One of my favorite times to talk with my kids is in the car on the way to and from school. Some days we talk about nonsense. Other times discussion shifts to all kinds of things: political meanings, death, rabbits, hunger and poverty, puppies, missing friends, all kinds of stuff. And then there are the secrets that come out…Here’s one late November day on the way to school with my 8 y/o twins:
Mom: What should we get daddy for Christmas?
Boy: Dark chocolate.
Girl: Yeah, the kind he likes with lots of nuts in it.
Mom: Well, I always put that in his stocking. But what else should we get him?
Girl: I liked when I got that candy cane full of m&m’s in my stocking.
Mom: We’re talking about what to get daddy
Girl: Oh yeah.
Mom: Like bike gear, hockey gear…I’ll have to try and figure out what he needs. I can always buy him clothes. He likes not having to shop for them. But he’s hard to get gifts ideas for.
Boy: You maaay say it’s too expensive, but how about a new motorcycle?!
Mom: That’s WAY too expensive!
Boy: How about and even bigger new tractor?!
Mom: Daddy, definitely doesn’t need a new tractor!
Girl: Every year I ask Santa for a real, not stuffed, not fake, not toy, but a REAL magical unicorn. But I’ve never gotten one! Santa’s supposed to be magic?
Mom: Well there aren’t going to be a lot of REAL unicorns around, and I’m sure there’s a lot of little girls asking for one….you’re probably on a long waiting list.
Girl with impish grin to mom : We stop stealing sodas from the kitchen when it’s December so we won’t get on the naughty list.
Girl to mom: It’s your fault we steal. If you gave us sodas more often we wouldn’t have to steal them.
Mom, laughing: So, your life of crime is my fault?
Girl and Boy with great glee: Yeah!
Boy, excited, to mom: We wait at the top of the stairs until you leave the kitchen, and then we run down and steal a bunch of cans!
Girl: Then we take them behind a tree outside.
Mom: So, behind a tree in the yard is a pile of empty soda cans?
Girl and Boy while passing guilty looks between each other: Um, er. Nope. Er, um. No cans out there!
Boy to mom: You leave the boxes of soda right there in the kitchen. You’re going to have to hide them better. But you don’t really care!
Girl, jumping out of the car at school drop off, turns to mom and says: Don’t look behind the trees in the yard!
And the truth is, I don’t really care. I’ve long known they were sneaking diet orange soda in clandestine raids. We were running out way too fast for it to all be from grandma who only drinks half a can at a time. My husband, of course, finds the empty cans while mowing the lawn. I suspect they realize I’m more concerned about them leaving the cans in the yard and not cleaning up after themselves! It’s a pretty mild rebellion as such things go. And they take such joy in believing they’ve pulled one over on the old grown ups!
I do love a good car conversation with the kids. You never know what you might learn!