Friday, January 09, 2009

Conversations With Brenna

Earlier this week at dinner Michael told Brenna she could ask us any question she wanted to know the answer to. Right there at the table.

Brenna: I have so many questions in my brain, I don't know how to pick one.
Me: Just ask the first one you think of.
Brenna: Ok. (pause) What happens to all the helium when a balloon pops?
Me: (grinning) Go ahead, Michael, you can answer.

So Michael told her that it dissipates into the air, but keeps rising because it's lighter than the air around it. Then he offers to answer another question.

Brenna: Ummm.....What happens inside the piano when I push on a key? I mean isn't there a string or something in there?

Michael explained how it worked, simply. Then after dinner he lifted the lid so she and Daniel could watch it happen. They were both quite fascinated.

Every day I walk Brenna to the bus stop. County rules. It's usually cold. Very cold. So yesterday we had our hands stuffed into our pockets and our chins tucked down. I am not a morning person, so I don't usually say more than necessary to get her down there. She, on the other hand, talks a lot in the morning. Yesterday, she said, "Mom? Did you know? Three is an odd number."

Me: "It is. How do you know that?"
Brenna: "Because it's not in the twos."
Me: "Did you learn that at school?" (I was going to be shocked if she said yes.)
Brenna: "No. I learned it on Time4Learning." (She hasn't done that in over4 months.)
Me: "Well, what's 6?"
Brenna: "Even"
Me: "How 'bout 9?"
Brenna: "Odd"
Me: "37?"
Brenna: "Odd"
Me: "52"
Brenna: "Even"
Me: "1,732"
Brenna: (slight pause) "Even"
Me: "Good grief"

Sometimes at night I lay down with Brenna for a few minutes and we just chat about whatever she wants to talk about. Sometimes I use that time to find out more about school. Lately she's been coming home in a very disagreeable mood. I have a few suspicions, but I wanted to hear what she had to say. We snuggled down into the blanket together and I asked her what she wanted to talk about.
Brenna: Ummm....How 'bout school.
Me: Ok. What is your favorite thing about school?
Brenna: Art.
So we talked about her art teacher and how much she likes to draw.
Me: And what is your least favorite thing about school?
Brenna: (thinking carefully) "I don't like it when the teacher asks a hard question and I am about to give the answer, but she calls on someone else. I don't know why she does that."
Me: Do you think she's letting everyone have a turn?
Brenna: Maybe. But I don't like it.
Me: Do you think Kindergarten is easy?
Brenna: Yes. But first grade might not be so easy. It might be harder.
Me: It might. Do you want to talk about anything else?
Brenna: No. Not tonight. I love you Mommy.

So we said our good nights and I closed her door. A little more insight. A tiny glimpse of her frustration. In art she's on an even level with the rest of her class. Genuine learning. Not review. In Kindergarten academics, she knows the answers. And a six year old only has so much patience.

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