I had to carefully screen what Evan said, during any time together. One morning, during a Reading lesson, I tried to prevent him from telling us how pizza affected his mother's intestines.
"Mrs. Hood, do you like pizza?"
"I do, but sometimes it makes me burp."
"Me, too! But you know what it does to my mom?"
"Does it make her burp, too?"
"No, ma'am. It makes her po-" as I slap my hand over his mouth. Too late. Someone has already figured it out and now I have 21 little people rolling on the floor around my chair. Evan's wide eyes are looking at me over my hand, which is pressed tightly below his nose!
"Evan Pickler, I am going to remove my hand and you are NOT to repeat that word. Do you understand?"
"Yishmi'im," he garbled out beneath my fingers.
"I'm serious, Evan. Don't say it."
Removing my hand, I looked at him and cautioned him with my eyes.
With all the seriousness of a politician, he said, "I promise, Mrs. Hood, I won't say poot anymore."
Closing my eyes, I listen as my classroom erupts once more in giggles and laughter.
And Evan just sits there quietly at my knees, with dancing eyes - knowing exactly what he's done. And I wonder, once more, what it's like to live with him 24 hours a day.