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  • The eggs are marked with an X on one side and an O on the other, turned and tumbled three times a day. There is heat too. From a dry and foreign lamp. The little children gather and they watch, some more than others, but especially the boys. The eggs wait. We wait too. The waiting is the hardest part. Then there are chicks born in quick succession, several of them, but most of the eggs do not turn into chicks. They just won’t make it.

    Later, as a class we write a response to this egg incubating/hatching business. The students draw pictures and write things like “I love eggs”.
    “Why?” I ask.
    Some students will say “becuz the chiks are fuze and kut”.

    One boy, the one with the swirl of pencil marks over his paper, looks lost. When I look deeper into his paper, I see the marks the eraser left when trying to erase other pencil strikes. He finally says, “I don’t remember that day when the first chick was born… we were getting a new house…”
    “Wow! That’s exciting!”
    “No,” the little blond boy with a jungle of bangs replies, “No. I have two houses because my parents fight.”
    “Oh. I understand,” I say because I really do.

    I keep him close beside me while working with another kindergartener. I invite another student to read her response so that I can add “grown up writing” to her phonetic spelling.
    Her writing says “Lif is nkredbl”.
    “Read this to me,” I say.
    She says in a small, sweet voice “ Life is incredible.”
    My blond by-stander interrupts and adamantly protests with an intensity in his hazel eyes, “No, it’s not. Life is not fair!”

    I understand why he would say this. I can see the heartbreak in his shaking hands. He’s right. Life isn’t fair, but what a hard lesson to learn so early in life.

    My little student, the one with the sweet voice, chimes in optimistically, “Yeah, but it can still be fun. Life can still be incredible! Those chicks are incredible!”
    She is right. Over the busy tongues of kindergarteners I tune into the sound of peeping chicks. New life. Fair and unfair. Or just incredible.
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