It is often difficult to get details from my now 6 year old. Nearly every day I ask Calder "what did you do at school today" and every day he sort of struggles with that question. He may give me a partial answer and then rattle off the lines of his favorite Toy Story 2 scene. Oh right (I remember).... ask a concrete question. "Calder, did you have P.E. today? What did you draw in art? Did you learn a new song in music class?"
For his homework today, Calder had a list of 10 spelling words that he needed to write in 10 sentences. He got through this pretty painlessly except for his second sentence. "I am really up." The next 30 minutes were spent negotiating his way towards making that a better sentence. He lost every toy he was distracting himself with until he was laying on the couch really bumming. I decided to go over to him and ask why he was so reluctant to correct his sentence. I asked and asked and he mumbled on and on about something, saying "three pages of ten and one page of eight makes 38" so I asked him about 38. "Calder, if I go count the words you wrote on your homework sheet will it be 38 words?" He didn't answer me. I wondered as I often do, does he hear me at all? I go count his homework sentences. 38 words. I have no idea what to think of that. But I realized there is way more going on in his head than meets the eye.
I never did understand what the significance of 38 was or why he was able to write 10 sentences in 5 minutes then took over 30 minutes to erase one word. This also is a good example of how some conversations go around our house. You start off with a clear idea in mind of what you want to ask/tell Calder. He'll respond in his adorable non-sequitur way, you repeat yourself, the conversation takes a few spins, you repeat yourself again, it takes a nosedive and you find yourself standing there looking at each other.... except that Calder is not looking at you. He's in his own world. You decide that it's just fine to let him be there for now, that you were being really redundant anyway. You realize that there will be many other great conversation/exchanges to be had, another time.