In walks his sister.
"I l-o-v-e homework," Ainsley gushes. "When I'm in kindergarten, I'm going to l-o-v-e homework!"
Sometimes Ainsley is just the stereotypical, goody-two-shoes girl.
There's a little of uppity Alice in Ainsley, and I'm not about to discourage this, nope, not one little bit.
Years ago my women's prayer group brought to our weekly meetings a mess of pre-schoolers, only one of whom happened to be a girl. She was (and is) a precious girl, a pint-sized sweetheart who would come running, eyes wide, to give us moms a full report on the unseemly antics of the boys.
Let me tell you, when you've birthed three boys running, when you've been on the receiving end of any number of phone calls detailing behavior that's marginal or worse, when you've faced irrefutable evidence that your little sweetie taught his peers at least one really, really choice word, you Can Not Wait to produce just one goody-two-shoes, one sanctimonious little tattle-taling Alice.
Ainsley's my best candidate, really my only candidate.
Of course this is the same child who came to me not long ago just a whining and a wailing, "John called me a tattle-tale!"
Oh, the irony that's lost on young children.
Right before Ainsley declared her love for all things academic, she had raved on and on about how much she l-o-v-e-s Mass.
"I love going to church," she told us with great fervor. "We get to sing, 'glory, hallelujah!' I love it."
I think Ainsley will, indeed, love homework. These days she'll spy me working on phonics with John. "Do Teach Your Child How to Read with me, Mama," she'll tell me.
I loved school. During summer vacation, I'd get together with my best friend Susan and do penmanship worksheets. We taught ourselves cursive before we hit cursive in school. State capitals were fun. Really.
On the issue of Ainsley loving church, well, we might want to consult Snopes because that, my friends, could charitably be called an Urban Legend, A.K.A. one Big Fat Lie.
Snopes, no doubt, has credible affidavits from our parish priest, from the little old ladies in the black veils who sit behind us, from the older couple with the walker who have moved from the pew in front of us clear to the far side of the church.
Ainsley does pray, and it's a very sweet sight. Devotion has its place, of course, but it's not to be confused with Ainsley's overarching focus during Mass which centers on two pressing concerns: Will I get a donut? and When does this end?
John, meanwhile, handles himself pretty well until the last measure of the closing hymn, and then it's time to ensure that one of the parental units has a firm grip on him because after an hour and fifteen minutes of sit, kneel, stand he's ready to sprint, jump, climb.
To his credit, he whispered this important message, and most likely the only person besides God and me who heard it was a friend of ours sitting in the pew behind us. He's a good sort, a tad on the stern side, the father of many children who, I am quite positive, never darkened the door of the church without suitable undergarments in place.
All this reminds me of a brief exchange the kindergarten teacher reported to me not long ago. Seems one of the boys announced to the class, "I wear pull-ups to bed!" Needless to say, this generated quite the buzz among five-year-old boys. Not to be outdone, John felt compelled to add, "Well, I go commando!"