Riley has moved into a real, no-shit preschool class at his daycare and now instead of a little scribbled form saying he ate peaches at lunch and crapped at 3 PM, he gets this longish note listing off the various class projects he took part in. Lately, according to his note, he has been learning about calendars, talking about What Is My Favorite Pet?, writing numbers, and assembling paper bag puppets. This all sounds well and good, and whenever one of us picks him up, he’s always nose-deep in some activity (a great improvement over the 2-year-old classroom free-for-all that seemed to happen starting at 4:30 PM — probably couldn’t be helped given their age and the time of day, but I always felt like there was something a little feral about fifteen kids running around brandishing toys and yelling, like they could turn Lord of the Flies at any moment and start donning war paint, hunting pigs, and bashing each other with boulders), but ask him what he did during his schoolday and all he’ll say is, “Um . . . played with toys.” Press him for details and the answers are more than a little unreliable:

“Did you play with Legos?”
“Did you play with dynamite?”
“Did you play with the ancient ruins of an Indian graveyard, resulting in a horrific spiritual uprising complete with deadly clowns and swimming-pool skeletons, just like in Poltergeist?”

It’s funny, he routinely blows my mind by proving his memory can be downright eerily accurate (one crazy example: recently he asked if we “‘membered that Christmas tree at Uncle Joe’s house” — well, yes, there WAS a Christmas tree at Uncle Joe’s . . . TWO YEARS AGO), but either he’s got a secretive ‘what happens in preschool stays in preschool’ approach to how he spends his time three days a week, or those nice smiling teachers are actually pelting the children with leather whips all day long and he’s repressing all the painful memories.

Or, you know, he’s three, and basically as inscrutable as Britney Spears in her shaved-head, umbrella-wielding days. Most of the time I suspect his skull is stuffed with equal parts Profound Fathomless Knowledge and Limitless Potential — and a giant half-chewed wad of those orange candy circus peanuts.


37 Responses to “Unpredictable”

  1. Amy on October 10th, 2008 3:14 pm

    Mine never give me details, unless I somehow trick them into it. Sigh. They are 5 and 9, not three.

  2. SART on October 10th, 2008 3:29 pm

    Nugget is the same way. We usually get “No Accidents” and “Played Outside” and sometimes, “I wrote my name and went for a walk” if we’re lucky. I keep hoping that as he gets closer to 4, he’ll start talking about his day with less prompting. Although I have found that when I am lying on his bed tucking him in for the night, he’ll open up then and tell me all sorts of fun moments from his day. Half of them probably aren’t true, but they make me laugh and keep him awake and that’s all he’s really going for. Let’s hear it for crazy 3 year old boys…

  3. Elizabeth on October 10th, 2008 3:30 pm

    My son is almost six and we still get “Nothing” as an answer to What did you do at school today? Later, he will tell me about parts of the day – if I don’t press him for details.

    I think boys are just like that!

  4. Half Assed Kitchen on October 10th, 2008 3:31 pm

    Mmm. Circus peanuts.

  5. Momma on October 10th, 2008 3:33 pm

    I hate to break it to you, It only gets worse! :)

  6. Danell on October 10th, 2008 3:58 pm

    circus peanuts…I hate them, yet now I want some. I hate being pregnant.

  7. tina on October 10th, 2008 4:02 pm

    My son (5 years old) is the same way – I have to sort of pull stuff about his day out of him. My friends with 5 year old daughters get much better stories about the day.

  8. Casey on October 10th, 2008 4:15 pm

    I’d prefer not to hear the details at this point. My kid is in the pre-2’s class with nine others and it’s a grab and bash each other’s skull fest every day. I’m just happy he makes it out alive.

  9. ashley on October 10th, 2008 4:38 pm

    Dude… I get the same story from my three year old every day. She played with her “buddies”. I know they do more than that, based on the amount or crap we bring home. It’s just hard to member. :)

  10. Lesley on October 10th, 2008 5:07 pm

    Either you’ve got a brand new look on your blog, or my machine is doing crazy things. I see a blue banner at the top with Sundry on it and no side bars.

    In any case, just stopped by to say I love the way you write about your kids. And Riley strikes me – from the recent video – as a keenly intelligent and inquisitive little person with a towering imagination and energy to match. A real delight. All credit goes to you and JB. You’re such great parents.

