Yaakov is a man of few words. He is from the "What did you do today nothing who did you play with no one" school of thought. So it is very hard to get any information out of him. I drop him off at gan in the morning, I pick him up in the afternoon; what goes on in between is anyone's guess.
There are clues, sometimes. I know he plays outside because his shoes are filled with about two inches of sand every day. I can deduce the days they had playdough or clay because his fingernails are black and green.
I try to ask specific questions. "Did the ganenet read a story today?" But perhaps he attends the Mossad gan, because he often answers, "I don't want to tell you." Sometimes he comes home with a sticker on his shirt. "What's that sticker for, Yaakov?" I ask excitedly. "Singing," he replies vaguely.
He's also made some new friends this year, although he doesn't know their names. ("I keep fawgetting to ask them!") But every once in a while, we'll be talking about something, and all of a sudden something will click and the turtle will emerge from his shell to relate a parsha story or a fact about the chagim.
This morning, the turtle emerged. "You want to hear something funny about gan?"
My entire body snapped to attention. Easy now, I warned myself, if you act too excited he'll slide right back in.
"Sure," I replied with forced casualness. "I love funny stories."
"You know those wocks that tell you what way to go? We have those at gan!!!"
Huh. I had not one iota of clue what he was talking about. But if you ask too many questions or if you don't understand, he gets frustrated at having to explain himself. I tried asking again, but he repeated the same thing: "Wocks that tell you what way to go."
Donny hit upon a clever workaround. "Oh yeah? That's interesting. And where else have you seen those rocks before?" Aha!
Silence. "I don't know."
And the turtle slowly retreated. When we go to gan tomorrow, I'll have to (casually) ask Yaakov to point out those navigational wocks. And then Yaakov and I will have a good laugh.
******The answers are in!******
I asked Yaakov to point out these wocks to me at gan. We looked out of the window into the chatzer. They looked like....rocks. I was still stumped. I tried to elicit more information out of him. (At this point, figuring out what he was talking about had become a personal challenge.)
"You know, they're red and green and orange. And me and Ariella like to stand on them."
Still stumped. I had bought them a rock-painting art kit over the summer, but I don't particularly recall that the rocks were stand-able.
Later, when describing the situation to Ariella, in hopes that she could help demystify the wocks, I suddenly hit on the answer.
When we went hiking during our vacation, the trail markers were often painted on rocks. Which gives us rocks, that are red, green and orange. He and Ariella liked to stand on them. And, most importantly, they tell you where to go.
Later, I said to Yaakov, "So those are the kinds of rocks we saw when we were hiking, right?"
"Yes," he replied, in a "isn't it obvious and why are we still talking about these rocks?" sort of way.
I, for one, can finally rest easy.