It's true, some of my favorite kids at school are the ones I've gotten to know because they are frequent fliers and we've bonded over hours and hours of in-school suspension. Some of these kids share a side of themselves with me that not everyone gets to see. It helps that I'm not in front of a classroom of 30 kids trying to teach algebra. For instance, I know this kid who has a soft side under the swearing and outbursts, loves shrimp (he closes his eyes and talks about it like a little gourmet) and carries a picture of his brother as the wallpaper on his telephone because, "when I miss him I can just flip this open." But I was not in a million years expecting this exchange I had with him in the lunch money line this morning as he's handing me his check for lunch - he's chronically overcharged and having to stress about how to get more money in his account - and he's got three other middle schoolers in line behind him.
"Mrs. Hardy, when is your baby going to be born?"
"Oh, either in September or October so I have a ways to go yet."
"Is it going to be a boy or a girl?"
"It's going to be a long time before I know that either. Maybe in May?"
"It's just that I'm learning how to knit and I want to make it a hat. And if I have enough yarn left over I'll make you one to match."