I was that proverbial kid who always stood alone in a corner during recess and it still hurts 35 years later, so when Klara started kindergarten I was worried if she would make friends.
“What do you do at recess?” I asked in a trembling voice on the third day of class.
“We play rau-raus [kittens],” she said. “One kid is a pink rau-rau, another is a striped rau-rau, the third is a fluffy rau-rau, etc.”
“And you? What kind of rau-rau are you?”
“Oh, Mommy, I’m not a rau-rau.”
At this point, of course, my heart sank. My poor kid! She didn’t get chosen to be a rau-rau! Every one of my childhood traumas inflamed at once.
“Then what are you, honey?” I asked in a small voice.
“I’m the owner of rau-raus. I choose who will be my rau-rau today and tell them what to do.”
“And they agree to it?” I asked, stunned.
“Of course. Everybody wants to be my rau-rau.”
“And who invented this game?”
“I did, of course.”
I was the kind of kid who dreamt of being picked to be somebody’s rau-rau just once (and of course nobody ever picked me). It didn’t even occur to me to dream of being the lucky bastard who gets to pick rau-raus.
My whole childhood I wondered where the girls who get to pick who’s a rau-rau come from.
Now I know.