I’ve found its easy to say “No” to my kids in respect to ‘can we do’ questions. Can we paint? Can we go shopping? Can we go swimming? Can we do a craft?
A lot of the times, I say “not right now, I’m busy” or “maybe later, honey” or even “can it wait until after my show?” Yep. There are days when when my priorities get completely off track. What am I busy with? Facebook?? What show is so important that I can’t just pause it? (Hello? It’s Netflix for crying out loud.)
All they’re really saying is: can we do something that requires your attention and effort?
Hmm. I wonder why they ever start in with the whining and the bickering and the fighting… Sooner or later I’ll realize that I’m being a total lazy jerk. And that I need to stop whatever it is I’m doing, pour a cup of coffee, and turn to my kids and say YES.
And you know what happens? Messes. Wait, no… MEMORIES. And giggling. And chit chat. If you ever want to realize how awesome your kids really are, just say YES when all they’re asking for is your time.
Last night, I was on day 3 of the four year old arguing about sleeping in her own bed. This can be a battle that lasts for hours and usually ends up with her in my bed. Her complaint: it’s so scary in there. (Yeah, the place she can stay in all day and all evening… Super scary at bed time. Even with all the string lights hanging around her bed… <insert eye roll here>)
So I asked her, “What’s so scary about it, Bree?” And her response was, “I just don’t want to be alone. Will you sit in here with me?”
First of all, the kitchen was so messy I could smell it down the hallway. Secondly, she has a loft bed, no way I’m getting up on that thing. But I decided to try a different route. I put down my dish rag and grabbed a bar stool, pulled it up to her bed, and sat there with my arm over the bed rail.
She asked me if I wanted to know what her favorite thing about the day before was. And then I realized, I haven’t been asking her my nightly question of ‘What was your favorite thing about today?’ And it finally occurred to me why she was so resistant at bed time: she was missing some vital part of her day that I had no idea she needed.
Boy did I feel guilty. All she wanted to do was talk and I was pushing her away.
We chatted about yesterday’s events and then about today’s. We talked about things that she did at school last week. We talked about what we were going to do tomorrow. We giggled about funny things she said about her brother. We connected.
After a few minutes of silence I asked her if it was OK if I left to finish cleaning the kitchen. She turned to me and goes “Yeah. I’m fine now. You can go.”
Talk about a punch to the heart.
The biggest battle of the day was all my fault. Because I was rushing bedtime to get back to what I wanted to do. Because I didn’t take the time to say yes.
Click here for Adventure #2…
Have you ever taken a moment to turn your “NO’s” into “YES’s”?