Monday, May 4, 2009


Hedgehog has taken, inexplicably, to worrying about college. She grills me at least once a week, as I'm putting her to bed. She asks the same questions, I give some variation of the same answers, and it goes something like this:

Hedgehog (worriedly): so, I still don't quite understand about college.

Mama: well, what don't you understand about it, Hedgie?

Hedgehog: For instance, is it just a free-for-all like you said?

Mama: Not really a free-for-all... [it's a total and complete free-for-all, sweetie]

Hedgehog: So, how do you get to your classes and stuff? [will you walk me, mama?]

Mama: It depends on your campus. Some campuses are like little villages, like me and daddy's college. You can just walk to class. Some campuses are big, and there are little shuttle buses to take you around. That's how you get to classes. [When and if you go to classes]

Hedgehog: What do you do on weekends?

Mama: You can hang out with your friends and study, or eat pizza, or go into the city if your college is near one, and you can see a movie... [and go to a kegger, hook up, and make the walk of shame next morning]

Hedgehog: They let you go out like that? [Do you have to tell the teachers before you go out?]

Mama: Hedgehog, there's really no they at college. You're sort of like a grown-up and you can decide where to go and when to go there. [not really a grown-up, more like a clueless, overgrown child...]

Hedgehog: There's a lunchroom to eat in right mama? But, mama, where do you eat on the weekends when the lunchroom is closed? [I'm going to be hungry and confused. Like if it was the weekend now but you and daddy forgot to feed me]

Mama: It's a dining hall, Hedgie, and it's open for three meals a day every day of the week. [you'll still be hungry and confused]

Hedgehog: How long do they give you to eat? [Before the teachers take you back to the classrooms for reading time]

Mama: Pretty much as long as you like. We used to sit sometimes and talk for hours over coffee.

Hedgehog: But does it look sort of like my lunchroom at school? [come on, woman, give me something familiar to hang onto!]

Mama: Yes, but bigger and with more food choices. And ice cream. [and psychodramas enacting themselves at most of the tables]

Hedgehog: You know mama, I keep envisioning [that's a college-level word you've got there chickie!] it like a big building, like the Chrysler Building, and the bedrooms are on one floor, the classrooms on another, the dining hall on another. [I've been reading the Harry Potter books and I really hope it's going to be like Hogwarts]

Mama: No, it's probably going to be more like what I said, like a little town or village with buildings all around. [More's the pity, nothing like Hogwarts. The only magic you'll be practicing is pulling a paper out of your ass two hours before it's due]

Hedgehog: I'm a little bit worried about it. [I don't want to move out of my house and live somewhere else away from you and daddy and my toys and my hamster and the fairy canopy over my bed]

Mama: Hedgehog, it's a long long time from now, and I promise it's really exciting [and kind of awful] and besides, if you like, there are really good universities in NYC and you could live at home and go to school on the subway. [actually, daddy and I plan on home-colleging you. There's no fucking way we're ever letting you leave home. Even if you beg, which believe me you will]


Ronda Laveen said...

Ohh, this is so funny and touching all at the same time. I laughed so hard I almost wet my panties. While at the same time, felt tears of recognition forming in my i's. Just like life. Wanting to get hecka away from the sperm donor and egg holder and never leave them at all. Love to you and Hedgie. Good luck with the Home-College thing.

The Idle Devil said...

Had you imagined having this conversation with Hedgie when she was a baby? I cant believe she's worried about college. I've a niece who cant wait to get there, especially because she doesnt have to wear a uniform! I hope her college's near home too. :)

Anonymous said...

"Hedgehog, it's a long long time from now, ..."
No. Just some short years.

kylie said...

hi leah,
this is such an interesting and funny post.
my kids dont seem to have any idea about college and dont want to. they just know that it is like school for grown ups.
i loved your post about your books, too. i once heard it said that a book should never be kept on a shelf, it should be given away for somebody else to read. i loved the idea of sharing the wisdom but when i looked at the bookshelves and tried to imagine which book to give away first......
well, i wanted to keep them all :)

Emerson Marks said...

Blimey, she's thinking ahead isn't she? What is she, not even 10 yet ot something.

underOvr (aka The U) said...

Hi Leah,

Sounds like the ideal daughter/mom discussion that doesn't miss a beat.

What words wouldn't warm a Mother's heart than to hear darling daughter say, "I don't want to move out of my house and live somewhere else away from you and daddy..."


Knitter in an Urban Zoo said...

This is brilliant. I love it!

Candie Bracci said...

great post!

MJ said...

Make sure you tell her how she has to study hard and get a good job so she can take care of mommy and daddy in their old age.

Brian Miller said...

great story, love the unspoken voices in your head, reality checking in. time will go quick, cherish the moments.

Karen ^..^ said...

Awww... I love Hedgie. I love the way she thinks, so into her own head, you know?
I loved your inner thoughts on this post too, VERY entertaining, LOL.

