Driving home after a birthday celebration for my mother-in-law, we pass the site where my brother-in-law’s pastry shop is going to be. It’s officially under construction, but so far the construction looks like a lot full of turned up dirt with a few stakes in the ground.
Snags, riding in the back seat of the car, says “I hope Uncle Mikey isn’t an astronaut by the time they finish building his pastry shop!” And since construction generally takes six or eight months around here, and since Mikey isn’t a pilot of any kind, nor does he work for NASA, the chances of him becoming an astronaut in the next six or eight months are somewhere between pigs flying and hell freezing over. My husband said “If Uncle Mikey is an astronaut before his pastry shop is finished, I’ll eat my hat!”
Snags thought that was pretty funny, you know, eventually… like after we spent several minutes explaining what “eat my hat” meant. But then Snags went on to demand “What hat?” and my husband said, “I don’t know, any hat… Some hat… A hat. It doesn’t matter…”
Snags (the optimist) considered all this for a few minutes then said, “Well, if Uncle Mikey is an astronaut by then that’s okay because I will take over his pastry shop!”
To which I replied, “You will? Oh really? How are you going to do that? What about school?”
“Oh, I’ll go to school! School can come to me while I am at the pastry shop!” Snags said, the air of a child actor in his tone.
“Besides,” he continued, “They aren’t even teaching us anything at school anyway. At least it feels like they aren’t! I don’t think we’re learning anything.”
I called him on that. I said “Well, what about all the sight words they’ve taught you? And all the words you can write now? You even write whole sentences by sounding out words yourself!”
“And math!” my husband added. “You know how to count by ten.”
Snags obviously felt bolstered from our pointing out all the things he had learned in school. “Yeah!” he said, “And I can count by eleven! Listen… 11, 41, 51, 61, 71, 81, 91, 101, 1000…”
My husband couldn’t take it. He interrupted. “How about 11, 22, 33, 44, 55….”
“You don’t know Dad! Snags cried. “I can count by twelve too, wanna hear?” Snags asked.
“Sure,” I said stifling a laugh.
“Okay… 12, 32, 42, 52, 62, 72, 82, 92, 102, 1000!” he proudly proclaimed.
And there, in the darkened night, with a low slung but full and bright moon shining in front of us, I thought to myself, maybe he’s right. Maybe they aren’t teaching him anything in school afterall.