idea was all hers.
“OK, love, so what animal would you like to study?” I asked.
“You pick, Mama.”
I flipped through my brain’s encyclopedia. What animal would she find interesting? I immediately honed in on beavers. They build dams! They work together! They mate for life! It seemed perfect.
“OK, love. How about studying beavers?” I asked.
“Sure, Mama. sounds great. I’ll go google beaver to see what I can find on the computer, OK?”
“Sure, honey, you go ahead.”
As she padded off to the office, I thought, “What an incredible kid. What great motivation. What great independence. What .. what .. what the flip is the matter with me?????????????????????????”
Need a minute? I can wait.
Yes, that’s right. I had just sent my eight year-old daughter to go google the word ‘beaver’.
She came back into the den and cocked her head to the side like a little golden retriever. “What’s the matter, Mama?” she asked, the picture of innocence.
“I, um, I , hmm, honey, I’d rather that you wait for me or Daddy to help you, OK? I think it’s best that you, um, er, don’t go googling right now.”
“Is that because there’s a grown-up meaning to the word too?” she asked.
Wait, what the heck happened to the picture of innocence from like TWO SECONDS AGO?
I was poised, graceful and calm. I offered a succinct, eloquent response. Except not. All I squeaked out was, “Huh?”
“Well, Mama, I’m just saying, by the way you reacted just now and that look on your face, I’m thinking there’s something inappropriate involved.”
Yes, she speaks that way.
I recovered from my previous shock and took advantage of the perfect teachable moment. Or not.
“How about polar bears?” I stammered. “What do you say we do polar bears instead?”