Can We Talk?

Really? Really? Now??
Really? Really? Now??


Like any parent, I want my children to feel like they can talk to me. I want them to feel comfortable running things by me, talking through situations. Generally chit chatting about their days. At least, that’s what I maintain on my Mom resumé. The truth is that often those times I am ready, willing and able to lend an ear seem to be the times when they:

A. Have nothing to say;
B. Are sneakily withholding certain information for ransom;
C. Content to answer my provocative and thoughtful prompts with grunts and eye rolls.

There are exceptions to this rule of course. I realized this the other evening as I was reaching for my keys, coat and make-up on for a night out, when someone suddenly developed the need to open their heart to me, to spill their deepest, darkest fears. To tell me about the girlfriend they seemingly acquired overnight or a newly developed paralyzing fear or whatever it happened to be that time.

Well played children. Well played.

Why is it my children only seem to want to have a heart to heart when I’m running out the door or laden with an armful of heavy groceries?

Will we ever get to watch this show??
Will we ever get to watch this show??

Or at bedtime, when I’ve got my finger on the button to watch the Game of Thrones finale I’ve been trying to watch for a week while avoiding all spoilers on the internet;

Or when they’re pooping;

Or in the bike lane during rush hour when there are crazy Danes in lycra coming up the inside and cars whoosing by on the outside;

Or in the middle of the night when I find one of them staring at me like some child horror movie actor by the side of the bed;

Or trying to hear the GPS when we’re lost and already half an hour late;

Or when I’m in the shower shaving my bikini line;

Or when I’m on the phone having reached a human being after being on hold for forty minutes;

Or when they’re supposed to be doing their homework;

Or with a mouthful of food;

Or before I’ve had my first cup of coffee;

Or in the middle of a conversation with anyone else??

Sure. Of course now is a good time to talk to me about your diorama!
Sure. Of course now is a good time to talk to me about your WW II diorama!

Maybe they do it because they know chances are I’ll only be half listening and they’ll be able to get away with something. Maybe they’re afraid of my reaction or afraid of their own feelings or even afraid of their own questions, so they choose these listening (but not listening) times to test the waters.

Hey, if she’s banging pots and pans around like a camper trying to scare off a bear, she’s probably not listening to me tell her that I got in trouble at school or that I asked a girl to the dance or found a hair growing down there…

So the next time I’m cooking dinner and one of them is sitting on the toilet chatting away about their day, I’ll try to listen more and listen better. But honestly, as they get older and the space between their bedtime and mine gets compressed, there’s only a small window of time in which I can watch grown up shows like Game of Thrones and Bloodline.

So boys take note: save your truest heart to hearts for rerun season and we’ll all be good.


12 thoughts on “Can We Talk?

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  1. Ooh, I had one of those moments just this weekend. I was an emotional basket case from dealing with a major extended family issue, and our daughter came down with her own crisis that involved tears and loooong talks. Great timing. Always.


    1. Sometimes I really do think they time it that way. I wouldn’t put it above their little, Machiavellian minds. It’s the same phenomenon that dictates the more attention you give them, the more they demand. As soon as they see your head space occupied by something else, they think, “Hey! That head space is not occupied by me! What’s going on?” ;-). Or who knows? Maybe everything up there loosens up when they’re pooping ;-).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sitting down talking about feelings and experiences is not really a thing appreciated by boys. Language is not a wavelength they’re on, yet. They don’t do that with their friends, and they probably don’t feel like doing it with you…


  3. Our best heart to hearts were during Mario Kart matches. Serious talk while staring at the screen, trying to keep cartoon characters on a fantastical track. It worked though. He plays Uno and Yahtzee with his therapist pretty often as a way to talk through things without the sit and staredown that can be uncomfortable 🙂


    1. That sounds about right. I know that it makes sense, and I’ve written about my kids doing this at bedtime, in the dark, which also makes sense (like if I can’t see you, I can’t see the problem either…). The one that makes me laugh though is the sitting on the toilet. Always! And we have a bathroom right off the kitchen, so I’m cooking dinner, their telling me about their day….I know in a few years I’ll miss their chatter though!


  4. This made me laugh out loud. My kindergartener is already starting this. It is a big game to her to tell me how her day was now…Mommy, ask me when we get home, then…mommy ask me when we eat dinner, then…mommy ask me at bedtime. Seriously, child tell what you did today…I missed you!


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