I mostly have no idea what my child does when she isn’t with me. What happens in her brain is an utter mystery. She goes to school and comes home and there could have been a dinosaur springing out of the playground and Debra and I would remain utterly unaware. Sure, we can ask open-ended questions but we can’t expect a reply. It’s as if she can’t believe we haven’t learned our lesson by now. Sometimes she even shakes her head, as if to say, Really, mama? Still?
But every so often, the Iron Curtain guarding her thoughts drops and she’ll speak in entire sentences and tumbles of words. We’ll hear about something she learned recently and occasionally hear about something she did with her friends (which we don’t actually know if she has or who they might be given the Curtain). I resist probing her teachers for information about her work outside of parent-teacher meetings. I know so much about her life, what her bellybutton looks like when she turns it inside out, the way she likes to floss her teeth, how she feels about chicken nuggets (bad, very very bad) that it seems okay that I don’t know everything.
After she spills forth information she’ll say “that was a long talk, mama” and then we know it’s over. Access denied. Even when it’s still possible to peer into the void, it’s wisest not to ask questions lest she shut down completely. Is this what it’s going to be like in a few years? Should I have ordered a babbling kid? This one keeps her own counsel. I hope it’s nice inside her brain. I certainly wouldn’t know.