If you have children, you are familiar with their monosyllabic conversational style. This form of communication or lack thereof evolves.
When young children come home from school, they bubble over with a replay of everything that happened at school. Sometimes the parent tunes out the enthusiastic play-by-play and misses out on their child’s joy. Perhaps all that joie de vivre is too much to bear for the adult whose day consisted of the mundane rather than the new.
Somewhere along the way, those open children evolve into secretive preteens and teenagers. They no longer talk with their parents. Conversations consist of parents asking questions and the offspring answering with begrudging grunts.
There are ways to forestall the uncommunicative grunts, but you have to start when the willingness to share is still alive. You ask a simple question.
“What did you learn today that you did not know before, and you thought was interesting or neat?”
The question requires a specific and detailed answer. It creates a no-grunt zone and perhaps starts a conversation.
Of course, such a sneaky parent trick merely delays the inevitable monosyllabic responses of tomorrow.
Flash forward to adulthood. “What did you learn today that you did not know before, and thought was interesting or even funny?”
This writer has four offerings to get you started.
First, do you recall the Furry Buddha column in which we discussed an extremely corpulent squirrel? Well, we discovered she had three babies. Now that Mom has her figure back, she leaves the kiddos unattended, but they do not stray far from the nesting area.
What we learned. The female squirrel has babies around March or April and another batch in July or August. However, the bad news is she is not a faithful critter and will hook up with any male squirrel on her one fertile day. The story gets even worse. She can produce one to nine babies per litter but typically pops out three to five. At this rate, herding squirrels could be in our future.
Living in the country provides new information on a daily basis, especially if one was city born and bred. Our second offering concerns the resident roadrunner. When he or she runs across the road inches from the front tires, it appears to run on tiptoes which explains the nickname, the stiletto bird. The way it runs is similar to how, on occasion, human females in five or six-inch heels attempt to run. In the past, we only saw one bird. Sometimes a grownup and sometimes a juvenile. But the other day, a roadrunner couple strutted in front of the car. Do you suppose they were on a date? They move too fast to ask.
Chugging along on the new knowledge and information trail, we arrive at number three. Our chicken coop houses around thirty-five hens and two roosters. The studs are tall, strutting around the chicken yard lording it over their shared hen-ram (harem for roosters).
Recently, we gave relatives a tour of the garden and the home of the cluckers. They asked Hubby several questions about the different breeds. The Rhode Island Reds lay brown eggs. The Americauna pop out the blue eggs and the Leghorns produce white ones. If the Americauna and the Rhode Island Red produced any offsprings, the hens would lay green eggs. Anyone up for green eggs and ham?
The lady asked why the hens had no feathers on their posteriors. “The roosters do that,” Hubby replied with a chuckle.
“I thought it was the poultry version of a Brazilian wax,” this writer quipped.
The fourth example drifts into the realm of “You must be kidding.”
Hubby pulled up to the ATM at our bank. “They changed the machines,” he remarked.
“I don’t think so. It is the same one the bank always had,” the wife replied.
He turned back, studied the ATM a moment, and started to laugh. “I’m driving your car and looking up. The ATM is at eye level from my truck.”
We offer a toast to learning something new every day. You must admit discussing what we learned can be more entertaining than grunts.