Asking Your Kids About Their Day Is a Waste of Time

It’s a rare day when a working parent can get out of work early and pick the kid up from school, and I was trying to make the most of it. “So, what did you do in school today?” I asked.

“Nothing,” was the answer.

“Nothing?” I joked. “What am I sending you to this school for?”

She looked at me sideways and glared.
“I dunno.”

It was a pleasant change from “nothing,” but not exactly what I was looking for. Ten points to the kid for outmaneuvering the mom. Zero points for quality time.

I should have known better really. Ask a kid about the hours spent behind a desk with pencil in hand, and “Nothing” is always the answer.

Whether they learned to master the multiplication tables or the entire cafeteria erupted into a food fight during lunch that concluded with your child being covered in a vat of tomato soup, it will always BE the answer.

“Why do you smell like tomatoes and milk,” you’ll ask. “I dunno,” they’ll say. If you’re lucky, you’ll get an eyeroll out of the deal too. My permission to do a jig – a double response means the kid is actually listening to you!

But I regret to inform you that you won’t get much more. Nothing is the story, and they’re sticking to it. This is the knowledge of six years of parenting. Kids are nothing if not stubborn. Unless you can promise them a pony. But we live on a third of an acre. It’s not happening.

So I’m left with nothing.

She has learned to race her way through books not via the instruction of some dedicated educators but through osmosis. Uh huh.

Is it any wonder teachers are a misunderstood lot? We spend every morning fighting to get a tired kid out of bed and onto a bus with at least some breakfast in their stomach and the allusion that we’ve brushed their hair (and they’ve run a toothbrush somewhere near those teeth), and they come home to tell us it was all for naught. They went to school to twiddle their thumbs and stare into space.

No wonder these poor confused souls send home enough paperwork to make it appear the mission in first grade is to kill at least one tree a work. They need to prove to us they are actually earning their keep, and teaching our kids that 6 + 6 does indeed make 12 (frankly, they’ll never believe US if we try to tell them, so it’s a relief someone is trying).

Now if only someone would teach ME not to waste an early afternoon asking her about school.

What’s your secret to getting the kids to talk?

Image via OrangeAcid/Flickr

Comments

  1. Question #1: Did anyone get in trouble today? (That often leads somewhere interesting. Also, it's as close as second grade gets to gossip.)Question #2: Who did you sit with at lunch? (Last night at dinner that segued into a discussion of square dancing–which they're doing in PE–and a demonstration with the dog.)Bonus Round (only good when picking her up): Tell me about school or I'll do a song and dance number LOUD in front of your friends. But 98% of the time the question "what did you do in school today" would be answered with "nothing."

  2. Hi Jeanne. I'm a fellow blogger and proud mom of a daughter. It was great reading your post on 'Why I only want one child' on Babble. My husband and I have a daughter who turns two next week. Well, my husband is absolutely certain he wants only one child but I'm on the fence and it's for all the wrong reasons. It's almost like I would consider having a second child just so that my daughter can have someone she can lean on to in the future (my husband says she can learn to bond with her cousins). And, what about them friends? Well, needless to say, everything revolves around our first and I don't know if it's even fair to have a second baby as a playmate for the first!!!!I love your natural writing style.Keep them coming.

  3. Hi Jeanne. I'm a fellow blogger and proud mom of a daughter. It was great reading your post on 'Why I only want one child' on Babble. My husband and I have a daughter who turns two next week. Well, my husband is absolutely certain he wants only one child but I'm on the fence and it's for all the wrong reasons. It's almost like I would consider having a second child just so that my daughter can have someone she can lean on to in the future (my husband says she can learn to bond with her cousins). And, what about them friends? Well, needless to say, everything revolves around our first and I don't know if it's even fair to have a second baby as a playmate for the first!!!!I love your natural writing style.Keep them coming.

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