conversations with Katie

             Kindergarten introduced Katie to a whole new world. “I have to go to school every day! I think you have to do that in first grade and in second grade, too, maybe,” she said with a budding sense of confidence in her newly expanded world.

Before this year, Katie attended two days of pre-school each week. Every day since she can remember, she has watched her brother and sisters grabbing lunches, backpacks and coats for their day of school. Joining them for the morning rush barely shook her little world; she was ready! No longer will she just do two days a week of school. She has her first hint that the daily grind continues twelve years and beyond. For now we will allow her time to absorb that “every day” continues beyond “another year or two.” 

I had other conversations with Katie the next couple of days when I visited her home to supervise and transport children. Her parents were travelling, so also heard about a previous conversation with her mom.

Katie always confidently shares her new-found information with others and has no room for discussion. Her mom told me that her five-year-old insisted she knew the after school pick-up routine, “You have to drive here and not there. You cannot come to this part of the school.” With all the changes in recent years topped with Covid-19 precautions, her mother paused to assess this new information. She looked back and forth between the kindergarten know-it-all and the more relaxed fifth grader who shook her head, “No, that is not how it is, Mom.” No drastic changes, just a kindergartener entering school.

Still, during the couple days I carried grandchildren to school and supervised them afterward, Katie importantly told me what needed to be done. She told me about her day. Frankly, she insisted she tell me about her day. When Katie knows something, she tells you with the cutest little confident twitch of the head.

Even simple things had to be explained to me. “This is my craft bag. I have to keep everything in my craft bag. It has markers and glue and crayons and popsicle sticks.” She opened the bag and showed me each item.

“Now, what should I draw?” She looked at me expectantly.

“A pickle,” I said feeling silly.

Out came a popsicle stick and a green marker. Katie colored the popsicle stick, took out a glue stick and glued it to a piece of paper. She also colored a bit around the stick commenting as she studiously colored, “I had to earn these crayons by being good.”

“They must be some fantastic crayons,” I murmured and picked up the box to see what was so different about them. I read, “Metallic crayons.”

“They are supposed to sparkle,” Katie said, studying the thin line she had drawn. I picked up a crayon and scribbled a lot in one corner. “Go look under the light and see if you can see the sparkle.”

Katie examined the page under the light, “it sparkles.” Satisfied the crayons warranted her effort at being good, she proceeded to write numbers on the page. “Is a one with a one 11?” She asked as she held the felt tip marker poise over a pad of paper.


“And one with two is 12. One with three is 13.”


“Oh, and one with four is 14. Right? What is fifteen?”

“One with a five.”

She got to work and completed up to 19. “I don’t have room for 20. So I just wrote 70.” Made sense to her. Having finished telling me everything about her craft package and learning something new, Katie walked away. She probably went to tell someone how to write numbers between 11 and 20.