A friend recently asked me how I get my 12-year-old to talk because her tween merely gives her grunts.
I told her I couldn’t relate; because my son tells me everything. He’s a big talker, especially in the car, where I’m his hostage/captive audience.
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I get to hear about what happened at lunch, all the jokes he told during the day (because he thinks he’s hilarious), what David Dobrik is doing on Tik Tok and how he plans to do the same for his four followers (one of which is me).
The only thing he won’t talk about is homework *insert eye roll.*
But, my kid doesn’t just talk about himself; he’ll ask me questions about Trump. About World War II. About Cancer. About the property market. About drugs (I am quizzed incessantly about those!). About sport. About Greta Thunberg.
Like his mum, this child’s curiosity about the world around him is limitless. He’s always trying to make sense of something – of everything. He loves the news, and he loves facts.
And I love that I’m his walking, talking Google. I love that he thinks I’m so smart that I’ll have all the answers. I’ll continue to love that stuff until he becomes an attitude-filled teenager who thinks he knows everything and pegs his mum as a clueless old person.
The truth is, I am already a clueless old-person. There are so many things that he asks me that I really don’t have the answers to. Stuff about science, space, the human body. Stuff that maybe I once knew at school, and has been replaced by knowledge about how to do your own taxes and make allergy-friendly brownies.
Even though I’m a big believer in not lying to my son, and demonstrating that it’s ok to not know everything, I’ll admit, there are times when I ‘fake it til I make it’, because I’m so keen to keep being his go-to sage.
Yes, this means I improvise answers. And yes, by ‘improvise’ I mean deflect and lie.
Son: “Mum, will there ever be an earthquake in Sydney?”
Me, knowing he’s a worrier: “No, of course not…but don’t Google it.”
If I can’t come up with a speedy and legitimate-sounding response, I occasionally fake listen. I’ll pretend I didn’t hear the question, and respond with a question of my own.