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Thursday, April 16, 2009

You Learn Something New Every Day

Quick.  What kind of animal is depicted here?  If you know, you are smarter than I am.

This morning, Toddler convinced me to take her to Starbucks for a chocolate milk.  This is becoming a daily activity (okay, more of a tri-daily activity) and I'm not complaining because I love coffee and I love Starbucks and I drink the Pike Place Roast which is "responsibly grown" and this makes me feel very responsible.  And caffeinated.

So off we went to Starbucks.  It was supposed to be a quick trip, so that Toddler could get a bit of fresh air and I could get a little pre-writing buzz going.  But Toddler had other plans.  Our quick coffee run was followed by a quick trip to the toy store and then the pet store and then the "sticker store" and then the grocery store and then to my Mom's house.  Four hours later, I returned home with a happy Toddler and decided that it was about time for some more Pike Place.

But it was a great and spontaneous morning and I learned something.  At the pet store, Toddler and I looked at all the fish and the birds and the gerbils.  All of the tiny cages were clearly marked, but there was one larger and unmarked cage with two bunny-like things.  Toddler pointed and said, "Look, Mommy, Chinchillas!" Now I looked down at her skeptically for all I knew about chinchilla was that the Olsen twins are often snapped wearing it in eighty degree weather.  But Toddler nodded vigorously.  "Chinchillas, Mommy!" 

We went to the front of the store and I asked the man behind the counter about the creatures in the back that looked like bunnies but were not bunnies and he said they were in fact chinchillas.  And then I asked him what percentage of people knew that and he said almost no one.  And I announced proudly, pointing to the little ponytailed two year old next to me, "Well, she did!"

What is clear from this story? (1) A trip to Starbucks is never just a trip to Starbucks; (2) The animal part of the education of  our children should be left to Husband, Dora, and Diego; (3) You don't have to be in school to learn things. (For instance that a mouse costs only $1.99 and the Medium Rats are a bargain at $5.99 and that my daughter is a fan of the male orange factor canary.)

Now depending on the day or my mood or my view of the world, I am homesick for school.  For the discourse, the dialogue, the interpretation, the learning.  But on days like today, when the sun is shining and the morning coffee run turns into a mini adventure and my little girl is teaching me something I do not know, I am confident I am exactly where I should be.

I love being a mom.

How's that for a happy post? Chin chin!

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