Monday, May 09, 2005

Cleopatra graced our home last week. Actually, although she appeared only on Thursday and Friday, we talked about her all week long.

The occasion? Caroline's third grade teacher assigned them a book report on a biography, and each student had to dress up as the subject and deliver an oral report as if she was the subject. Don't ask me why, but Caroline chose Cleopatra...Other kids chose people like Elvis, Hilary Duff, Michele Kwan and Kobe Bryant. (Now, that's a report I'd have liked to have heard...wonder whether the kid explained that little rape accusation...)

Anyway, Caroline brought a book home from the school library about Cleopatra, and although it was written at her reading/comprehension level, it was complicated. To explain the high points in Cleopatra's life, you have to explain Julius Caesar, and the Roman Empire, and Mark small feat. So, all week, we talked about Cleopatra and a highly condensed version of her life. Roger and I both learned more than we knew about her originally, which was pretty much nothing beyond the Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton movie.

Caroline rehearsed the story over and over, and was very prepared although extremely nervous about having to say that Julius Caesar and Mark Antony both fell in love with her...She just KNEW that the whole class would shriek "Eeee-eeewwwwww" when she mentioned the L-O-V-E word! But she survived (they didn't shriek) and did great. (Roger actually went to watch so we have the event on videotape.)

The only question during the class Q&A period? "Where'd you get that cool rubber snake?" These kids go right to the important stuff.

I mention all of this because a) I love the picture, and b) it took a lot of MY time and energy all week. It made me think a lot of my friend Paula, whose kids were in elementary school when I was a brand new, single lawyer. Paula used to write me about what her kids were doing, and although I never would have said so to her face, I was always rather irritated that I wanted to know what SHE was doing and all I got were reports of what her kids were doing. It's taken me a long time (and a child of my own) to realize what that is: What the kids are doing, at this young age, IS what the mom is doing.

So, although Caroline was the one with the assignment, Cleopatra became my assignment, too.
Who'd have thought.


  1. As the history lover that I am, I am so tickled that she chose Cleopatra instead of the popstars that her classmates did. Good for her!

  2. I just love it when my kids get cool assignments like this. What did Caroline say she liked most about Cleo?

  3. I now remember having to do this in a college history course and we had to stay in role the during the Q&A and the entire time for the class. We got points deducted for stepping out of role.