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Need More Info

Boys are predisposed to underwhelm their mothers with information. And mothers are predisposed to need details. (DETAILS! Lots and lots of DETAILS!)

It is an inconvenient combination, to say the least.

The amount of information I can get out of my sons is declining yearly. Maybe testosterone has adhesive qualities. I think it makes their mouths stick shut.

My husband assures me that I shouldn't fret; it is just the way of things with the male of our species. (And he should know. I cannot tell you how many times something really big has happened to him at the office, and he comes home, changes clothes, eats dinner, plays with the kids, watches some soccer, has a snack, and only THEN casually mentions that "oh, by the way, such-and-such happened to me today." And I say, "SERIOUSLY? You're just now telling me? I would've called you the minute it happened. And I would've told you what Mr. Such-and-Such was wearing, and I would've told you how I FELT about this, and what this means to me, and what we possibly should do next." And then Hubs gets a look on his face that may or may not be interpreted as "I'm really glad you don't work in my office.")

But, he tells me, boys will naturally need to keep some things to themselves, or to share only with their friends or brothers, or possibly their Dad. It's a little bittersweet, but I understand. I'm learning to give them some space, whenever possible. I don't pepper them with questions the minute they get in the car. I’ve learned that if I give them some space to unwind and share on their own terms, I’m likely to get more information.

Plying them with homemade baked goods also helps.

Paradoxically, my most uncommunicative son has a second-grade teacher who wholeheartedy encourages communication with parents. I have never known a teacher who is more thorough in keeping parents abreast with classroom events. I appreciate this more than I can say, because if the information flow were up to him, I’d be in serious trouble.

As part of her parent-involvement strategy, she has her students record the day’s events in a journal, and we parents sign it at the end of the day. Unfortunately, I’m not sure my taciturn boy is taking to it as enthusiastically as she’d like. Here, for example, is his report from a couple of weeks ago:

You will notice that every single day that week, my son was the beneficiary of knowledge about…


And in a dazzling show of adjectives, he reports that each day was…


(Except September 24th, which was, clearly, a banner day, as it was “goooooooooooooood.” Don’t ask me what was so goooooooooooooood about it, because I don’t know – I unfortunately didn’t have any baked goods handy that afternoon.)

Learning “stuff” about “good” days may be the normal way of things, but it also makes me treasure that much more the occasional, never-planned-so-I’d-better-be-ready-for-it conversation in which I get a little peek into my boys’ hearts. Those moments come when I least expect them, and they are gems. They make the days of “good stuff” worth the head-scratching.

If occasionally spotty information is the price for my front-row seat at watching these boys become men, then I’d say I’ve gotten a very good deal.


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