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I am a scintillating conversationalist if you are ages 3 through 10

Took the kids down this afternoon to Lake Merritt Playground, a.k.a. Bird Sanctuary Park because it's right next to the bird sanctuary, a.k.a Kid's Kingdom Park or Playground or something like that because who knows. We brought along a bagful of stale bread to feed to the birds, were given a second bag of bread by a nice older man -- April's first exposure to white bread, apparently, but that's a story for a different entry -- and afterwards we lounged in the shade on the playground and April learned how to do the monkey bars for the very first time.

Meanwhile, Simone had a gender moment with another kid about 7 years old. She dragged me across the sand lot to mediate. It turned out to be a mutual gender moment -- other kid was upset that Simone kept using the wrong pronoun. "I'm not a girl! Just because I have a ponytail [actually a single French braid, very handsome] doesn't mean I'm a girl! I'm all boy! She keeps calling me 'she' but I'm a boy!"

"Oh! I said. "She has problems with he and she. She's only four years old. Simone, just like you want people to use the right words for you, you need to respect the words they want you to use."

Simone said, "I'm sorry, I keep forgetting." The boy looked mollified.

I added to the 7-year-old, "She's both a girl and a boy, though."

The 7-year-old kid looked at me thoughtfully. "She's both? You mean you get both boy and girl things for her?"

"That's right," I said.

"Well, I'm all boy," he reiterated.

"OK," I said. "You're a boy. Got it."

He then proceeded to tell me:

* His birthday
* His birthday present, a silver chain that he was wearing
* The grade he was in
* His age
* Who his best friend on the playground was
* His favorite flavor of ice cream from the ice cream cart
* The amount of money in his pocket
* The amount of money in his bank account

And possibly some other personal details that I have forgotten. Not all in a rush, mind you. We had a very pleasant give and take. "What's your favorite flavor of ice cream?" he asked me. "I like the paletas, the popsicles, you know? Lime flavor. Limon." "I like those too! I like all of them. But my favorite is cookies and cream in a cup. With the Oreos." etc.

I have conversations like this with kids all the time nowadays. I'm always startled by how much they share with me, but otherwise I enjoy the heck out of them. They appear to, too.