This week over breakfast and dinner we had quite a few lengthy conversations with Zoé-Pascale about her friends and what was happening at school. Now, Zoé is a great reader and comes home to finish the Daily Quotidian, which is the kid’s French newspaper that arrives at school each day. During her breaks or when she finishes her work she immerses herself in the articles. As a result she is full of information and loves to embellish the stories and makeup new ones.


A couple of days ago Zoé-Pascale continued to tell us the episodes of Nathienal, the class misfit who was always getting into trouble. In her usual exuberance when she tells a story stating that everything she is says is “Ce’st vrai” (it is true), we listened attentively. Evidentially Nathienal got in trouble once again and the teacher made him sit outside for 15 minutes while the class continued.


Whispering over her head, Jean and I said to each other, “I think that’s a reward.” She continues to tell us that as the day went on, Nathienal got worse and the teacher put him in a corner with a “bonet d’anes.” Which translated means a hat of the donkey. Not quite understanding what she was saying, we kept questioning her to explain. “You know an anes with big ears. The hat looks like his big ears, all pointed and everything.


“She’s talking about a dunce cap.” I said finally, picturing a pointed hat that could very well have been a take off from a donkey’s ear. The phrase, dunce cap must have originated from the donkey’s ears or the ears of an ass. Translated into English it became a dunce versus a donkey.


We laughed and laughed and finally said. “Is this really true.”


“We’ll sort of. He was very bad and I read about it in my comic book.”


She had us fooled and once again we learned something new. So next time you play trivial pursuits ask someone what is the origin of a dunce cap –voila,, A bonet d’anes, A bonnet of a donkey…






Yesterday was report card day at school and evidentially Zoé-Pascale had a talk with a good friend of hers who was in need of some tutoring. The first few minutes she went onto explain to us that her friend was going to go to a Spy, but she was scared. But a Spy was good as you talked to her without your parents knowing what you talked about.


“What is she talking about?” We said to each other.


“You know a Spy helps you when you have trouble in school. You can talk to them and they help with the homework too.”


“Where did you hear about this?” We asked.


“I read about it. It is spelled Psy, but everyone at school calls it a Spy.”


“Oh, she is talking about a Scolaire Psychologist (School Psychologist,) we said.” laughing, a SPY.


“Tell us more.”


“Oh no, it is a Spy, not a Psychologist like you Papa. They are different than an American tutor, but my friend is a bit scared. I don’t think I need a Spy though. I got a good note (report card). It’s a good profession however as I think they make a lot of money with so many kids needing help. Maybe I’ll be a Spy when I grow up.”


Voila! And who knows maybe we will have a Spy in the family!!!