Mae, our kindergartener, has split her days getting to school between walking and riding the bus. Yes, with the help of a sweet neighbor girl, she is occasionally taking the bus to school. I’m having a hard time justify it, given the fact that we live 3/4 mile from the school, but it’s another step as she seeks out, and becomes comfortable with, her newfound independence.

It is on these walks to-and-from the bus stop that I pry for a piece of her day, asking and waiting for any tidbit of how kindergarten is treating her. How’s the food? What games do you play? Grasping for a glimpse into her “new” world.

Today, she shared that a few of her schoolmates pulled a book out of her hand when she was reading during quiet time. My instincts to protect her kicked in, I fought them off, wanting to see the situation for what it was, a bunch of goofy 5 year olds learning how to act, and not distorting that picture with images of John Bender grabbing “Goodnight Moon” and ripping out the pages.

After she finished with her story I had to ask, “What did you do?”

“I took my book and kept reading.” Casually flowed back to me as her and sister hand-in-hand crushed rocks and gathered red clay on their new shoes.

“Well, did the teacher see?” Just curious.

“She was at her desk.”

“Do you think you should let her know?” Now, this is where I stopped myself and realized that is not how I want Mae to handle situations, but before I could retract and go another direction she said “That’s not really what I’m into”

“Not really what you’re into?” I could not have been prouder or felt less needed, it was as if she had the situation figured out. She’s decided that she’s not “into” telling the teacher about something that her friends do that slightly annoys her. That’s what they were, friends of hers having 5-year-old fun during reading time. Nothing more.

Step back Dad, she has it covered.