I haven't yet spoken about the after-school children who come in towards the end of my day. They aren't with me for very long, they do their homework, eat their snack, they go home. Many days they have an after-school sport or activity, and they don't come here at all. They're rather peripheral to my focus, all in all. Last year they were two, brothers, French, 8 and 10 years old. This year they have been joined by a third little guy, who is also eight. This boy is soft-spoken, sweet, and very, very earnest. He is completely thrown by my casual teasing and off-the-cuff goofiness. The tots are rolling around on the floor, the eight year olds are doing their homework at the dining table. (The ten year old is at a soccer game.) "I'm going to the bathroom," I tell the homework boys. "If there's an emergency, you guys are in charge." I tap each of them on the head as I pass. French Boy chuckles; he recognizes the silliness. Earnest Boy looks up, alert and eager. "What if someone poops their pants?" "That's not an emergency, sport. I'd deal with it when I get down." I proceed to the stairs. His husky little voice stops me a second time. "What if a parent comes to the door?" "You can tell them I'll be right down." I'm on the bottom stair. I really do need to go. "What if the phone rings?" "Let the machine get it." I'm halfway to my goal, and he's slowing me down! "What if -" "Earnest! I have to go to the bathroom. It's okay. There won't be an emergency." I race upstairs. His voice floats behind me. "Then why did you say -" Click. The bathroom door shuts on his question. The earnest. They have NO sense of humour.