"Okay, guys! Pop quiz!"
Admittedly, it's one of my silly little games. I have many such games, including "Let's Say What We Love About Each Other!" or "Hooray for Everyone Who Is Appropriately Dressed at the Dinner Table!" Or "Say Something Nice To Me - Hurry!"
My motives are whole and thinly veiled.
I was leaving town for a few days, and I insisted on bombarding them with the same facts again and again about my trip. That way, if anyone in particular was prone to a wave of melodrama, they could remind themselves of the very clearly stated facts.
"Where am I going this week?"
"California!" they cheer.
"And when am I leaving?"
"And when will I come home?"
"And where will you stay while I'm gone?"
"Grandma and Poppa's!"
"And what days do you have after-school daycare?"
"And what surprises should I bring home to you?"
"Reese's Pieces! Sour Gummy Worms!"
"Yay! Great job!" And then I dole out hugs and kisses and a million points for boys who know all the answers.
And then we would play again later in the day and tomorrow morning and the next day - and again and again - because I can only leave town if my children know all the details they might need. I keep it all very light and easy, fun and exciting, until they are rolling their eyes with exhaustion and boredom.
Listen. When you can show me you have stored this information in a permanent and retrievable place, then we can stop talking about it. Because I'm so cool in sort of an ad nauseam way.
On day three of my trip, I got a text from my mom.
"Flawless is the word I would use to describe this week with your boys. Except one child is mad because apparently nobody told him he has after school daycare on Tuesday and Wednesday."
I try. God knows I try.