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Three little words that don’t tell impart any information, yet are used to answer nearly every question asked: “I don’t know”.

School will be finishing in just over a month, and by now, both teachers and students are counting down the days. Last week, I was thinking how great it’s been that Little Guy has gone 2 years without losing any clothes at the school. I washed and put away his winter hat from 3 winters ago…he has the same gloves and scarf too. It’s either an indication of excellent organizational skills, which bodes well for the future, or a testimony to the vigilance of his primary school teachers. Either way, it’s been great for the bank account, as well as limiting the inconvenience of shopping for seasonal wear that has disappeared from the stores weeks ago, even though the season will continue for several more weeks.

Last Thursday, I picked Little Guy up after school. He had already ditched his backpack and was running around with his friends. The first thing I noticed was his bright red and black striped socks. They stood out because he wasn’t wearing any shoes. So I asked him the obvious question, “Where are your shoes?” and he gave me the obvious answer, “I don’t know”.

We went looking for his shoes, but without success. Not in the classroom…not in the Lost & Found (which is like digging through a combination stinky locker room/thrift store)…not in the school office. I asked, “Where did you have them last”? The answer? You guessed it, “I don’t know”. Eventually, the story came out that his class had eaten lunch outside and then played in the playground. He had, for a reason that remains a mystery to this day, taken his shoes off when he was eating lunch…and now they’re gone. They were almost “dead” any way, so the loss wasn’t as upsetting, and I had had the forethought to buy new shoes when I saw them on sale. He went home in sock feet.

Yesterday he came home without his cap…he had loaned it to his friend. We looked in the Lost & Found, which has been stripped completely bare. The Public Health Department probably inspected it and ordered the school to remove everything and burn it immediately. We also looked in the classroom (with help from another friend, who dropped his puzzle and we all had to crouch on the floor to put it back together again. This little guy thought it was a lot of fun. I was crouching in a short skirt and heels, and by this time wanted to say, “Yes, this fun. It’s the highlight of my day,” but sarcasm is lost on kids). Little Guy finally asked the friend who had borrowed the hat, if he knew where it was now. His friend’s answer: “I don’t know”.

I wish I knew who taught kids (at such an early age I’d like to point out), that this is the best response to questions. At this rate, by the time Little Guy is 10, the “I don’t know” will be reduced to a barely audible, virtually incoherent mumble, with or without the ever so slight one shoulder nudge. I may start practicing it so I’m prepared for those days so I can use it against him. He won’t be impressed, and that will probably make me happy! I don’t know.