The response is usually the same – a half-hearted shrug followed by a grunt. Teenagers don’t like to share, we’re told, and they’re especially resistant to discussing the inner workings of high school. It’s an emotionally toxic time, when the rush of hormones meets the pressures of the adult world.
That shouldn’t be the case with my four-year-old son, Elijah. Yet if I get so much as a half-hearted shrug when I pick him up from pre-preschool I consider it a victory. Sometimes I spike an imaginary football to honor the moment.
Elijah didn’t suffer through any obvious nerves when he first starting going to school. He quickly embraced the concept, found new friends and discovered teachers who took great care with him and his fellow classmates.
Frankly, how they keep a class full of four-year-olds under such firm but loving control is a miracle.
The best I can get each day are snippets of his school experiences. He’ll mention something about a Humpty Dumpty story that I’ll try to piece back together, but the revelation is over before it began. Or, he’ll describe a cupcake he snarfed down during class, but once more the information spigot shuts off.
What I really want to see is how he interacts with his peers. Is he as funny and dear in school as he is at home? Is he getting picked on? Does he speak in that insanely annoying voice he adopts when he meets a stranger for the first time?
The challenges of school haven’t truly begun yet. His school days mostly involve crafts, playing outdoors and one party after another. Lindsay Lohan doesn’t live it up like my son and his classmates. We haven’t even approached the days of bullying, report cards and, gulp, school crushes.
Any suggestions on how I can get Eli to open up about his school daze? I fear the little information I get from him now may be the most I ever receive in the years to come.