Musings + Essays

Weekend Vibes, Edition No. 131: I Laughed.

By: Jen Shoop

My Latest Snag: Transitional Dress Coat for Mini.

I’ll do a roundup soon of my favorite outerwear picks for little ones, but I was in need of a coat that could transition from the first few crisp fall days to heavier duty occasions as the mercury drops. I debated for some time between one of these Foque knits, which mini wore the winter before last (so, so precious) and this spiffy fur trim collar beauties. I went with the latter because I immediately conjured an image of her wearing these adorable knee socks with it and it had to happen.

You’re Sooooo Popular: The Croc Bag.

The most popular items on the blog this week:

+This ultra-chic croc bag for fall.

+My favorite pumps.

+Cozy cable-knit mockneck. (I hate the word cozy — it’s vastly overused in the blogosphere. But this truly is cozy.)

+Waffle tees. LOVE layering with these.

+A great price on super chic joggers.

+Fun fall dress.

+MVP for diaper bags.

#Turbothot: “I Laughed.”

Those of you with toddlers might relate to the baffling silence returned by the following inquiry:

“How was school? What did you do today?”

Though mini is highly articulate and occasionally startles me with her vocabulary (I beamed when her teachers came to visit and she showed them her “tongue depressor,” a part of her prized doctor kit toy), I don’t think she quite yet knows how to answer such open-ended questions, or how to isolate specific activities and memories across such a broad sweep of time. I usually ask more targeted things afterward: “Did you play musical instruments? Did you paint? Did you have a snack?” She almost always says “yes” to any and all of these things, so either she is exceptionally busy at school or I’m still not asking the right questions.

I was tickled, then, when I asked her about her day earlier this week and — after the routine long pause during which I can never ascertain whether she is lost in thought, confused by the question, or disinterested in conversation — she replied, brightly:

“I laughed, mama.”

I laughed out loud with surprise and delight. What a beautiful thing to say about one’s day. Out of all of the possible descriptions, milestones, steps: “I laughed.”

It reminded me of that bastardized Whitman quote: “We were together; I forget the rest.” If only I could let the minor frustrations and exhaustions and disappointments of my days melt away and focus on the high notes: laughter, togetherness, health.

Another resolution for tomorrow: if I can sit down at the end of the day and say, “I laughed,” it will have been a good one.

P.S. What makes you laugh?

Post-Scripts: Grown Up Dress.

+This dress would make me feel like a proper grown-up.

+This is a fun Jeff Koons-esque situation for your bookshelf or desktop.

+OK, this charger-turned-stroller-hook is kind of genius.

+Love these llama jammies!

+Pretty ring/decorative dish.

+Don’t miss my roundup of fall finds…!

+These gift tags are absolutely stunning.

+OOH! Have eyed this Alice McCall for a full season. Finding it hard to say no to that discount!

+Are you a rule follower?

+What’s on your weekly menu rotation?

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10 thoughts on “Weekend Vibes, Edition No. 131: I Laughed.

  1. Mini! My heart just melted. It tangentially reminds me of a conversation my MIL had with my nephew, who was 2 at the time: “What did you do at school today?” “I pooped.” “In the potty?” “NOPE!” Haha!

    As a teacher, I have completed so much trial and error with the “best” questions to ask kids (meaning: they give varied answers without it seeming like I’m pulling teeth, or my wait time doesn’t reach multiple minutes before someone finally raises their hand). My tips are culled from teaching teenagers, but maybe there are nuggets for parents with little ones in here? My daughter is only 13 months, so I haven’t had the chance to test these out on her yet:

    One of my big ones as a teacher is to avoid phrasing things in absolutes (e.g. “what’s your favorite _______”; “what’s the best _______”). I find kids become paralyzed when having to pick the best or the worst! Instead, ask for “one” – “What is one ice cream flavor you like?” “what is one phrase from last night’s reading that you underlined?” etc. Low stakes evaluation!

    Another tip I have when you’re warming kids up for discussion is to have the first 2-3 questions be ones you know they know the answer to without thinking too hard. “What did you do at school today?” requires a lot of recall, sifting, and synthesis. Keep it specific (but not yes or no)! “What kind of sandwich did you eat at lunch?” “What game did you play at recess?” etc.

    One other way to get kids talking about their lives is not to ask questions, but to start talking about your own day instead! I’ve found that they eventually chime in with their own stories.

    My last little tip is this: At the end of the school day, my “social quota” is maxed out from interacting with so many kids and teachers. I always need at least a little bit of time to zone out and decompress before I’m ready to engage with my husband (more so now that decompressing is delayed until my daughter is fed/bathed/put down). Kids are the same way – probably more, considering how much they’ve just had thrown at them over the course of the day. Give them time!

    1. These are such great tips! Thank you so much — amazing. Will adopt these suggestions wholesale. And great point on decompressing time — which reminds me that one of the best things one of my girlfriends told me after mini was born was that “babies don’t need to be entertained all day. Babies need their own time to process their surroundings.” That was so practical and helpful in assuaging some of the random flare-ups of mom guilt that plagued me early on — i.e., am I reading to her enough?! Shouldn’t I be singing more songs right now?! AHH.


  2. What a delightful response! Mine says, “I don’t know” most of the time [insert eye roll here]. I’m finding that she says this increasingly often as I ask her to recount her days. I suspect she may do this because she doesn’t want to do the work of recalling her morning, and similar to Mini, she’ll say “yes” if I ask her about activities she may have done at school. So, now I’ll ask some “nonsense” yes/no questions (“Did you ride on an elephant today? Did you do somersaults in your underwear?”) which most of the time results her in telling me what she actually DID do.

    Love those gift tags! Need to make some to keep in stock when I have last-minute gifts.

    1. I love that tactic — so funny! I bet Emory would get a kick out of those questions too.

      So jealous that you can make your OWN gift tags. What a talent!


  3. I LOVE her response! Is there anything that makes a mama’s heart happier than to know she found joy in her school day??
    I always enjoyed the responses to questions like “what story did you read today?”, “who did you play with today?”, “what songs did you sing?”, etc. Watching them search their little memory banks is the best. 🙂

  4. I love it! Reminds me of something I once said on a home video as a little kid on that has since worked it’s way into our family vernacular- someone asked me “what did you do today, Anna? And I replied “I just played.” Very rarely do we “just play” all day anymore, but it remains my platonic ideal of a good day.

  5. Just wanted to tell you that I discovered your blog approx. 3 months ago and absolutely love it. Have recommended it highly to friends. All your hard work, fabulous taste and WHO you are is much appreciated.

    1. Nancy! Thank you so much for the sweet note. I’m so flattered! Glad we’ve found our way to one another on the web 🙂 Thank you, friend 🙂


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