The following was a genuine conversation between Little Jimmy and myself which occurred this morning on the way to school.
Jimmy: I'm almost done with kindergarten; then I'm going to graduate.
Me: Yep, but do you know what grade comes after kindergarten?
J: Emmm. . . Fifth grade?
M: Do you mean first?
J: Ya, I mean first. And then after that we're all done?
M: No, there's more school after first grade. Do you know how many grades there are in school?
J: No, how many.
M: Twelve grades! And once you get through those twelve grades, then you can go to a different school that will teach you how to be what you want to be when you grow up. Like, if you want to be a doctor then you go to doctor school, or if you want to be a firefighter then you go to firefighter school, or if you want to be a banker then you go to banker school -
J: (interrupting) I want to do that!!!
M: (very confused) Be a banker?
J: Do they get lollipops?
M: Oh - they give the KIDS lollipops.
J: Ya, but if you do that, can you get a lollipop.
M: I guess you could get a lollipop if you worked there.
J: Great! Then after I've done all that I can come home and be with you?
M: Well, I guess you could. Most people at some point don't necessarily always want to be with their mommy. Usually people when they get a little bigger want to go out and do things on their own.
J: But I could stay with you if I wanted, right?
M: Yes. . . . . But when you turn 30 I'm kickin' you out!
J: . . .(silence). . . You're just kidding, right?
M: (realizing that Jimmy can't connect right now with ever not wanting to be with me all the time) Yes. I wouldn't kick you out.
While I frequently get some pretty hard core reality checks from my kids, I also sometimes get the sweetest ego boosts!