  11. Felicia on October 10th, 2008 5:09 pm

    Hey, new format! What happened to the sidebars, etc.?

  12. sundry on October 10th, 2008 6:07 pm

    Wow, I have NO IDEA what happened to my blog. Where is my header? Where is my wordpress theme? Where did the sidebars go? SHIT.

  13. NancyJak on October 10th, 2008 6:17 pm

    Well, I got ya all beat — 18 years old and he can remember events from when he was 2 years old. What’s happening in college? Work? with Friends? TV show he watched last night? NOTHING….It’s not gonna change.

  14. Delia on October 10th, 2008 6:18 pm

    My daughter is 16 and she still says “nothing” when I ask what she did during the day. I just have to wait until she’s ready to talk.

    I was having problems with my wordpress theme earlier also. My categories were missing. I ignored it and it fixed itself.

  15. sundry on October 10th, 2008 6:21 pm

    Well, that was downright weird — WP somehow switched to the default theme for some reason. Oookay. Well, I think it’s all back now.

  16. Lesley on October 10th, 2008 6:36 pm

    Yep, it’s your layout again and it’s loading quickly. Word Press has some odd quirks.

  17. Donna on October 10th, 2008 6:52 pm

    maybe they just never grow out of it cuz when I ask the hubby what happened at work today he says “nothing”. And then like 6 months later he’ll say you remember me telling you about …….., and I’ll go no I don’t remember and he gets all mad cuz I didn’t listen to whatever non existant story it was that he thought he told me.
    And on the other hand, I don’t tell him anything about work either. It’s boring.
    But failwhale? That’s freakin hilarious.

  18. biscuit on October 10th, 2008 10:08 pm

    I have your blog link in my wordpress sidebar + my friend clicked on you today. She said to me, “I was looking at All + Sundry today” + our other friend heard + said, “Is that the lady who has the baby with rosy cheeks?!”

    WHY YES!

  19. Amy on October 10th, 2008 11:48 pm

    Yeah, my 3-year-old daughter is the SAME way. It’s so frustrating sometimes. Crazy good memory sometimes where she’ll remember details from a year or two ago, like Riley. But we also do a “talk through your day” ritual at bedtime with her that she loves, where I basically just talk about all the different things she did that day. But *I* have to talk. Because when I press her for any details further than “what did you have for lunch?”, forget about it. And even the lunch detail is a toss-up.

    I think it’s definitely the age. They are remembering things now for longer periods and will probably remember some of this even into adulthood (oy!), but their little brains are working overtime and can’t handle some of the short term stuff very well. Hello there, Memento.

  20. beach on October 11th, 2008 4:23 am

    aahhh…and hes a boy, my 16 and 18 year old answer in yes no answers all the time….but I occasionally check their my space to find out what is really going on in their lives….I know bad mom, but hey….

  21. sara on October 11th, 2008 6:12 am

    My son (turned 3 on Wednesday) started preschool 3 weeks ago. Yesterday he brought home a fall wreath (!!) that he made. However, if I ask him – he tells me he played with Pamien (his favorite thing to try to annoy me is to replace a P at the beginning of every word) and that’s pretty much it. But, just as Riley has done – he also says things about shit that I can’t freaking remember. I’m thinking we have super secret awesome kids or it’s pretty much just the age.

  22. tash on October 11th, 2008 6:42 am

    I love those peanuts!!!

    My son is 10 and responses to questions about school are usually – “nothing” “fine” “yeah” or “cool”.

    Think I’ll ask him about the poltergeist scenario. Bet that’ll illicit a response.

    You write so damn well.

  23. argentumvulgaris on October 11th, 2008 8:13 am

    I have been through all that 11 times. Trying to get info is like pulling teeth – I should have become a dentist.

  24. Eric's Mommy on October 11th, 2008 9:09 am

    My son still barely tells me what he did in school and he is in 1st grade. I remember asking him when he was in Preschool and he would always say he did “nothing”

  25. MichelleRenee on October 11th, 2008 11:45 am

    Whenever he’s questioned about his preschool activities my 3 year old son with whisper “it’s a secret.. ”

    I think it’s code for leave me alone lady, just mind your own business.

