When I was young, I was sure my mom and dad were members of some secret intelligence agency. Anytime I was reading, writing, or playing, and my parents casually walked by, I would freeze. I was certain that, as members of the Spy On Your Daughter League, they were sneaking around, trying to see what I was up to.
As I grew older (a LOT older), I began to think that my hypersensitivity might have given me the wrong impression. But I was equally wrong there. As a mom now, I know the whole truth of whether or not my parents were spying.
They totally were.
And why not? Spying on your kids is awesome.
I know, I know. Privacy, privacy, blah blah blah. But I can’t help it. Spying on your little ones offers such a fascinating window on their world. We think we know our kids, but how well do we actually know them? We know the face they present to us, but who, really, are these little people in private?
Spying has helped me find out. The Maiden is a lively chatterbox and goes through her day giving a running commentary. Ask her a direct question, though, and she clams up as though the Mafia were listening in. Although this may be the Information Age, information from our offspring is pretty darn slow in coming.
Me: So, how was your day?
Me: Did you get to do any new lessons in class?
Maiden: Numbers lesson.
Me: How do you that one?
Maiden: Can I have something to eat?
Me: Only if you tell me how to do the numbers lesson.
Me (trying a different tack): You looked like you were having so much fun when I came to pick you up. Were you playing a fun game?
Maiden: I played with Noah.
Me: What did you play?
Maiden (deliberately stuffing a snack into her mouth): Princesses don’t talk with food in their mouths.
Therefore, I spy. When the Maiden goes in her room to “nap,” which is Maidenese for “period of time during which I blithely play and destroy my room while my longsuffering mother attempts to write about the things I put her through,” I listen outside the door. I hear her discussing and acting out everything that’s important in her little world. Favorite books, characters, movies, friends, school, and life experiences– everything that’s worked together to make the Maiden who she is. Instead of silently mulling over new ideas, thoughts, and experiences, the Maiden plays them out loud. And I get to listen.
It’s fascinating, and sometimes so exciting that I can’t tear myself away to write about it. It’s during her playtime that all the juicy school gossip comes forth. For instance, she never told me that someone in her class pooped in their pants, but apparently it rocked all the preschoolers’ worlds. And it’s not just outside stuff; she’ll also bring up her own experiences, including many that I hadn’t realized were significant or important to her. It’s like listening to an autobiography of the most important little lady in my life– from an angle that I normally don’t get see.
I know that, unless they come up with a working Invisibility Cloak, my days of successful spying are numbered. For now, though, I’m grateful to have had the chance to get to know my little girl better!