If I’ve seen one, I’ve seen a million ideas about what to ask your child instead of “Did you have a good day?” This is actually one of my favorites ideas for connecting with my kids after school.
As I pick my son up on the playground, I always ask – did he have a good day?
But I’m not asking him. I’m asking his teacher.
“Yeah. He had a good day today. He really enjoyed math and was completely engaged in our read aloud. It was really good!”
Then, as we get on the road, I repeat the question for my son, “Did you have a good day?”
The answer comes back yes.
And now, I can exhale.
I can breathe lighter.
Getting the same answer from both my son and his teacher is a relief.
Validation – one of the other.
My heart soars knowing my son had a good day in the midst of a world that teeters between challenging and impossible for him to navigate on any given day.
I know. I know.
So many moms are hoping for any answer other than “Good.” They want more.
For them, “good” isn’t enough.
They work overtime trying to come up with the perfect question to get tangible information. Or they search for the perfect activity to relax their child and coax them into giving up details.
We aren’t those families.
For us, “good” is fantastic.
Why I Still Ask My Son “How Was Your Day?”
When I hear “good,” I can exhale.
Good is amazing.
For me, I wait all day to hear “good.”
For my son, this isn’t a perfunctory answer.
It’s a genuine response and there are many other choices that I’ve heard – terrifying, dangerous, terrible, horrible, or my teacher hates me more than anyone else in the world – take your pick.
When those are the answers… then I don’t have the luxury of breathing easy.
I’m caught in a confusing tangle of decisions – do I intervene? Can he handle this? Will tomorrow be completely different?
Just as we were winding down, that evening my inbox dings.
As I begin reading an email from the school counselor, I realize that I may have exhaled too soon:
I was working with your son in class today and he was walking in circles, circling, circling. The teacher said it was time for lunch and he kept circling. I asked him if he heard what his teacher said and he said “Yes! It’s time to lick butts!” He didn’t say this to get a laugh out of his peers – just at me in an angry tone. I took it to mean, “please don’t ask me obvious questions. If you do, you will get a sarcastic response.” He touches his friend a lot and they ignore it for a while before asking him to stop. Then, he makes odd noises really close to their ears. This seems like an attempt to get their attention but it is obviously just annoying them.
I definitely exhaled too soon.
Not. A. Good. Day.
I can feel any emotional buoyancy I had draining away.
You see… my son is gifted.
Learning is his gift.
What becomes of him if school is this much of a struggle for him? What can I do if I’m always told that he had a good day?
But he didn’t.
He was circling, circling, circling. He told the counselor that it was time to “lick butts.” He was making odd noises. He’s annoying his friends.
I messaged a friend who dwells in my same trenches. Her son is returning this year to school after having been homeschooled for four years.
She’s been through a series of gut wrenching IEP meetings and finally settled on a good program for him.
Today was a “good day.”
And still – he locked himself in a locker today, she tells me.
And with her revelation – I got it.
“Good” means something different for my son and her son than it might for yours.
And just like the worry that caused my son to circle during a moment of transition in class and to share his (albeit untimely) gift for sarcasm – that moment in time does not a bad day make for my child.
See, here’s the thing.
Everything is relative.
My son’s good day may not be the same as your child’s good day.
But for my son, today WAS a good day.
- He was surrounding by loving, capable teachers and friends who understand his behavior and who understand what he needs in the moment.
- He is surrounded by people who understand gifted kids with learning disabilities.
- He is surrounded by people who understand that he is more that the totality of letters that form his collective diagnoses.
- They understand that he has the kindest of hearts.
- They understand that there isn’t a mean bone in this child’s body.
- They also understand that there are a lot of worried bones in there.
- And that his head and his heart literally hurt when those worried bones worry overtime.
- They understand that there are days when he is so consumed by his worry that he cannot function.
So being surrounded by this army of people who genuinely care for my child, understand him, and keep him safe IS a good day for my son.
It wasn’t what I ever dreamed a “good day” at school would look like.
It wasn’t what I ever expected or hoped to hear.
And I’ve been in the trenches with ADD and SPD and anxiety for a hella’ long time.
So for us, “good” will continue to be fantastic.
And each time I hear “good,” I will exhale.
Written by an Anonymous Sensory Momma in the Trenches, just like you. To join other sensory momma looking for support, you might want to join one of these support groups.
Thanks for being part of the Lemon Lime Adventures community. For those of you that are new here, I want you to know you are not alone. Loving children that don’t fit in a nice pretty box comes with ups and downs, twists and turns, but together… we’ve got this.
I invite you to join me on Facebook or in the Superkids Movement, where we are challenging ourselves to see our children’s behaviors as a cry for help and we are building a toolbox and language to build them up and create a lasting relationship.
In my new best-selling book, The Superkids Activity Guide to Conquering Every Day, I have created a toolbox written for you and your child to change their inner language and the way the world sees our children.