Dear Lola,

My teenage son has become an unintelligible grunting machine. While never openly chatty, he at least managed to hold down a conversation with me a few times each week. Now I am lucky if he even manages a good morning. I ask him questions when we get home each day, but he rarely has anything to say and quickly retreats to his room to text with friends. How can I get my son to open up with me more?


Mom of Mute

Dear Mom of Mute,

One moment you are chuckling over a funny story about his day in preschool, and in the next you’re pressing your ear to his door to check for signs of life. It seems that every Miniature Human has to take a turn at causing untold worry for those charged with their care. Fortunately, there is a rather simple solution to your problem.

Use a time machine to travel to the past and enjoy the flowing conversations.

Or, should you feel inclined for more adult conversation, you can travel to the future and see if the grunting has stopped. In most Miniature Humans, the monosyllabic responses typically tend to end as they enter the world of mortgage payments and utility bills. It seems the shocking financial upheaval spurs their vocabulary skills.

The words absurd and outrageous are sprinkled liberally for the first few years.

Later, these grown-up feelings take on a more sinister tone with ‘impending doom’ and ‘utter catastrophe’ taking up the bulk of the conversations. Now that I think about it, you’re probably better off using the time machine to go backwards. Use the time to correct all those silly lies you told your Miniature Human over the years – maybe he’s giving you the silent treatment because he has found out you’re a fraud. Seriously, you should have had a better answer for why cows are different colors. As if brown cows are responsible for chocolate milk.

What could you have possibly been thinking?!

Now, I had best let you go because you have quite a bit of work to do to invent a time machine. I wish you the best of luck with your endeavors, and should you manage the feat, I expect you to pick me up promptly at 6pm. I’ll have my snack bag packed with a few extra treats to share with the dinosaurs. If, however, you find yourself unable to bend time to your will, you can continue to engage your Miniature Human in one-sided conversation so he knows you are there should he feel the need to utter a sentence or two.


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