Over the past few months, we’ve done something creative at dinnertime.
Our two oldest kids are 5 1/2 and nearly 4 – certainly able to carry a conversation.
So, in the vein of late night talk shows, each night they get to host their own chat show to interview the rest of the family, complete with an announcer (Daddy) giving them an introduction Ed McMahon would envy. #DatedReference
You can imagine the adorably painful conversations at the beginning. One evening, The Best Mom and I had to answer, “what is your favorite color” five times, even saying the next question HAD to be different.
But over time, the questions became better and led to what we hoped it would be: a deeper dinner conversation beyond “how was your day” and a way to fuel their curiosity and confidence.
My son asked me an innocent question one night last week and my answer was reflexive:
Bug: Daddy, what is your favorite truck?
Me: Optimus Prime!
I knew he was expecting “dump truck” or “fire engine,” but, dammit, Optimus Prime, Transformer, leader of the Autobots, is my all-time favorite truck!
Long-haul trailer by-day and galactic superhero on-call?
Please, tell me which truck is better than Optimus Prime?
Here is where it got good.
Instead of blowing off the comment as another silly thing Daddy said, Bug asked a follow-up question(!): “What is an Optimus Prime?”
That kicked off a 20-minute conversation with my kids on the Transformers, including watching (several times) an animation of Optimus Prime transforming from truck to robot and back again.
A few days later, we were driving on the highway and my daughter started asking me if every truck we passed by was a Transformer. Granted, it got old after 4 trucks, but it felt amazing that my kids were now curious about one of my favorite childhood brands.
It’s a delicate balance – you push your favorites on them by saying “Watch this, I loved it when I was your age!” and you’ll likely get a fairly negative response. Guide them to being interested in it and their perspective changes entirely.
Next up: Figuring out solutions for Fraggle Rock and Thundercats!