Bedtime has shifted into one of my favorite parts of the day. Oh, there is still the nightly struggle of brushing teeth, going potty and wrangling my two bouncing-off-the-walls monkeys into their actual beds. But, once our heads finally hit the pillow, I have found that that is when the juiciest of school stories come out.
It is so odd to me, but Maylie tells me very little after school. It’s like there is this secret kid code where they can only share minimal pieces of their day throughout the evening. And it isn’t for my lack of trying. Every single evening, I ask Maylie how her day went, and I am lucky to get a one-word answer. I always pry on. I mean, I have read all the advice articles of “things to ask your kids other than ‘how was your day’.”
I stick to the open-ended questions — ones that require more than a “yes” or a “no” — and I still get minimal answers.
“What was your favorite part of the day?”
“What was your least favorite part of the day?”
“What about the actual school day? What did you learn that was new?”
“Our sight word this week is ‘like.’”
That is it. That is all I get throughout the evening. Trying to get the full scoop on any other answers during dinner, homework or bath time seems impossible. She has no desire to share her day, and I am literally chomping at the bit to know what she did.
And then we hit bedtime.
I am not sure if the darkness gives her a sense of safety and feeling of confidence or if it is because she knows she needs to be closing those little eyes and resting up for the next day, but the little girl starts spilling it all. It’s almost like she knows that if she just keeps talking about her day, she can hold me ransom for a half hour and get out of going to sleep because I am that eager to hear about it.
And does she ever talk! It is in our pillow talks that I have learned that recess is amazing because she gets to spend it with friends but scary because some of them are zombies. But, don’t worry, because her and her friends have a plan. She just isn’t sure yet what all her friends’ names are.
It wasn’t until bedtime that I learned that she can say the Pledge of Allegiance. (She needs to work on “indivisible,” but what kid doesn’t?). Oh, and she can also count to 10 in Spanish. (No clues offered on how she learned that.)
While my heart ached a bit as the innocence crept out of her tiny little soul, she shared what they do during a lockdown drill and made it clear to me that they have to be silent and not just quiet if a “bandit” comes into school — which may be difficult if she has a cough. She even encouraged us to practice it at home.
We have discussed one girl’s desire to marry a boy and how gross that is, yet how one boy used to be mean to my Maylie and is now nice and she, too, might want to marry him, all in the same breath. Of course, being a total mom, I went on about the importance and deeper meaning of marriage which she interrupted abruptly with no desire to actually hear what I was saying.
Wait, you’re still 5, right? I’m not sure I can handle all this. Yet, I cannot stop listening. Yes, maybe she is pouring out her heart because she is attempting to avoid bedtime at all cost, but she surely has my attention.
Many times, in the past, I have longed for bedtime to end. I have yearned to be able to kiss my kids goodnight after bedtime prayers and just walk out of the room.
But, it’s different now. I no longer can consult with the sitter on what went on throughout the day. My only insight into what my girl experienced that day now has to come from her. And, at this point, I will take it whenever she will dish it out.
So, I listen to every single semi-dramatic word that leaves her little lips. And I grasp on to them. Because I want her to forever feel the security in sharing her day with me.
Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her husband, Paul, and their daughters, her writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.