Monday, September 23, 2013
Sometimes kids come up with the craziest ideas.
Can I clean out the gutters?
Can I jump off the roof into the 1/2 inch of snow?
Can I build a house out of cardboard around the kitchen set?
Can I create a giant functioning clock out of paper to hang on my wall?
A lot of these ideas that they come up with are amazing. However more often than not, what I actually hear is:
- make a mess?
-use all the construction paper up in one afternoon?
-use all the tape in the house on this one piece of paper?
-completely dry out all of your dry erase markers in one hour?
That makes saying "yes" hard. I want to let them create, have fun, and explore.
Today was different though. I got to have my cake and eat it to and I just relished it. Mariah is here staying with us this year as a live-in helper. I keep pinching myself to see if I'll wake up from this dream world of assistance, but so far the dreaminess continues. One way she helps is to facilitate some of these crazy ideas and help make them happen. It still uses supplies, sometimes things get torn, and things get a little messy, but then there is a grown up there to help clean up, watch out for safety issues, and take joy in their ideas. Ah! And I get to come in and say, YAY! This is amazing.
Mariah and I were talking recently about the kids and I mentioned that I think I say no a lot. I mean, playdough, paint, cutting and pasting giant poster board, etc. is a lot of time and money! It also means investing a space to the project. But she said, "Mary, I think you say yes more that you think you do." It got me to thinking about it. I do say yes a good bit- otherwise there wouldn't be MARKER ALL OVER MY FURNITURE! But every time I say no, a little guilt pang stabs me and says, "Maybe you aren't a very good mom." Now that I'm noticing more of the times I say yes and the times I say no, I think maybe I do say yes a good bit.
Rachel fell in love with the computer room of Flint Lockwood from the movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and gradually taped notebook paper with colored buttons all over her walls. I think it's hideous, but she loves it and plays in there. Certainly wasn't the vision I had for her pink room with hand-painted butterflies.
Jefferson took a green room that I intended to make a tractor and cars themed room and gradually added more and more space stuff until the entire room is covered in planets, stars, and rockets.
James has a collection of sticks that he uses for various weapons. And he's allowed a big pile of them.
They come up with all sorts of crazy things, from jumping on the trampoline with their blankets to taking a bath with their Legos. Many things have gotten a yes.
But they are enjoying life. I fight against wanting to keep my house cute and picture perfect. I want things to match and coordinate and stay organized. There are some places in my house that look cute- I just fixed them last week. :) But I want them to live and create and feel at home in this space too and that means letting go of some of my grand plans for the cuteness in their rooms and even some of my visions of having furniture that is well polished, clean, and shining. All too soon, they will be grown, out of the house, and moving on. I hope they leave with a love for exploring rather than sitting in front of video games all day. I hope they leave with a firm conviction that they can try anything and that I support them. And I hope they leave feeling like they can come back and feel loved and comfortable in our home.
The only way to get there is to say yes to the messy sometimes.