"Ivy, brush your teeth. Ivy brush your teeth. Did you brush them? That wasn't long enough, brush them again and hum your ABC's. Did you rinse? Spit? Oh, don't swallow the toothpaste water. Mouthwash? Ok. Oh wait, go back in and wipe the toothpaste off your face. Yes, there's toothpaste on your face."
"Ivy, let's get in the car. Ivy, it's time to leave. Wait, maybe you should wear something different. Come on, you need to change, you'll be uncomfortable. Ok, at least take off the cinderella click clack heels. OK, you can wear the fur coat, but put on slippers. Or your TOMS. I don't know where your TOMS are, just wear slippers. Ok, let's get in the car. Hurry, we're running late. Do you need help up into the car? Yes, I know it's hot, you're wearing a fur coat."
These are the common conversations that take place between Ivy (age 4 & three-quarters) and I all day long. Between the daily necessities like getting dressed and brushing teeth, and the daily schedule of getting places on time and making sure meals are on the table, sometimes conversations with your kids can be, well, quantity, not quality.
Tonight I read Ivy a book, like we always do at bed time. When I finished, I could tell she was still wanting to talk. She said she wished she could make her own book. So I asked her,
"If you could write a book,
what would you write about?"
Ivy: "You, and daddy, and me. And grandma, and grandpa, and baby Chad." (Baby Chad is a little boy my parents watch).
Me: "And what would we do?"
Ivy: "Hold on, I'm thinking. It has to be something easy for me to draw... (pause)… We would go to a flower shop. And get a lot of flowers and take them home."
Me: "And then give them to people?"
Ivy: "No. I want to keep them at our house so we can look at them, cause they're pretty."
I liked talking with Ivy like this. I liked being face-to-face with her and hearing about the things she thought about on her own. No interruptions, no inhibitions, just speaking from her own mind. I could psychoanalyze a few things about this short conversation:
-Why not challenge yourself with something harder to draw?
-Don't you want to share the flowers with others?
But I didn't (out loud). That wasn't the point. For me, the point was listening to my child and giving her my undivided attention. She has the chance to express her thoughts, to me. I plan to continue looking for ways to have more face-to-face conversations with her, and sharing those questions with you. Try asking your child this question. I'd love to hear his/her answer!