The scene: the Price family dinner table/desk, after a pancake dinner.
The task: First grade Catholicism, as taught by Dad.
The student: Madeleine.
The subject: St. Joseph, his role, duties and merits.
The table has been wiped off, but for whatever reason the leftover pancakes have not quite made it to the fridge.
As we sit there, books open and as I expound upon the Patron of Workers' courage, Maddie's hand strays to the pancake plate, but she continues to pay attention to me. Without taking her eyes off either me or the class materials, she begins to chew on the pancake.
I note this, but since she's paying attention, I let it pass. She continues to take bites off the pancake and it is clear that she's not just eating it--she's trying to shape it into something. But she's still paying attention to me.
Finally, I interrupt and say: "What are you doing, Maddie?"
"I'm making a beard." She then puts the shaped remnant of the pancake over her mouth, and yes, it's a passable Van Dyke.
I blink a few times and respond.
She was absorbing the material, after all.