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  • I had to go back to work three months after my son was born. As a result I missed many "firsts" and would hear about them from whatever daycare provider he had.

    As the years went on and he became a talker and started preschool, I yearned to hear how his day went - all the boring details!

    But, boys aren't too talkative - at least not in that way. And children don't really think in a linear fashion. So when I would say, "Tell me about your day!"
    Silence.
    "What did you do today?"
    Silence.
  • But I learned that at bedtime he was more reflective but still not able to answer such straightforward questions. So I deviced a way to get the information, which turned out to be rather brilliant if I say so myself!

    I called it the "Eli story."

    It would start out like this -
    "Once upon a time there was a little boy named Eli. He had a mother and a father and a cat named snowball."

    The story always started that way and as he got to know the story I would leave blanks such as,
    "Once upon a time there was a little boy named _____."

    I would pause and he would say, "Eli."

    I was pleased to see him get engaged in the story. Then I would go on and say,
    ... "and he went to preschool. When he got to preschool he hung up his backpack. Then he sat in a chair and the teacher gave him a snack of cookies.

    Eli would then say,
    "No mommy, we had crackers."

    "Then the class played with the blocks and built things."

    "No mommy, we colored pictures."

    And so it would go... and by the end of the story I would have a pretty good idea of how his day went.

    He looked forward to the nightly story and I think relished correcting his mommy on all her mistakes. There were a few times that I got some important information, such as bullying or things teachers said or yelled, etc., then I could follow up. Also, as the years went by he did more of the story than I did, hence was more able to reflect on his own day.

    The Eli story worked while he was little but as he matured and caught onto my technique, it came to an end. But by then we had an established communication.
  • I was reflecting on this today, for a completely different reason. I was thinking about the stories we tell ourselves, about our day or our lives, and how we spin them, with no one to really correct us, especially when the story is in our own head.

    "Once upon a time there was a little girl named Rose. She lived in a palace with a handsome prince and had a white horse with a beautiful black main."

    "No mommy, you're not a little girl, you don't live in a castle, daddy's not a prince, and you have a dog."

    "Hey Eli, who's telling this story!"

    As I was saying, ....

    "Once upon a time ..."
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