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Your Mom did what? (07/16/2006)
By Cynthya Porter

Every year when I teach my College For Kids newspaper class, I crack up at the things kids will tell me that would probably make their parents faint.

I hear all kinds of sordid details about daily life in little Timmy's or Suzie's home, from who was throwing up to what mom forgot to where the dog did what.

But never fear if your child is one of my graduates, because the truth is I don't believe most of it, and with good reason.

See, I have a daughter who has told a tale or two, and that reality has left me listening to everything now with a healthy grain of salt.

I was a storyteller from the time I could talk, crafting fanciful tales that were as fun to listen to as they were to believe.

For example, I convinced my kindergarten class that the wooden giraffe and elephant I brought to show and tell had come to me by way of my Grandmother's safari to Africa. And yes, thank you, she had a wonderful time.

So while I'd be hardly the person to chastise a little girl with an imagination, I never suspected that my demure daughter had a blackbelt in storytelling.

It's just that she has always been so shy, and I'm talking about really, really shy.

Seriously, this is the same child, upon hearing me say she didn't know how to talk until she was two, said to me rather indignantly, "I knew how to talk. Maybe I just didn't know you that well."

Which made me laugh for a month. But I digress...

So when she was in kindergarten her teacher stopped me one day and asked in a hushed voice, "Can I ask you a question? Did you just have a baby?"

I, of course, repaid her for the question with a dumb, blank stare, wondering if I looked like I'd just had a baby. "No." I responded quizzically.

She started to laugh.

And laugh.

And laugh.

It seems my darling daughter had been fantasizing about a baby brother, so much so that she created him. Right out of thin air.

And her kindergarten teacher had swallowed it hook, line and sinker, although she had lingering doubts only because (I'd like to think, anyway) that I never actually appeared to be pregnant.

So we had a little laugh together there in the hallway, and I told her another story, the only real experience I'd had with my daughter's "storytelling" up to that point.

She used to go to a wonderful in-home daycare for half the day before she started school, and we loved it except for one thing.

I was mildly troubled that I'd pick her up in the early afternoon and she'd say she didn't have lunch.

At first I'd feed her and wonder if the morning just got away from the daycare lady, but then I picked her up a few times and actually saw her eating lunch, only to have her tell me later she hadn't.

Now, mind you, this is by no means an underfed child, so what the whole lunch thing was about was a mystery to me.

Maybe she just liked what I was making for lunch better, I mused.

Then I found out she apparently liked what the daycare lady was making for breakfast better.

It seems that most days my daughter was telling the daycare lady I hadn't fed her breakfast, something the daycare lady eventually brought up. "That's okay," I told the daycare lady, "She tells me you didn't feed her lunch."

We both had a bit of an uncomfortable laugh about it, feeling wiser and probably thinking a little bit more of each other.

So anyway, I'm standing in the kindergarten hallway having a good laugh again about the story as I relay it to the teacher.

But she's not laughing.

"Does she eat breakfast?" she asked me.

Now I admit, I laughed really hard just then, but I was pretty mad when I talked to my daughter about it later. I can earn a Mommy Dearest reputation on my own, thank you very much, I told her.

And so for the record for anyone out there left wondering, my daughter eats breakfast, I never had another baby, and I know that at least half the stuff your kids tell me probably isn't true either.

Okay, and my Grandmother never went to Africa. 


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