The first words that come out of the kids' mouths when they come home from school usually represent the most important/most traumatic/most exciting thing that happened to them that day. So I try to listen carefully and show whatever type of empathy the situation requires. Try is the key word.
This past week I heard something new. Emma, as she plopped herself into the van when I picked her up from 1st grade, with a high degree of emotion, declared,
"I had SERIOUS, SERIOUS problems with the glue bottle today! First it squirted out too much, then I got too little. It was a MAJOR problem!"
I said what I could to show empathy while mentally rolling my eyes at the drama of it all.
When we got home, I looked closely at Emma's face. Both her chin and her cheek had large patches of dried glue on them - the kind that you can peel off like a second skin.
Emma had not been exaggerating (much). Apparently, that glue bottle had given her some serious, serious problems.