A conversation I had with some 5-year-olds over lunch…

Lauren: The milk tastes funny.

Gloria: Yea, I don’t like it.

Tim: [takes sip… makes face…] Ugh, it tastes like crayons.


Mr. Kazzy: Tim, how do you know what a crayon tastes like?

Tim: [“What-a-fishing-stupid-question” look on face] Because I ate one.

Mr. Kazzy: I gathered that.  When did you eat a crayon?

Tim: When I was 4.

Mr. Kazzy:  Why?

Tim: [“Seriously-man-what-don’t-you-understand-about-this” look on face] I don’t know.

Mr. Kazzy: Well, was it on purpose or by accident?

Tim: [“Isn’t-it-fishing-obvious” look on face] By accident, of course.  Why would I eat a crayon on purpose?

Mr. Kazzy:  I dunno, man!  You’re the one who ate a crayon.  How do you do that by accident?

Tim: [“I’ve grown weary of this conversation” look on face] [turns to Lauran] Yea, this milk tastes bad.



One man. Two boys. Twelve kids.


  1. Heh… awesome.

    My son has a little brother who’s 4 now. A typical conversation with him will go like this:

    ME: Hey buddy, did you go to school today (he’s in a pre-school program).
    4-YEAR OLD: Yes.
    ME: What did you do at school? Did you learn anything new?
    4-YEAR OLD (adopting an annoyed tone): I said I went to school!
    ME: I know. What did you do at school?
    4-YEAR OLD: I ate.
    ME: You ate? What did you eat?
    4-YEAR OLD: I ate lunch.
    ME: Right. What did you eat for lunch?
    4-YEAR OLD: Spaghetti.
    ME: Oh, I love spaghetti. Did you do anything else at school besides eating spaghetti?
    4-YEAR OLD: I drank milk.

    • Nice. I send a daily email to parents with a summary of the day and include three targeted questions for them to ask their child. Of course, some kids want to keep their home and school lives separate, which is why they can be difficult which such questions. Frustrating as a parent but an understandable developmental reaction to trying to balance two worlds.

      • I just love that 1.) he thinks drinking the milk was separate from the first thing he told me he did (eating lunch), and 2.) when he thinks about his day at school, eating spaghetti and drinking milk is what he thinks about.

        He’s severely language delayed, and has some other neurological and behavioral problems, but he’s smart as a whip and never ceases to crack me up.

        • I love how overly literal kids are…

          You asked what he ate, so of course something he drank is separate from that.

          On our calendar at school, I mark the “home days” in red and talk about how there are days we all come to school and days that we do not. On Mondays and Fridays, we usually do a share about what they did or will do on their “home days”. Every year, without fail, at least one kid will say, “I’m not having home days.” “Why?” “I’m having ‘hotel days’. I’m not going home this weekend.” “Well, sure. We still call those ‘home days’.” “Well, mine are ‘hotel days’. Ask me what I’m doing on my ‘hotel days’.” “I DON’T GIVE TWO SHITS WHAT YOU DO WITH YOUR FREE TIME, KID! I WAS JUST TRYING TO BE NICE AND YOU’VE RUINED IT!”

  2. Jeez, Mister Kazzy, it’s like you never ate a crayon or something.

    (The thing I don’t get? Shoving objects up one’s nose. Even at the age of 4, I thought people who did that must have something broken somewhere in their brains.)

  3. What do your students call you? Surely you don’t insist on Mister the whole twelve syllables.

    • They call me by my full last name, or a close approximation there of, in a few cases. I “insist” on this for two reasons:

      1.) Practically, it is not that hard to say if you hear it and repeat it back. Children do better with it than adults because they hear it and repeat it; adults try to read it and it is spelled nothing like we pronounce it, which itself is a bastardized pronunciation of a bastardized spelling. The kids often correct adults who for whatever reason add all sorts of syllables or pluralize it, for got knows what reason.
      2.) I think it is important to model for the kids respect for names. Names are often central to identity and carry a lot of value. If I look at your name and say, “That’s hard to say… I’ll just call you Skippy,” I consider that pretty disrespectful. Now, if you prefer to be called Skippy, that’s your call. But if you want Schilling, I ought to make every effort to call you Schilling. I think we put a lot of pressure on people in this country to conform their names and languages when, most often, a few moments is all it takes to say someone’s name properly or close to it. Some kids mispronounce it but so long as they are making a genuine effort, I let it slide.

      In prior schools, which were much more hippy/progressive, all teachers were on a first name basis.

      • Just remember that Schilling is pronounced “Jones.”

      • I fully support having the kids say/try to say your name. I had a nephew who couldn’t pronounce our daughter’s name for the longest time. That’s fine. It’s not that he wasn’t trying, it was just that he couldn’t do a “gl” sound, so it was just a “g”. However, other people in the family thought it was cute (which it was) and decided to say her name the same way (which wasn’t cute from adults). It was rather unfair to (1) my daughter for not thinking it mattered to say her name properly (and kids seem to get real attached to their names); and (2) my nephew because they didn’t bother to try to help him say it properly (which I think he wanted to) and they turned his inability to say it into a bit of a joke. It also kind of assumes that kids can’t say names properly, and underestimating kids is a real bugaboo of mine.

        That being said, I also fully support your kids dropping the Mr. [last name] and calling you by your first name. Sticking-It-To-The-Man is an important skill to learn.

        • I’m curious what the response would be at my school if I tried to go by my first name with the kids. The argument against doing so and in favor of Mr./Mrs./Ms. is that it teaches respect. I never quite got that, to be honest. First and foremost, I think the ultimate sign of respect is to call someone by what they wish. If I wish to be called Snuggles McCuddleFart, then you would be showing me respect by honoring that wish. Secondly, there are so many other and better ways to teach respect than with Mr./Mrs./Ms. I think that is such antiquated thinking and ultimately amounts to taking a lazy route than actually teaching the kids what respect is and how to be respectful.

          “Tell me about your character education program.”
          “Well, all the children address the adults by Mr. and Mrs. and Ms. You don’t get more respectful than that!”
          “That kid just said, ‘Fuck off, Mr. Smith.'”
          “See? RESPECT!”

          I’ll actually sometimes refer to the kids as Mr. and Miss or Sir and Ma’am. Some of them just look at me confused while others will say, “I’m not a Mister! I’m just a kid!” Which, to me, says we’re sending them a really fished up message.

          • *snort* at one point, at summer camp, I started asking professors what they wanted to be called. I got… a lot of different answers [It started when Dr. Lukkola said to the lab “call me barry. nobody else does.”]

  4. This reminded me of an exchange from one of the first few episodes of the West Wing:

    Sam: About a week ago I accidentally slept with a prostitute.
    Toby: Really?
    Sam: Yes.
    Toby: You accidentally slept with a prostitute.
    Sam: Call girl.
    Toby: Accidentally.
    Sam: Yes.
    Toby: I don’t understand, did you trip over something?

    • Ha!

      I actually would have been less bothered had he done it purposefully. I mean, I remember eating grass as a kid because cows always looked happy doing so and I wanted to try it. I could imagine a kid purposefully eating a crayon. But how do you accidentally eat a crayon?!?!

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