Fowl Games

I awoke to rain and a toddler who refused to go to school. I knew the latter was crucial since said toddler would not be getting out of the house due to the former, so I started the long process of getting a writhing child out the door in a timely fashion. He’s usually very excited to go to school, so this was a little weird to me. He was adamant that he was not down with school today, not cool with walking to the car, and generally just “vewy angwy!”

And you know me - I started to wonder what awful thing had happened at school that made him so upset about going. Had a classmate been mean to him and the teacher didn’t help? Had he gotten into trouble and no one told me? Had he gotten hurt?

So as we drove there I continued to ask him why he didn’t want to go. I started talking about how they would get to go to the “big room” to play instruments since it was raining outside, and then he yelled, “No! I NOT want to pway Duckduckgoose!”

“Oh, did you play Duck-Duck-Goose at school?”

“Yes. It raining and I NOT want to pway.” Aha, so on rainy days they not only go to the big room for instruments, but also for games. That was a relief.

But then, about four seconds later, I started up again - Wait, why does he hate Duck-Duck-Goose so much? Does nobody pick him as the goose? Is he always the first one “out”? Do they put him in “the pot?” Oh God, they shame him and make him sit in the pot so that all the other kids can sit around him in the circle and stare at him because he was out first. He’s already having sport-related school anxiety! He’s going to hate gym. He’s going to have stomach aches on Field Day. He’s going to be like my brother and run himself into a wall to break his arm so that he can get out of P.E. because a shattered ulna feels better than the shame of being a non-athlete . . .

“You put your hands on the heads and I NOT want them to touch my head.”

“What?”

“I NOT WANT THEM TO TOUCH MY HEAD!”

“You mean you don’t like Duck-Duck-Goose because they touch your head? It’s not because of the part where you have to run around the circle and get chased and sit in the pot if you are out?”

“No, that a wittle fun. Running part is fun. I just not want them to touch my head.”

” . . . Ohhhhhh.”

When I picked him up two hours later I looked in the window to see Sam happily sitting in a circle with his hand stuck out so that the kid who was the ducker could walk by and tap him high five style - “Gooooooose!” - and Sam running and laughing around and around the whole room as the teachers tried to direct the two boys to at least head in the general direction of the circle, which had really spread out into something more like a line. There was no “out,” no “pot,” and absolutely no shame.

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