From Kindergarten Straight to the CIA

KindergartenI thought we’d have a few years before I had to join the CIA to have an after-school conversation with my daughter. Instead the walk home from the bus stop makes me grateful I’ve spent over a decade as a reporter. It’s hard to keep up the questions when you don’t have some training.

“What did you do at school today?”

“I dunno.”

“Who did you sit with at lunch?”


She’s supposed to fall off the bus into my arms brimming with stories. Instead she skips off the bus full of secrets. She loves school. It’s all hers.

And so I learn about the kid who threw sand in her face from another mother. On Facebook. Who learned it from her son.

She’d make a great secret agent. They can hurt her with sand, but she won’t break. And just try ferreting out what they made in art class today. She “can’t tell you.”

If she’s that loyal to a paper covered in pink scribbles, who knows what she could do for our troops behind enemy lines. They’d have to steal her princess dolls to get it out of her.

Although I’ve tried it. It just leaves her incoherently moaning for the return of Tiana and her hairbrush.
So what’s conversation like in the Sager household these days? It’s a preview of age 13 and beyond.

“Mom, I need some B words.”

“Bus, bug, beetle.”

“Yeah, we have those already. Don’t you know any more?”

In fact I do. But it seems they have those too. And somehow the writer is stumped on coming up with words that are acceptable for a kindergarten vocab list.

My dollar words, it seems won’t do.

When A week was around, she wrinkled her nose at “avocado.” And for “C” week, I was told that she couldn’t draw “constant,” so I needed to come up with something new.

It’s enough to give a mother a complex. But that’s hard to draw too.

So we’re back to the CIA. And the interrogations.

“Why didn’t you drink your juice box at snack time?”

“I don’t remember.”

“Did you forget to eat your cheesestick too?”


That starts with C.

“Yeah, we have that.”

Can we go back to the why stage? At least I still had all the answers.


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