you know, to keep the conversations going. With Kevin, who is eight, it’s absolutely no problem, but the older one, the 13-year-old, well, his word count has decreased in the past year. Sometimes he will excitedly chat about wrestling or football, or a teacher who he thinks is funny, but all too often his answers are just a few words.
“My day was fine.”
“I learned about prepositions.”
“Yes, I ate the lunch you sent. Yes, the carrots too.”
Fair enough, but sometimes I just really want a conversation, so I ask the question, “Do either of you have anything you want to talk about?” Most of the time a topic is not given, but comments are.
“We need to get Chinese food.”
“Can we get Little Caesars tonight?”
“Did you get a video of me pinning that guy at my wrestling match?”
Sometimes conversations begin about 5-7 minutes after the boys are supposed to be in bed for the night. Ironically, this is the time frame when suddenly more meaningful topics emerge.
“Mom, do you know what I’ve been thinking about? God. Is he real or not?”
“Mom, you know. I have been wondering. How did I get here? Like, really?”
“Mom, there is a kid at school who is mean to me.”
Yes, of course there will also be the occasional urgent, “Mom, I forgot to tell you that you need to sign this permission slip before tomorrow. Yes, I know I have had it in my book bag for two weeks, but I just remembered. At least I remembered before tomorrow!”
“Mom, I forgot to tell you about the solar system project due tomorrow. I have everything I need except I need help painting Neptune. We didn’t have the shade of green I need for the rings. Can we run to Wal-mart real quick?
Sometimes though, mornings are when I like to talk. After all, we have a 15-minute drive to school and yesterday morning I asked a question, and here is what unfolded.
“Does anyone want to talk about anything while are driving to school?”
Kevin: “Oh! I do!”
David: “No, Kevin, I can’t handle it.”
Kevin: “But I need to tell you something!”
Me: “Go ahead, Kevin.”
Kevin: “David, stop with your attitude!”
David: “Be quiet.”
Me: “What do you need to tell us, Kevin?”
David: (makes disapproving grunts, sighs, and other 13-year-old noises)
Kevin: “I really want to talk about why quesadillas are better than tacos.”
I mean, as you can see, what else is there to say? Best topic ever.