  26. Christina on October 11th, 2008 6:33 pm

    Our 3 year old is the same way. We cannot get him to even answer us. The minute you ask him what he did during the day, he pops his thumb in mouth and stares out the window. Even with me being home on maternity leave, I will ask him what the best thing he did during the day and he will look at me like I tied him up in the closet all day and we did nothing. I figure it is just getting me ready for the pre-teen, teen years, gawd love us all!

  27. Jennie C. on October 11th, 2008 11:10 pm

    Definitely a boy thing – hubs still says, “Nothing.” 11 year old boy says, “Nothing.” Whereas, 10 year old daughter gives a bite-by-painful-bite account of every morsel of food that went into her mouth during the day. Oh dear – does it start that early?

  28. JennB on October 12th, 2008 9:35 am

    Parker always acts like she’s being interrogated by the FBI if I try to get her to tell me about her day at school. She will not tell me one single thing. Whatever. Orson doesn’t talk yet, but I’m sure that if he did he’d tell me every detail of what they did at school.

  29. Caitlin on October 12th, 2008 4:06 pm

    Totally unrelated to this post, but I just saw this and knew you (and JB, ha) would love it:

    Their tagline is “where beauty meets braaaaiins!”

  30. warcrygirl on October 12th, 2008 5:36 pm

    Jr is like that. It’s almost like parents aren’t allowed to know what happens in 4th grade because he never volunteers information or else I have to pry it out of him with a crowbar. Captain Destructo, on the other hand, tells me not only what he did in class that day but what everyone else did, including the one kid who said the “A” word in class because he ALWAYS gets in trouble. So I go from ‘TMI’ to ‘I’d tell you but then I’d have to kill you’.

    Mmmmm, circus peanuts…

  31. Jules on October 13th, 2008 6:40 am

    When I came home from the first day of kindergarten, my mom was so excited to hear about what I did. So, of course, she accosted me as soon as I got through the door with, “What did you do today?” And (as she loves to recall), I looked her straight in the eye and said, “Mama, school is school and home is home.” So, uh, yeah, she didn’t get a lot of information from me when I was a kid, either.

  32. emily on October 13th, 2008 7:06 am

    I get the same answers from my almost three year old. Apparently she eats mac and cheese everyday and takes a nap – yeah RIGHT. I thought about you this weekend when she and I made Insanely Good Pumpkin Chocolate Muffins with a shitload of choc. chips (for the second time in a week, ahem). When I went to pour the batter into the muffin cups I said, “I am now going to poor the batter into the muffin cups, please don’t ask WHY”.

  33. Maria on October 13th, 2008 8:24 am

    We thought we had an uncanny ability to guess what Chipmunk had done at school until we started the same thing.

    “Did aliens land on your playground and start melting the equipment?”


    I wish we got a little progress report!

  34. Stephanie on October 13th, 2008 9:45 am

    My son says the same things…and at first, we thought it was brilliant that he would tell us so much about his day, and then we realized he was just saying “yeah” to whatever we asked. So, asking if he played with shards of broken glass at school? YEAH!

  35. Amber on October 13th, 2008 11:39 am

    I get the same answer from the 5 year old “what did you do at school today?” I say. “Nussing” she says. If I press her with things I know she’s learning, I’ll get some answers. Maybe. Come to think of it, the nine year answers the same thing, although hers is attributed more to the pre-teen-ness of it all. Sigh.

  36. Patty on October 13th, 2008 2:18 pm

    My son, who is 17 and a senior in high school, when asked what he did at school today always replies “nothin”. The thing is, he has always done that. So he is either eager to answer my inane questions and retreat to his room to play xbox or he really has spent the last 12 years sitting around school staring at the walls. If that is the case, then all those parent teacher conferences have been full of lies!

  37. Nolita on October 14th, 2008 7:15 am

    My daughter (now 6 and in 1st grade) was like that about her days in preschool/K…so much so that I was worried she wasn’t being challenged and would not be prepared for Kindgergarten. We took an Advanced Reading program at the university and I found out she was Just Fine, actually doing very well. In Kindergarten things were different because the teacher would e-mail us parents with their day outlined and questions to ask our little kidros. From that point on my daughter has though that I have magical powers of Knowing All and we will keep that going for as long as possible. She talks more knowing I am actually interested in her day and am probing for specifics. Thank GOD for e-mail!

Leave a Reply