So many things to celebrate (or cry about, depending on the day and the kid).

Today was Carter’s last day of Kindergarten. I can respect a school that refuses to call it a “graduation” and avoids the caps and gowns. I’m going to note here, however, that Calvary does include the awkward simultaneous handshake/handoff of a rolled up blank piece of paper.

So you know. Don’t call it a graduation.

We know what it is.

Her kindergarten teacher gives all the kids “Character Awards” at the end of the year. Note 2: Christian School. “Character” = actual character traits, typically some variation of the Fruit of the Spirit; this is not some strange adaptation of books we read or Disney or even a somewhat cute re-enactment of the entire year.

If it means anything, I cannot for the life of me remember what Character Award Eliott was given in Kindergarten. I’m sure it was spot on and totally a prediction of her future self. I probably should have caught it on video, or saved that paper for the baby book I still haven’t made.

Carter’s character trait: Boldness.

(Her teacher then went on to suggest she may have received such a trait from her mother. I shudder.)

I used to be a teacher and before that, I worked at a summer camp where we really tried to empower kids to become the best version of themselves. I’m pretty good at verbal affirmations, no matter how far reaching they may be.

I know what “boldness” really means.

When Carter is praised for “speaking her mind,” it can be otherwise translated as “doesn’t give two shits what anyone thinks, ever, and will tell you what she’s thinking whether you want to hear it or not.”

(And here I submit that this trait is a genetic generation skipper and comes directly from her maternal grandfather, Greg Paulus.)

Example A: Weeks ago, Eliott is crying at dinner. Another story of kids being mean to her at school. Carter interrupts with, “Eliott. If kids are being mean to you in your class, you should send them down to my classroom. NOBODY is mean to me in my class. Ever.”


Later, today, in Harris Teeter, Carter announces that she wants me to pull her loose tooth out. “I’m just so tired of it, I need it out right now.”

I tell her I’ll do it when we get home (despite the fact that it is only a little bit loose).

She tells me to take “one of those papers [from the cookie samples] and pull it out with that.”

I tell her there will be too much blood for the grocery store. Wait until we get home and I’ll pull it out.

She does.

I do.

Nobody cries.

Last day of Kindergarten, first lost tooth. My baby is practically a grown up.


And finally, this:

My dinner conversation with a very grown up Carter (NMN) Wait:

When we were practicing, Palmer and Leah said they’re going to say my middle name, and I was freaking out. I was freaking out so bad I just had to fall on the floor.

Why? What’s your middle name?

Tiny Monster. But then they didn’t say it.

Carter Tiny Monster Wait. But that’s just your nickname. You know you don’t actually have a middle name.

Yes I do. I gave myself one.

Hm. (Not weird, I did the same thing in high school and carried it all the way through college until the day I was married.) So what is it, “Tiny Monster?”


Oh, right. Selina. Of course.

But…I want to pick the best name. So actually I’m thinking about Kitty Cat. Or maybe just Cat.

Carter Kitty Cat Wait. That sounds good.

Or Lisa. I just don’t want something ugly. Like Dinosaur. I mean, I’m kind of like a dinosaur, but that’s a boy name. Dino-saur. It’s not pretty.

Stick with Kitty Cat, Tiny Monster. I think you found your winner.

Childhood Graduation

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