I love the way Wanda’s mind works. I’m sure I still love the way Laylee and Magoo’s minds work too, but unlike with Wanda, I’m not privy to a constant stream in voice and writing of every thought that has ever passed through their brains. I have an open internet connection to Wanda’s thoughts. The older kids send me text messages.
On the walk to school yesterday, Wanda asked, “Do you know what a patteroller is?”
“It’s that thing where the cops carry a big stick around and if you don’t go to school or do something else bad, they hit you with it.”
“I was not aware of this.”
“Yeah. We learned about it in music class. There’s a song that says, ‘Run children run. The patteroller catch you.’ I just like to think about that.”
“Well, I have two things to say to you. One. Did you know there’s an even more polite way of referring to a ‘cop’? I like to call them, ‘police officers.’ Two. I don’t think police officers chase kids with sticks anymore for skipping school. I think that song was written a long time ago.”
“Yeah,” she replied, “It’s from… like… 288 or something.”
Yes. It’s a song written about local law enforcement when Diocletian was emperor of Rome. Those were serious times.
She spends a lot of time thinking and overthinking everything and then telling me about it. Take this simple homework sheet for example.
The teacher read Goldilocks and the Three Bears and then asked the kids what they thought about it.
Check yes or no. Was it good or bad?
Why, sort of?
And it makes sense. It IS sort of a sad and mean kind of story. Chick breaks into a family residence, uses or destroys all their stuff while they’re out battling the obesity epidemic with some family exercise. When she’s caught, she books it. What kind of a story is that?
Sad, mean, and sort of enjoyable.