“What’s after Kindergarten, Mama?” asks Ayay.
“After Kindergarten, you go to 1st grade, then 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade…” I explain to her. “And then 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grades is HIGH SCHOOL!”
“Oh, yeah!” she exclaims.
“And after that, is college,” I tell her with just as much excitement.
Ayay’s smile disappears, she furrows her brow and says in a sad, small voice, “I don’t want to go to college.”
Um, what? Of course you want to go to college. Translation: YOU ARE GOING TO COLLEGE!
“Is Tito in college?” she asks sadly.
“No, Tito is in graduate school. He already went to college and after college you can go to graduate school if you want. Like Daddy went to medical school after college. After college, I went to graduate school for my Masters degree in education.”
“Is college fun? Are there TOYS in college?” she asks.
“Yes, there are “toys” and books in college. You’ll find lots of fun things to do.” Hmm, I wonder what kinds of toys she’ll end up using in college.
“I don’t like the name college,” she tells me.
“Oh, well there are lots of different names for college – like Reed College, Colorado College, Smith College. Sometimes they’re called universities, like University of Wisconsin or Northwestern University.”
She continues to look concerned, yet thoughtful, as she eats her breakfast. I’m not sure why I’m trying to sell her on college at 3.5 years old, but I continue, “At college, you can live with your friends and NOT at home.”
“I WANT to live at home,” she says. Yeah, not quite the thing to say to a little girl whose life revolves around Mommy, Daddy, and P-Nizzy.
“Would my friends be there every day and every night?” she asks, perhaps warming up to the idea of college.
“Yes,” I tell her. I decide to change the subject at that point. We have a long way to go until college, thank goodness!
About an hour later, while talking to Nana J, Ayay bursts out with joy, “Nana! When I’m older, I’m going to go to COLLEGE!”