"I don't think I wanna try out for the Spelling Bee this year," she said.
"Oh no? Why not?" I ask her.
"I just don't like being up there in front of everyone," she replies, which, in Saia language, means I'm not gonna set myself up for disappointment by showing how much I want to be selected, so I'll just feign disinterest instead.
But she couldn't really suppress her excitement when she was chosen to be an alternate and then went to bed last night secretly wishing the girl with the fever wouldn't show up for the competition this morning.
But she did. And Saia did a great job of being a good sport and supporting her classmates and, a little less enthusiastically, her brother.
The boy, on the other hand, makes no bones about his love of words and has been itching and raring to go for weeks. Despite his prep work, he sat unusually still on stage and looked uncharacteristically nervous. When he passed his 1st round with "honest," he let out a visible sigh of relief. Then came "huddled," which is not a difficult word, but it's hardly ever a big word that takes you down in the Bee, you know. It's a forgotten d or a missed double letter or a transposed l and e, but he took his time, and paced himself, and knocked it outta the park.
And it was on to round 3!
There are only 14 children left, and it's at this point that you find yourself, in spite of yourself, wishing not-so-well on the remaining pack of 9- and 10-year-olds. Just a little slip here. Just a little too fast there. Just a minor flub anywhere...
COME ON, ALREADY!!!!
And then he got "transatlantic." And I'm pretty certain I stopped breathing.
But he aced it, and is now TOP 8 OF THE 4th GRADE CLASS and moves on to the school-wide finals!!!!!!!! And, based solely on the number of exclamation points I've already used in this post today, I may just need to take a mild little sedative before that one.