She: I’m really worried about fourth grade.
Z: It’s OK. I’ll help you with the math.
She: It’s just that I remember fourth grade pretty well.
Z: Then that should help. The more times you do it, the better you’ll get at it.
She: Not me. Koss.
Z: Oh. That makes more sense.
She: And I’m worried because I remember fourth grade.
Z: Yeah, but that was you. There’s no way that Koss is going to want to start dating next year. He covers his eyes when there’s kissing in movies.
She: That’s not what I’m worried about. I’m worried about him starting to remember everything that we say to him and everything that we do with him, and just everything.
Z: Is there something you’re not telling me?
She: Do you really want him to remember all of the inappropriate movies we took him to? Or all of the times we let him go to bed without showering?
Z: I hope that’s what he remembers. How else can I buy his love?
She: What about the time I got halfway up the driveway in the car before I realized he was still in the house — alone?
Z: It was my dad’s memorial service. I’m sure he’ll understand someday.
She: That’s exactly what I’m worried about; that he’ll understand someday, and that someday is coming soon.
Z: It’s true that he’s getting harder to mess with. I remember when he was just learning to speak, how tempting it was to tell him that the word “avocado” meant “garage door” or “naked.” He totally would have believed me.
She: Why do you revel in misinforming him? You know that’s going to bite you in the butt someday.
Z: Yes, but it’s funny.
She: Now he’s going to start remembering that you lie to him.
Z: I never lie. I give bad information. Entirely different. I’m teaching him not to trust authority blindly.
She: No, you’re not. You’re just amusing yourself at his expense.
Z: And now he’ll always remember me as a jolly fellow. All good.
She: You don’t get it. Up until now, it’s all been practice. From here on out, it counts. No more mulligans.
Z: I think that’s why people have multiple children, so that they can screw up the first one, and learn from their mistakes. At least, that’s what your dad told me.
She: In that case he should have quit while he was ahead (sorry, Pam).
Z: Whereas in my family, they got to screw up two siblings before they got it right with me. Holly was extra, so I don’t really know what happened there.
She: There’s some logic to the heir and a spare theory, but it’s a little too late for us.
Z: I’ve got bad news for you.
Z: I actually remember all the way back to second grade very clearly. I’m afraid it’s way too late.
She: How can you remember back to second grade when you can’t even remember to take out the trash?
Z: Mrs. Shaw’s class. I sat behind David Worsley, and we got those red movie tickets whenever we did something well, and then we got to use the tickets at an end-of-the-year auction. I got a teapot.
She: Think it’s too late to invent a time machine to keep him little a while longer and have a few do-overs?
Z: We could try binding his feet.
She: Or maybe his whole body?
Z: No. I’m afraid that this is going to have to be your stress for the entire summer. You’re right, there’s no point in enjoying the fact that he made it out of third grade when we could be worrying about next year.
She: Uh oh. I really am doomed.
Z: Yes, dear.
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