Recently, a friend and fellow neighborhood mom posted these questions you can use to get your kids talking about their school day. Apparently, others were struggling to get anywhere with “Hi honey, how was your day?” After too few words and no insights, this brilliant author came up with a much more thoughtful and detailed set. I clicked immediately and bookmarked the page for future reference.
As good as they are, however, they don’t come close to answering my real questions. Separated from my kids all day, there are deep, important things I want to know like...
- When you went to school on the first day wearing multiple strings of Mardi Gras beads as a sash, did the principal look like she thought I drink too much?
- When you took the ham off your sandwich and slurped it into your mouth while saying, “I love pig,” did your vegan teacher look disappointed or just nauseous? (Mental note: Casually mention that awesome veggie blog I LOVE AND USE ALL THE TIME the next time I see him.)
- When you got on the bus today, did the bus driver's thighs appear to be sticking to the seat? Mine always do. Not sexy. As for the bus driver, it takes a special person to do that job. I don't get it. This is the real reason I don’t want to go on your zoo field trip (Oh. I mean because of my sticky thighs, not hers.)
- When your teacher said good morning to you, did you answer or just make animal noises? Should I be Google-ing speech pathology, dolphin training, or Xanax (for myself)? Please try to all the words I taught you. (Except that one, dammit.)
- When your teacher asked a question of the class, how many other students (besides you) appeared to have the right answer? I’d like to get a sense of where “we’re” going to land on the curve.
- What did every single other person at your table eat for lunch? Did anyone have a Lunchable? Please tell me their full name so I can deduce who their mother is. I want to be friends with her. All my current, Pinterest-hacking friends are getting to be a bit much. I have immediate openings for people who appreciate a good short-cut.
- Still on lunch, did anyone have healthy-looking items cut into adorable “kid-appealing” shapes? Did these kids share a compelling before and after story about how they now love red peppers because their mom cut them into hearts and unicorns? Now, estimate exactly how many small, brightly colored Tupperwares were used. I’ll be needing their names for a different list of mine.
- At recess, did you, like, play or hang out as close to the door and the teachers as you could before being shoo’d back towards the monkey bars? No? Guess that was just me. I actually hate recess more than thigh-stick.
- On the bus home, did it smell like Cheez-its and industrial glue? Despite huge advances in air freshening technology over the last several decades, bus drivers are still holding out. At this point, we can safely assume they enjoy it as much as the thigh-stick. Special people. Again, I don't get it.
What these all come down to is my intense desire to know how I stack up as a mom. Insecure and self-absorbed? Sure. A little preemptively judge-y? Yep. It’s just that I’m not there with them at school to explain, excuse, or provide any other context to my kids’ comments and actions. And, they reflect on me and how well I’m doing in my job as mom. When they look good, I look good. That’s the deal, right?
Without a more formal, annual performance reviews, I’m left to scraping together data points at the end of their day. So, kid, just tell me how your day went and everything will be just fine. Dammit.