Hot Chocolate Party for One: Conversations with My Son about School

hotchocolate.jpgMy son tells me very little about how he spends his half-day of kindergarten. However, once in a while, a clue to his day slips out at an unexpected time, and I immediately pounce:

Son: Do you see my face? (He proudly points to a brown smudge around his mouth and smiles slyly.) Do you think it’s dirt?

Me: Hmmm? Maybe …

Son: It’s not. It’s … HOT CHOCOLATE!!

Me: What!? You had hot chocolate at school! Why?

Son: (Already losing interest in conversation) For that reading thing?

Me: What reading thing?

Son: You know. That reading thing. The thing with the paper.

Me: (I have no idea what he is talking about). Oh ….. Okay. Did everyone get hot chocolate?

Son: Just me.

Me: Really? Just you? Did you go somewhere else to have it? Like the cafeteria? (I am now vaguely remembering a Winter Break Reading Challenge and the promise of a hot chocolate party if completed).

Son: No. I just sat by myself and had hot chocolate. I couldn’t do my work.

Me: By yourself?

Son: I didn’t really like it. But, I finished it. I was … politely! (He looks at me proudly. We recently discussed how sometimes it is polite to eat something you don’t really like if someone else made it for you. I take a moment to bask in this mom win, but then I feel bad. Perhaps, I stressed the point too much?  I hate to imagine my son gagging his way through a cup of hot chocolate just because he thought he had to finish it!).

Me: Well … that was nice of you.  Why was it bad?

Son: It just was.

Me: And, really, no one else had hot chocolate with you? You sat alone? You couldn’t do your work?

Son:  (He shrugs, wanders off, and calls over his shoulder) There were marshmallows, though!

End scene.

So, as far as my know, my son was rewarded for reading ten books over winter break by sitting alone somewhere in his classroom and drinking hot chocolate he didn’t even like. And, all the while, he was not allowed to do any of his work.

I know this is not the whole story, and this is an endless source of frustration for me. It would be nice to have a play-by-play of his days. I would love someone to fill in all of the missing gaps of information.  But, I know I can’t sneak into his school and peak through the window; I can’t ask the teacher for a detailed itinerary each and every day.

Logically, I know that this is how it is supposed to be. Kindergarten is the first of many giant steps that my boy will take away from me. But, that doesn’t mean I have to like it!

However, through these conversations (these interrogations that produce only half stories), I am at least able to get a glimpse of my son’s behavior while apart from me. I can see how he acts when I am not there to guide him with my mom looks or my gentle nudges in the right direction.

I am still amazed to think that my son “politely” drank the hot chocolate. He didn’t proclaim loudly that he didn’t like it. He didn’t say “ewww” or “this is gross.” He didn’t shove it away. This boggles my mind because he performs a variety of these actions each and every night at the dinner table.

And better yet, even though he seemed somewhat underwhelmed by this hot chocolate treat, he ended on a positive …. There were marshmallows, though!

Although, I have no idea what really happened during this mysterious “hot chocolate party,” I am so pleased that he is able to focus on the positive. I hope this is something he is able to do each and every day at school.

I know that soon enough there will be days when he doesn’t want to be at school.  He will fail a test, forget his homework, or have a fight with a friend. And during these times, if he can remember to focus on the good, taking a moment to look hard enough to find it, these incidents will not bother him so much.  If he is not bogged down with the heavy task of focusing so much on the disappointments, success in school- and life- will be so much easier.

So, how do you get your kids to tell you about their days? Clearly, I am not doing such a great job in this department! I would love to hear your ideas!

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19 thoughts on “Hot Chocolate Party for One: Conversations with My Son about School

  1. Aw. I was worried this sweet story was headed towards a post about the decline of the public school system. (It never did, i know) Good for you realizing that you only got half the story and you both see the positives! I have a kindergartener too and I love seeing her day through her eyes. Shes so easy going and matter of fact like your son. Like they float through unaffected, observing but enjoying. Her worst problem in school life was when the kids in class “kept touching my pompom” on a sweatshirt she wore to school. I dont ever hear much about how the day went but the more interested and less ‘questiony’ i am when she drops info bombs (“we couldnt walk to the bakery today cause the store baker person broke her back and is home resting!”) the more often i get them.

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  2. You’re doing just fine! But I can identify–I find out more about my children’s experiences at school by eavesdropping on their conversations with each other than by what they tell me. Can imagine it will only get tougher to figure out as they get older…

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  3. My kids are home with me all day, so no advice there, but way to go that he focused on the positive. It’s also possible that the situation wasn’t so grim as he made it sound. Maybe it was just a small cup and he finished it in two minutes. Then he could join his friends and do his work. But I get the frustration of not getting the full story. I feel that way with my husband when he tells me about stuff at work. I keep asking questions that he didn’t think to ask the person he was talking to. Classic male/female dilemma!

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  4. I can picture sharing in your frustration when you’re not able to know everything that happened during his day! I’m looking forward to these learned lessons when my daughter starts going to school. 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

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  5. Haha, what a mysterious party indeed. I relate SOOOO MUCCCH to this post. My four year old tells me nothing. And I die to know every single detail because I’m still obsessed with watching him grow. Luckily, I work at his school, so I can usually get updates from the teacher and sometimes, I find sneaky ways to ask one of his little friends on our playdates details about their school day. I realize after typing that how crazy I sound. lol

    I thoroughly enjoyed this!

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  6. Thank you for capturing this simple moment! I love to talk to my kids about their days at bedtime (they aren’t in school yet), and ask lots of questions! A few minutes with my full attention is all they need to start talking (at this age!)

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    • Bedtime is usually the best time to get my son talking, too. His sister isn’t around to interrupt, and he wants me to stay in his room as long as possible. I guess it is a win-win. He doesn’t have to go to bed as early; I get some info.! Thanks for your comments! 🙂

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  7. (didn’t read the above article) BUT I used to ask “I heard that something weird happened in school today” “Does that kid still talk while the teacher’s talking?” “Did you stay on Green all day?” … just silly stuff to get some reaction! And your child is phenomenal: politely drinking his hot chocolate 🙂

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  8. Great post! My daughter loves talking about her day, but i get nothing from my son. I try to ask in different ways, at different times of the day, but it doesnt really work. He did tell me though he won at a race the other day and he was happy cuz i made a huge deal out of it. Hopefully it’ll get better 😘

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    • I’m hoping it gets better for me, too! Lately, the only time I get anything out of him is HOURS after he should have been sleeping! So frustrating because I want to hear his stories, but he needs to get some sleep!

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