My fifteen-year-old son had his first full day of classes today. As I’ve mentioned before, he’s not the most verbal of adolescent boys. In fact, getting any information from him is like pulling teeth. He was at the stove after school, making himself a quesadilla for a snack, when I made my attempt.
“How was school?”
“It was your first day of lessons. Don’t you have anything to tell me about it? Anything about any of the classes or teachers?”
2. “No, not really.”
Now I should add here that my son’s school has a lower school (the equivalent of seventh through ninth grades in the US) and an upper school (tenth through twelfth). He’s just started tenth grade. So not only is it the first day of classes, it’s his first day at a new school, so many of his classmates and all of his teachers are new to him.
I realized that to get any information out of him, I’d have to ask more specific questions.
“What lesson did you have first?”
“What did you do?”
3. “Nothing special.”
“How was the teacher?”
4. “She was okay.”
Now I was getting frustrated. “Can’t you say anything else about her?”
“Nothing to say. She was okay.”
Sigh. “Okay, what did you have next?”
“Oh, you were looking forward to that! How was it?”
“Just okay? What did the teacher have you do?”
“Our first project is boring.”
“What is it?”
“Making business cards.”
Puzzled look. “For him.”
“No, I mean for what business?”
“For him. He does photography or something.”
“But do you think you’ll like that class?”
Sigh. When he was in primary school, I had other mothers to go to. One, in particular, has a very verbal son, who was one of my son’s frequent playmates. Whenever I saw her, she would fill me in on all sorts of things that had happened in school: which classmates got in trouble, what projects they were doing, and so forth. Not a word from mine.
Deep breath and try again: “Okay, what lesson did you have next?”
“Mentor hour.” A mentor is like a cross between a homeroom teacher and a guidance counselor.
“What did she tell you?”
7. “Nothing important.”
“If it wasn’t anything important, she wouldn’t have bothered telling you anything. She must have had something to say.”
“She didn’t. It was really short and then she let us go.” (Notice that this was his longest statement in the entire conversation.)
At this point, I gave up. Pulling teeth.
The thing is: he does talk occasionally, if something really unusual or funny happens in school, but I have to just wait till he decides he’s ready. And I have trouble with that; I want to know everything!
So those are my son’s seven most frequent sentences. Unless you count the complicated instructions, exclamations and curses I hear him saying when he’s playing one of his on-line computer games with his friends. It’s like he’s a different person then: one who can formulate complete sentences. I’d like to converse with that person some day…