Today Katie, while writing her name on a "love letter" she made me, mentioned that her teacher and her best friend are lefties too. I suspect she's fibbing, just wanting it to be true. What are the odds? But I played along. I hope her teacher and best friend are lefties too.
The other day, while getting ready to make chocolate chip banana bread, Katie, standing on her stool but getting ready to jump off, then on, then off and on again, asked me, "Remember that place we goed to that has the indoor swimming pool with the turddle slide?"
I was loading the dishwasher. I've heard that some people wash the dishes after they bake. Weird. It's like the under/over question of how do you like your toilet paper roll. "Matt Ross Community Center?" I asked.
Katie said, "Yes!" mid-air, with a hint of breathlessness.
"Do you want to go there."
"No. I mean yes. But not now. But when we goed there when I was a little kid, like when I was one or two when we goed there, was that day care?"
I paused, mid-upper rack loading, and looked up toward the ceiling and to the right. I know I did this because when I looked down at Katie, she was mimicking me. "Yeah, that was day care. They took care of you while I worked out."
Katie said, "Yes!" and jumped half-way across our kitchen floor.
I asked her why she was so excited. She explained that her teacher had asked everyone in her class who had been to day care to raise their hands.
"And you were the only one who didn't raise her hand?" I asked as tenderly as possible.
"I think so." Katie stopped jumping around and looked at the floor.
"Did you feel left out?" I dried my hands on a dish towel and grabbed her hand. We walked together to the cushiony rocking chair in our living room.
"Yes." Katie let me hold her and rock.
"You felt left out because you got to spend your days with Daddy, Grandpa and me and not with strangers at day care?" I wanted to say, but I didn't. I could tell this was a serious matter to her, even though I thought it was ironically laughable.
So I rocked her. And I thought about it. How it would feel to sit on those little chairs, at those little tables, in the big room with twenty other kids, all of their hands raised high so you feel like you're hiding under blades of grass, not wanting anyone to catch you not knowing what to do.