A few weeks ago at a family party, our cousin Cara was talking to Charlotte. Rather than asking Charlotte about school (which she figured everyone was asking her about), she asked her about her summer instead.
Charlotte had no problem redirecting the conversation back to school, her topic of the day, week, month, and pretty much year. She launched into an enthusiastic and detailed explanation of ‘Mystery Bag,’ her favorite school activity. (Normally, when asked to identify her favorite anything, Charlotte’s response is “everything” or “all of them.” But in this regard, mystery bag is the hands down favorite.)
In Charlotte’s kindergarten class, the teacher distributes the aforementioned bag to a different student each day (alphabetically), along with a clue sheet to be filled out. The lucky student is charged with bringing the bag home, inserting a mystery item, completing the enclosed clue sheet, and bringing the bag back to school the next day.
At the appointed time during school, the teacher reads off the clues one by one, giving students in the class a few chances to guess what’s in the ‘Mystery Bag.’
At the time of the conversation with Cara, Charlotte had not yet had her turn with the ‘Mystery Bag.’ By virtue of her last name, her turn would come after most of her classmates had already had his/her time. She was very excited at the prospect of finally being able to create the mystery, and there were numerous discussions of what she would choose to put in the bag without a final decision being made.
About two weeks ago, I got a phone call from a very excited little girl right after school. Apparently, one of her classmates was sick and another one was out for some other reason, so Charlotte got the ‘Mystery Bag’ early. Immediately after getting off the bus, she informed her mother of the situation, walked into the house (with great purpose), and made a beeline to what she had decided would be her mystery item – her bath book, a small, vinyl picture book (in this case, Rainbow Fish) that can be taken into the bath tub.
That night, she filled out the clue sheet with great care. My favorite clue: “it’s rubber and squishy” (talk about a red herring). The final clue was a giveaway (to a degree): “something you read.”
The next day, she was pleased to inform us that her classmate Joseph had guessed “a book” on the last clue (which was close enough). Mystery solved!
Mystery Bag #2
Another mystery bag in the Putney house is Luke’s backpack (this mystery remains unsolved).
I don’t think he’s opened it more than two or three times since he got it during back to school shopping at the end of the summer. Regardless, he feels compelled to bring it to preschool every time he goes. God forbid we get in the car without it! Once he realizes he doesn’t have his (empty) backpack, he’ll panic and plead, “I need my backpack!”
We’ll then get his (to repeat, empty) backpack so he can bring it into the car, place it on the seat next to him, bring it into preschool, and hang it on his hook with his jacket so that, at the end of the day, after not having opened it or touched it, he can take it off his hook, put it on his back, bring it into the car, place it on the seat next to him, and bring it back into the house to hang on his hook, where it stays until he leaves for the next day of preschool (unless Charlotte asks him to play school).
Luke’s lack of the practical use of his backpack is in stark contrast to Charlotte, who will fill any and all bags at her disposal with her things – items that she’ll need for this, that, or the other. Often, an item will be missing for weeks or months only to be discovered, eventually, in one of Charlotte’s bags.
Charlotte and Luke are currently on a Scooby Doo kick. They got one of the videos from the library and have watched a couple of episodes. If I wasn’t there when they watched it (or usually even if I was), Luke will give me a play by play breakdown of the episode, up to and including the dramatic unmasking of that episodes mystery villain.
I hope you enjoyed today’s serving of ‘mac & cheese.’