Tall Tales from Preschool

Tall Tales from Preschool 4

Sophie is growing up. Yesterday she said she learned about imagination at preschool. When I asked her about her day, she didn’t tell me she was too tired to talk, like she usually does. Instead she said, “Sometimes my imagination gets stuck in my brain and I can’t think.” I asked her to describe imagination to me. She said, “Imagination is like when you have a dream that you don’t want to sleep.” I’m not quite sure I know what that means but, strangely, I think I understand.

So, in a way, I asked her to humor me. When she wouldn’t tell me about her day, and she started talking about her imagination, I asked her about the carousel. Her eyes lit up. “Yes,” she said. “We rode on the carousel.” I then asked her what else she did. This is what she said:

Sophie: “First we climbed a mountain and then we slid down.”

Me: “What did you slide on?”

Sophie: “A swing. Sarin and Addy helped me take the chains off and we sat in them and slid down.”

Me: “And then what did you do?”

Sophie: “We rode in a carousel.”

Me: “What color horse did you ride?”

Sophie: “Pink, purple and then red and then yellow.”

Me: “And then what did you do?”

Sophie: “We went on some swings.”

Me: “And then what?”

Sophie: “Then we went for a picnic at the zoo.”

Me: “What did you eat?”

Sophie: “One turkey sandwich, one cracker with Boursin cheese and one sandwich and one bagel.”

Me: “What animals did you see?”

Sophie: “We saw the zookeeper feeding the monkeys. And we saw the polar bear and right then we went a little farther and then we realized something.” [Note: I’m sure that “realized something” is her quoting Mo Willems’  Knuffle Bunny. All this week she’s insisted on sleeping with Knuffle Buny and taking her Knuffle Bunny stuffed toy to preschool.]

Me: “What?”

Sophie: “Right when I dropped a piece of food a peacock came and ate it.”

Me: “Really?”

Sophie: “Yes. Then we went to Zoey’s house. And then we went inside. We went to all the rooms trying to find Zoey to play but then we realized something. She wasn’t there at all! First we looked up in a tree and she was there but then she ran away and hid in another spot. Then we went to a leaf pile and found her. The end.”

Yes, my little girl is growing up. Not only is she learning what imagination is, but she ended this tall tale with “the end.” Story, reality, imagination and truth are all becoming intertwined and, honestly, it makes me a little sad. I hope she continues her tall tales, if anything, to humor me.

I wrote as she spoke on a piece of folded up paper, during lunch. Today, not knowing what it was, she painted a picture of Zoey on that folded up paper, right over my writing. Zoey had hair, two eyes, a nose, a mouth and legs. The purple dress she added later sort of covered all this up but for a few minutes, at least, it was the first recognizable shape she’s ever drawn, aside from ladders and rainbows.

I’m totally keeping it forever.

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.” –Theodore Geisel

Tall Tales from Preschool 3

A couple weeks ago, when I asked Sophie about her day, she told me about a man who visited that day, and that he “laid on his back to paint.”

Me: “A grownup or a classmate?”

Sophie: “A man! A grownup.”

Me: “And he was in your classroom?”

Sophie: “Yes. And he laid on his back and painted, just like this.”

(She showed me.)

Me: “What did he paint?”

Sophie: “I don’t know. I’m tired of talking.”

Me: “But he was there? You saw him?”

Sophie: “Yes!”

I thought about this mysterious man for a few minutes, not remembering seeing anything on the school calendar about an artist visiting that week. And then, I remembered something else: Each month the children in Sophie’s class learn about an author, composer and artist. This month’s artist? Michelangelo.

Someday I hope to stand with Sophie in the Sistine Chapel, and tell her this story.

“A beautiful thing never gives so much pain as does failing to hear and see it.” —Michelangelo

Tall Tales From Preschool 2

I did learn that Sophie had goldfish crackers and juice for a snack, and that she made a pinwheel and took it outside to watch it spin. These things, I believed. And then there was this:

Me: “Do you play with Arabella today?”

Sophie: “No. Another girl and a boy.”

Me: “Were they nice?”

Sophie: “Yes. But another boy was not. He was fighting.”

Me: “He was? What did the teachers do?”

Sophie: “They threw whipped cream pies in his face.”

Me: “They did?”

Sophie: “Yes, and it got all in his eyes. Then he had to go home to get baby wipes to clean his face.”

Me: “That wasn’t very nice of the teachers!”

Sophie: “He was fighting!”

Me: “Where did the teachers get whipped cream pie?”

Sophie: “They have a big cabinet full of them. They use them when you’re not listening.”

And later …

Andy: “What did you do at preschool today?”

Sophie: “We rode a carousel.”

Andy: “You did?”

Sophie: “Yes. The horses were so pretty. They went up and down, up and down, up and down.”

And later …

Andy: “So I heard a boy was fighting at preschool today.”

Sophie: “Yes.”

Andy: “What did the teachers do?”

Sophie: “They made him go outside and then they locked the door.”

Andy: “Really? They made him  stand outside in the rain until his Mommy came to pick him up?”

Sophie: “Yes! He wasn’t listening.”

“It is always the best policy to tell the truth, unless, of course, you are an exceptionally good liar.” —Jerome K. Jerome

Tall Tales from Preschool

Today Sophie was much more eager to tell me what she did at preschool. Here are some snippets of our conversation:

Me: “Did you have snacks today? I bet you had brussels sprouts, didn’t you?”

Sophie: “No! There was a big bag of candy and we each took turns jumping in it.”

Me: “Really?”

Sophie: “Yes. And then we had 55 cookies. And brussels sprouts.”

And later …

Me: “So what was your favorite activity at school today?

Sophie: “We played hide-and-go seek and tag. We chased each other.”

Me: “You’re allowed to run in preschool?’

Sophie: “You’re not allowed to run in preschool.

Me: “So how did you play hide-and-go seek and tag in preschool if you’re not allowed to run in preschool?”

Sophie: “Well as you play tag someone runs and then someone runs with them and then you try to tag their belly, like this. And to play hide-and-go-seek you count and the other person hides and then you find them!”

Me: “But how did you play those games without running?”

Sophie: “We just walked.”

Me: “Did you really play those games?”

Sophie: “We really did.”

And later…

Me: “Were there more kids there today?”

Sophie: “Yes. Five boys and 100 girls.”

Me: “Wow, that’s a lot of girls. Did you play with any of them?”

Sophie: “Yes. Arabella. Arabella, Arabella (singing, now) Araaaaa…belllll…a!”

Me: “What did the two of you do?”

Sophie: “Me and Owen and James and Arabella walked down the street without you. We went to Zoey’s house. We went up to her room and took all the pillows off her bed. Then we had a pillow fight.”

Me: “Really?”

Sophie: “Yes. It was really fun.”

And later …

Me: “So what did you really do in preschool today?”

Sophie: “Right now I’m just tired and tired and tired. And it’s a secret. That I can NOT tell.”

“Life itself is the most wonderful fairytale of all.” —Hans Christian Andersen