"What's wrong, buddy?" I asked, glancing at him in the rear view mirror.
"My banana is in red," he muttered.
His banana was in red. In Mrs. D_'s classroom is a chart with monkeys and a banana tree. Each student has a banana with his or her name on it and at the beginning of each school day, their banana starts out hanging at the top of the tree, in the green zone. If they're having behavioral issues, not listening, getting too chatty, disrupting the class, whatever, their banana moves down to the yellow zone. They then have chances to move back up, depending on their behavior for the rest of the day. If things don't improve, their banana drops to the ground, which means the banana is in red.
"What happened?" I asked.
"I can't remember," he mumbled.
I adjusted the rear view mirror so that I could see his face more clearly and asked again, "How did your banana get in red?"
He whined, "I said I don't remember! Mrs. D__ didn't say."
He clammed up and wouldn't look at me. I gave him a minute, and when he still wouldn't tell me, I said I guessed I'd have to call Mrs. D__ and find out, since he couldn't remember.
After a few moments of silence, he whispered, "I do know."
I said, "What happened?"
"I was quacking," he said.
"You were...quacking?" I asked.
"Yes. You know, like I was making duck sounds."
"Why were you making duck sounds during class?"
"I don't know."
"Eliot! You know better than that. What is wrong with you?! Why would you make duck sounds?"
"I told you! I don't know! I just wanted to!"
"Well, why didn't your banana go back up? Did Mrs. D__tell you to stop and you kept doing it? Was it in the afternoon or in the morning?"
"It was kinda like...pretty much all day."
"You were quacking all day at school?!"
And then I couldn't help it. I busted up laughing because my kid is such a freaking weirdo and I love him so much. He looked up at me with a cautious smile.
"Are you laughing at me, Mommy?"
"Dude. I'm sorry. I can't help it. You were seriously quacking?"
Eliot, forlornly, hanging his head, "Yeah."
Me, catching his eyes, "It's kind of funny. It's a little bit funny."
He started to smile.
Then we had to have a serious talk about why quacking isn't allowed in school, even though it's funny. He has the weekend to get all the duck out of his system, and then hopefully we'll be back to green bananas on Monday.