It was a simple moment, really.
I was sitting on the floor, Aly was sitting on the couch. We were lounging just before bed. Heidi was upstairs taking Tay to the woodshed for a misdemeanor of some sort. Kami was gone on a Middle School retreat, so Aly and I were just sitting silent in the living room together.
The knee-jerk reaction is the turn on the television to break the awkward silence, if only to have some white noise in the background to distract you from the fact that you're alone in the same room together. It's funny how much we hate simplicity and silence almost allergically reacting to its presence. But I try to lean into these moments not letting them force my hand.
I leaned back against the couch and asked Aly a simple question that led to thread of questions:
1. What is your favorite smell? At first she sat there stunned both by the nature of the question and a wonderment as to the out-of-nowhere reason behind it. But I tilted my head and asked her again. She gave me an answer that I wouldn't have know if I hadn't of asked point-blank. This made me more curious...
2. What is your favorite sight?
3. What is your favorite taste? (I was working my way through the senses)
4. What is your favorite feeling with your fingers?
5. What is your favorite sound? (a horse chewing grass)
This led to another line of questions just off the "5 senses" path...
6. What is your favorite thing to hear said to you? (she said "good job, Aly")
7. What is your favorite name to be called? (she said Grace)
8. What is your favorite memory?
9. What is your favorite thing you've ever written?
10. What is your favorite word or phrase?
11. What is your favorite thing we do as a family?
This led me to something called "word association" where I say a word and she says the first word that comes to her mind related to what I said. This is astounding and a great way to get to know your child's unedited thoughts without them knowing you were peeling back there facade.
16. Ice Cream
We went on and on...from one topic to the next, one word to the next...and out of nothing we created a moment that was precious.
If you're ever looking for something simple to do with your child...sometimes it's so obvious that you miss it. Questions. When they're young, they love being interrogated and you gotta seize this opening while you still have the chance...'cause whether we like it our not, the window gets harder to open the older they get and the colder we get.
Sometimes I think our kids just want to know if we care about them and want to know what they think about stuff.