The things that will never make it in the baby books and other musings from a stay at home mom

Friday, November 04, 2005

Julia Mysteries Presents: the case of the dogs in the pumpkin patch

Back To School night was this week, and Julia's preschool class created special "Who Am I?" projects for the parents to enjoy when we visited their classroom. They each designed a pumpkin patch using orange fist prints for the pumpkins and green marker for the vines and pasted a digital photo of themselves in the middle of their patches. Then they taped construction paper pumpkins on top of their pictures to hide them. In each corner of the page, their teacher wrote one of their favorite things -- color, food etc. When the parents arrived in the classroom on Wednesday night, we were supposed to find our children's projects based solely on their answers and then lift the construction paper pumpkins to see if we were correct.

This should have been a no-brainer for us, but Paul and I were confused. Julia's favorite color has been yellow since she was 15 months old, and there were only two kids who had named yellow as their favorite colors, so we could immediately narrow our options down to two projects. Only one listed pizza as a favorite food. Done. Except in the lower right hand corner, it said "dogs at home." We don't have a dog, let alone multiple dogs, so surely this project belonged to a different kid. But none of the other projects looked even remotely like they could be hers. Finally, we lifted the pumpkins and peeked. The "dogs at home" project was Julia's.

"Did you tell Miss Sherry that you have dogs at home?" I asked Julia the next morning when she woke up. "Of course not," she replied. "Maybe you said that you wanted to get some dogs," I probed. Again, she shook her head. I shrugged and decided to let it go. There are a lot of kids in the class. Maybe Miss Sherry was listening to someone other than Julia. Maybe Julia was parroting another kid. Maybe she was so flustered by the one-on-one attention that she'd said the first thing that popped into her head. It didn't really matter. It had been a cute project.

I picked up a bit that morning while Julia was at a playdate and when she came home that afternoon, the project was lying on the kitchen table. She went immediately over to look at it. "It's my pumpkin patch! Did you get this at school last night?" I told her that I had. She studied it for just a second and then looked at me, confused. "Why does it say I have dogs at home?" she asked.

Miss Sherry laughed this morning when I told her the story. "The question was what they like to play with at home," she explained when I asked. "I swear she said that she had dogs. Wait... did she read that herself?"

And there, in a nutshell, is Julia at nearly 4. Mature enough to do some simple reading on her own, but not yet mature enough to answer a simple question in class. I would hasten to wager that the exact opposite could be said about virtually every other kid in her class. Leave it to my kid to be the one barking up a different pumpkin vine.


At 3:05 PM, Anonymous Gretchen C. said...

Whoa. All I can say is to repeat yet again that Julia is scary smart. I can only hope the quality runs with the name. You think? Your Julia is amazing.

At 3:29 PM, Blogger Steph said...

Wow. I'm impressed. We're just getting through the sounds of all the letters, what words and names start with, and recognition. Quite the kid you've got there. :)

At 10:27 PM, Blogger Phantom Scribbler said...

That's quite a pumpkin vine she's got. Reading at 3 puts her way ahead of about 99% of her peers. But I think it's pretty age-appropriate to have an, um, fluid conception of what constitutes the right answer to a question like, "Do you have a dog at home?" So not to worry!


Post a Comment

<< Home