Archives » October 3rd, 2002

October 3, 2002


Every day I take Keirra, our little niece, to daycare. We tell her she’s going to “school” – she’ll never know it’s just a daycare, and with all the alphabet posters on the walls she’s got to be learning something. But some days it seems like she’s learning the fine art of complaining and focusing on the negative. Vital skills in this world, but distressing nonetheless.

She’s three, and at an age when her verbal skills are rapidly developing. So, I figure it’s Good Parenting™ to try to draw her into conversation whenever possible. I also test the limits of just how much I can warp her mind without anyone noticing. Last spring I would pick her up and ask her the Standard First Question: “What’d you do at school today?” The Standard Response would come every day without fail: “Taylor hit me on the head.” Now, technically, that’s not something she did, that’s something Taylor did. But you don’t argue semantics when they’re three. So I’d issue the Standard Second Question: “Did you hit her back?” “No.” I had visions of the playground being ravaged by some hulking bully, most likely one of the older kids who would prey on the little kids and then pull an Eddie Haskell. “Gosh, Missus Teacher, she just started crying all by herself!” I later found out that Taylor was this sweet little two-year old girl with long blond hair. Go figure.

Fall came, and Taylor’s gone. So now the Standard First Question is getting varied responses. Today’s exchange went like this:

“What’d you do at school today?”
“I just cried”
“You cried?”

What a downer. She has an action-packed, fun-filled day at school, playing with all her friends, with a hundred thousand toys crunching under her feet, and all she remembers is crying. And she said it so matter-of-factly, like it happens all the time. Now, I don’t know what schools are like these days; crying might be part of the curriculum.

  • 1:00 Naptime
  • 1:30 Crafts
  • 2:00 Snacks
  • 2:15 Share your feelings and Group Cry
  • 3:00 Barbie

Intrigued, I tried to draw her out more.

“Why did you cry today?”
“Because why?”
“Because someone shared at school”

A clue? Maybe they are having group therapy, and little Cindy had a breakthough? No, just a red herring. Her mind wanders easily. I press on.

“Why did you cry today?”
“Because John hit me”
“John did?”
“Yeah, John kicked me in the arm”

Ah, there’s your answer. A new bully’s in town. And he’s a karate master, apparently, since he kicked her in the arm. But wait, there’s more.

“John said, ‘I don’t want to be your friend anymore’”.

And there’s the emotional abuse. Looks like John’s going to grow up to be a wife beater. All is forgiven, though, when I ask if John is still her friend: “Yeah”.

Things are always interesting at the daycare. Especially if John turns out to be a two-year old girl.