When things calmed down, we would ask the kids about their day and they would usually have forgotten everything except the most recent events. So I would end up prompting them through a blow-by-blow of their most fantastic accomplishments, such as staying dry for 20 minutes or drawing a squiggle that almost resembled kind of a letter O.
Then a friend mentioned that each night at dinner they went around the table and each person had to share the best and worst parts of their days. We thought this sounded like a great way to find out what things were making the biggest impact on our kids (in the event that we couldn't tell from the screaming) and to let them know what things were important to us.
For my best part, I'll usually share something fun that we did together or that I did with Dan, or an accomplishment that I felt particularly good about. This shows the kids that I enjoy their company, love being with their dad, and have goals and projects for myself that make me feel good inside. For my worst part, I talk about something that was frustrating to me or some mistake I've made that I want to do better on tomorrow. Every once in a while, I'll mention something they did that made my day harder so they can see that they have an impact on me and the family.
I do try to steer clear of laying guilt trips or placing blame on them for ruining my day. How traumatic would it be if every day your mom said that the worst part of her day was something you did?
I love hearing about what's going on in their little minds. For the longest time Magoo would say that the best part of his day was A BIG T-REX and the worst part of his day was... A BIG T-REX. He would squidge up his face deep in thought before proclaiming the same answer every. single. time. As much as I loved it, I would like to know more about his actual experiences so for Magoo I ask him what the bad sad part of his day was and what the good happy part of his day was. He's now moved on to saying that the worst part of his day was when Laylee HIT HIM and the best part of his day was when Laylee DIDN'T HIT HIM AGAIN.
Laylee really digs deep and comes up with great answers sometimes. Frequently she'll say that she has no worse part and that the best part was "the whole day." I love those days because she truly means it. She's a really happy kid.
And she loves being the one to ask each of us about our days. She gets this grown up expression on her face and nods at me. "Mom. Thank you for this yummy dinner and what's the best and worst part of your day?" When we have guests over, she insists that they each share as well. It's a real highlight and she puts a lot of thought into it.
I'm not normally into ranking or categorizing experiences but for some reason this question frequently sparks some great discussion. We try to ask for the worst part first so we can end on a positive note and I'm surprised to find that I often can't think of a worst part either.
Today I think the best parts will likely be going to a parade where grown adults dress up as vegetables and then going home and lighting large sums of money on fire. The worst part... that it will have to come to an end.