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Revolt: The kindergartners take over the interview!

By Kelly Wallace, CNN
updated 10:02 AM EDT, Thu September 12, 2013
  • Kindergarten is a major milestone for any girl or boy
  • We tried to interview six kids about to enter kindergarten
  • The interview turned out to be harder than questioning a head of state

Editor's note: Kelly Wallace is CNN's digital correspondent and editor-at-large covering family, career and life. She's a mom of two girls and lives in Manhattan. Read her other columns and follow her reports at CNN Parents and on Twitter.

(CNN) -- The premise seemed easy enough.

Let's get six kids poised to enter kindergarten together to ask what they expect from their "big" school, which is how my littlest one referred to kindergarten before she started.

That's right. I have a child who entered kindergarten last year and another who started the year before, which means I should know you have to be prepared for anything with a group of six rambunctious little ones.

But that was not top of mind. Neither was this thought: What was I actually thinking trying to interview kids?

I had those cute AT&T commercials in my head. You've surely seen them. A guy sitting around with a small group of precocious kids who say the darndest things, like the one where the adorable girl says she wants to turn her brother into a puppy so she can take him to school and say, "Hey everybody here's my puppy brother."


I thought, let's do our own version!

Read: Pre-schoolers graduate with pomp, parents swell with pride

What's that expression about best laid plans? I quickly learned I did a better job questioning presidents during my White House days.

Always wanting to be prepared, I had questions ready: "What are you excited about kindergarten?" "Who's in charge at kindergarten?" "What do you hope to do in kindergarten?"

But the kids, five of whom attended Morningside Montessori School in Manhattan, the same nursery school as my daughters, had other ideas.

And so, I quickly transitioned from reporter to mom and thought, "Let's play 'Simon Says.' "

Everything seemed to be going along swimmingly until one of the children turned my idea on its head, as you'll see in the video above.

Think of it as an orchestrated coup right there in my living room.

Opinion: My view: Kindergarten redshirting different for each child

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How could I possibly expect kids to sit around talking with me when there were Legos in the playroom and a "Jake and the Neverland Pirate" ship and a soccer game? You get the idea!

The interview wasn't a total disaster. We did squeak out a few nuggets on what they hope to do in kindergarten (learn to read and, oh, ride a rainbow pony!), who's in charge in kindergarten (they thought that was the most obvious question of them all!) and how they simply don't know -- just yet -- what they want to be when they grow up. After all, they have plenty of time.

What did I learn? Next time, never let the kids take over "Simon Says."

Follow Kelly Wallace on Twitter and like CNN Living on Facebook.

Produced by Mimi Schiffman. Videography by Mimi Schiffman.

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