I have learned to never expect anything of significance from my kids to the question, “how was your day?”
As a matter of habit, I still ask them, but have grown accustomed to one-word answers of “good” or “fine” from Beckett, 8, and a thumb up from Carson, 6.
It’s best I have discovered to just let them unwind and not expect any details, although it seems entirely unnatural.
For example, when I picked up Beckett from camp this week, I reminded myself to not ask him anything about his field trip to the trampoline park. Instead, we actually sat there in silence, which made me much more uncomfortable than him.
He seemed to be fine with it as he was obviously exhausted. By the time we got home, he seemed to have transitioned to home life and wanted to know if we could go in the pool then go skateboarding.
I never did ask him about camp that particular day. It was tough as I wanted to hear about the day’s adventures and how everything went at the trampoline park, including whether he got in trouble for doing flips and what he bought with the two bucks we gave him. It was difficult and unnatural because I felt like I was being shut out. That was an uneasy feeling, one I’m going to have to come to terms with in time as he gets older.
It’s challenging I think because as parents our kids are the centers of our universe, but it’s not necessarily vice versa. While their well beings might consume us, it’s not reciprocal. They don’t feel the same about their parents. They take us for granted at their young age. Therefore, they don’t understand why we want to know how school, camp, sleepovers and skateboarding sessions with a neighborhood friend went. We want details and they don’t understand why it’s a big deal to us.
I’m starting to realize the kids might not want to share everything that’s happening in their lives. They are not trying to be rude. It’s just that whatever took place was not a big deal to them. They will share when they need to, want to and are ready.
That doesn’t mean I don’t slip from time to time back into micromanaging and firing off a few of the dreaded questions, “How was your day? What was the most fun you had? Do you want something different for lunch tomorrow?”
Single-word answers followed by eye rolls typically follow those up.
We have a wanderer.
That’s Carson, who goes to bed easily most nights but rarely stays there all night.
Most nights he will make his way into our room to his mom’s side of the bed for some cuddling with his favorite person. He’s an extremely heavy walker so we hear him long before he’s in our room. That’s a good thing.
On the rare times he doesn’t make it to our room, we have found him asleep on the bathroom floor. One time we even found him in his brother’s bed. That was a shocker because Beckett always sleeps in a sprawled out fashion usually covering all parts of the bed.
One morning this week, however, was the strangest find. I had come in from a run and went to wake Pam up. When I checked in on the kids, Beckett was asleep in what looked to be his customary awkward position, but Carson was not in his room. I assumed he was in with Pam and I just didn’t see him.
I quickly learned he was not. I wasn’t worried until I looked in the bathroom and he was not there. I rushed downstairs and there he was crashed out on the couch with a Mickey Mouse stuffed animal he had dragged down from his room.
What made it so odd was I must have walked right by him five times previously.
Carson seems to have donned a new responsibility around the house.
In the interest of assigning him a title, I will call him the “poop inspector.”
The geriatric dog of the house is failing and one of his biggest issues currently is controlling his bowels. There are periods of time when he defecates every time he gets up. We have to come expect that nowadays. It’s to the point now that Carson goes and looks behind Bailey. He get extremely excited if there’s a gift left behind for me or his mom to clean up.
The same situation plays out each morning or whenever we walk in the house. Every morning he inspects the house when he wakes up but by that time I have usually already cleaned up the inevitable mess.
Whenever we walk in from being gone for a while, Carson likes to be the first to explore the house and search around. He likes to walk in and throw his hands out to keep any of us from passing and immediately examines the house. The irony was he looked like a drug-sniffing dog, relying more on his sense of smell than his sight.
He seemed so disappointed when his search came up empty until Bailey tried to stand up. He was then excited again.