Me (at dinner table): How was your day?
The Boy: Okay
Drama Queen (who’s actually not so dramatic these days): Good
Me: What did you do today?
Both: Not much
Me: Any tests this week?
The Boy: Nope
Drama Queen: Um, maybe….
It’s like pulling teeth!
Sometimes I do manage to catch one of them in the mood to talk and I milk it for all it’s worth even if it means listening to a twenty minute description of the latest Xbox game or watching my daughter just letting her natural goofiness shine through that preteen cone of silence.I find that if I let them start the conversation, they tend to be more forthcoming. Once they start the ball rolling, I can slip in questions and actually get full-sentence answers. There is a fine art to talking to a teen and I am slowly learning it. I may even master it before they hit their twenties!
The one time that I can guarantee getting a conversation from them is when I talk about the things that they did when they were small. For some reason, they LOVE to hear about their toddler antics and the cute things they said as preschoolers. They giggle and blush and ask “what else did we used to do?” What is the fascination with these stories? I don’t know if this is a way to hold onto their younger selves or if hearing these stories makes them feel more grown up. Probably the latter.
My daughter was asking me about some time that she spent in the hospital when she was a baby and wanted every detail – what I was doing, what her father was doing where her brother spent his time while she was away. I must admit that I glossed over some of the details like how very scared we were at first when we didn’t know what was wrong with her, all of the needles that the poor kid got jabbed with, how very pale she was after surgery from blood loss…… maybe I missed a bonding opportunity by not going into more detail; I don’t know….. I have an issue with reminding my kids of their mortality. There are enough stories in the news to do that without me adding to it.
As they grow, mature and develop their individual personalities, they seem so grown up that sometimes I find myself talking to them as adults but conversations like the one with my daughter remind me that they aren’t so old. The next several years will be ones of adjustment, not to mention balance. I need to nourish their growing independence while not letting their youth be forgotten too quickly.
This Mom gig is a tough one; who do I see about a raise?