You are such a good mommy.

Candie Bracci said...

You've been tagged!

savannah said...!

you made me smile, sugar, remembering the first time one of ours talked about going away to school, of course, they weren't as young as hedgie! i do wonder what's sparked her sudden interest in college! xoxox

Leah said...

Ronda--I also found myself stifling laughter and also getting choked up during that conversation. Poor me, poor Hedgie, poor mothers and kids everywhere...

Devil--never did I imagine such a conversation, never. You know what's funny, Hedgie's fondest with is to wear a uniform, just because they don't at her school!

mago--you're right, really--not so long--boooohooooo

Kylie--I rarely do give my own books away unless I have double! Occasionally, I lend, but with great unwillingness...

Emerson--Hedgie's 8. It's kinda crazy, isn't it? But I'm really starting to think maybe it's from reading the Harry Potters--she can't relate to boarding school, so she relates it to college which she knows about. Or somethin'.

U--part of me hopes she feels that way, part of me hopes she'll be able to separate from us easily...

Knitter!--thank you my dear.

Candie--hi! Thanks for tagging me. I love those tags.

MJ--I'm hoping she'll be supporting us by the time she's 12.

Brian--I know, and you know, how quickly the time goes. They were just babies, weren't they?

Karen--glad you enjoyed the inner dialogue! I really think that's how it went.

hi savannah!--maybe the idea of Hogwarts? Or maybe listening to me and Sarge talk about our college days? I'm not sure why it captured her imagination to such a degree...

Lisa said...

So gald that it was you telling the story and not me....but in eality my dear it is not as far away as you would like eto believe....sorry to say..

Madame DeFarge said...

You handle these things with so much love and humour. This is a great post. My parents were at university when I was young, so going never bothered me. I worried about moving schools from Scotland to England and back again. Far more frightening.

Has she worried about going to senior school yet? With you at her side, I suspect she'll be fine.

Suzanne said...

I laughed my ass off!!! Brilliant!

This line nearly killed me: "The only magic you'll be practicing is pulling a paper out of your ass two hours before it's due." I guess if it sounds too familiar, it is to familiar. And "Home-colleging." Stop. You're gonna kill me!

You're such a terrific mom and friend. I do love you so. Thanks for your much needed kind words and advice. You're the best. And this post is outstanding! Hedgehog is one lucky little girl and I'm one lucky lady.

With love,
Moi XO

Jimmy Bastard said...

A delightful post, told in your own special unique way with just the right amount of humour.

Brian Miller summed it up perfectly in his comment.

Baino said...

And how old is she again? All this envisioning? I lived at home and went to Uni about 20 minutes away but often wished I'd lived on campus. It was just an extension of school for me and not much fun at all! Chain her to the bed. That's what I intend to do with my son when he gets his motor bike license.

Leah said...

Lisa--I know, you are so very very correct. Sometimes Hedgehog seems to get older by the second...

Mme DeF--what a sweet comment! My parents were both in graduate school throughout my childhood (gradual school as we like to call it...) and we hung about on the campuses all the time.

Hedgehog has begun to ask about fourth grade--they change buildings then, and have departmentalized classes. But I think I'm more worried than she is! Oh dear.

Suzy--I'm so glad you thought it was funny! I thought it was too. I just showed the post to Sarge and he was trying not to laugh, and Hedgehog said, "daddy, what are you laughing at?" "Oh, nothing," he replied... xo

Jimmy--yes, it's true that it was a bit bittersweet...funny, but poignant too...and I'm glad to see you've survived your MIL crucible, relatively unscathed!!!

Baino--chains? what an excellent idea.

Maria said...

It is incredible what they find to worry about, isn't it? Liv worries about rain. I have no idea where this started, but she has taken to studying clouds with the seriousness of a meteorologist and if she sees dark clouds, she panics.

bindhiya said...

Dear Leah,
that was a great conversation..
now i'll get my little one to do anything for school. she love the idea of school..
love to you and family.

Old Knudsen said...

Education is a good idea in theory. I thought college was a picture made out of little bits of things.

Suzanne said...

Oh yes, I laughed! Laughed even harder at your comment. Are you ever going to share all of this with Heggie? I imagine so.

I love you darling. Thanks for everything.

merelyme said...


Leah said...

Maria--you know, I went through a period of worrying about rain too as a child! I would stare out the classroom window and ruminate over the darkening clouds. It really got to be an obssession, but then passed as quickly as it came...weird, huh?

bindi--lovely to see you! Hedgehog loves school too, at least most of the time. I remember when she was little and used to play school all the time with her friends.

Knuddles--I think college is a picture made out of little bits of things, actually.

Suzy--I try to put things about Hedgie on the blog that eventually I'll be able to show her--many many years from now--xo

merelyme--thanks! hope you're all doing well over at chez merelyme!