A couple days ago, Saturday to be precise, I found myself sitting and pondering a while, thinking about my two Little People. Thinking how good life at home is when they are good and happy and enjoying themselves, and how horrid it can be when the opposite happens (we've been dealing with some "issues" of late which I don't wish to go into right now, but there have been tantrums involved and it has indeed been horrid). I thought about my role as a parent, and how I don't often sit and actually think about that role very often. I thought about how as parents, we can so often be on automatic pilot with our offspring, how we don't often have cause to stop and question they way we actually go about our Parenting Role. Our actions/reactions, moods and perspectives can affect our children so much, can't they?
And so at the beginning of Saturday I made a decision. A conscious, considered Parenting Decision that would need an Announcement. So I summon the Little People for The Announcement. I declare that Saturday is to be a YES-day. A positive, happy day where anything they ask for (within reason) will be granted, where I shall attempt to say yes to any requests, to allow them to do anything their little hearts desire. Because I am so proud of them, because they are wonderful children and I wish them to have the best day. And because I am veeeeeery curious to see what they will ask for.
Little Man jumps straight in to test out the YES-day. He asks if he can have a glass full of water with sugar mixed in. He wants to make a sugar-water drink, and he wants to drink it all. He looks at me directly, wondering if I will indeed agree to him doing something I have previously said NO to several times. I say Yes, he can. He is thrilled. And he gets his wish.
Next he asks if he can have a bubble bath, nice and deep. He asks for a plastic plate to be dolloped with "potions" for making experiments. I say Yes, he can, and I give him a plate with various blobs of shampoo, conditioners and bath lotions, with a bowl and spoon. He is SO happy!
Out of the bath and he asks to bake buns, yes of course you can. Can we make red icing? Yes! Can we use whatever we like to decorate them? Yes! Wooohooooo!!!
we do Easter Crafts too? Yes (but go steady with the glue). Actually,
they cannot in fact be bothered with glue and go for the full-on
selotape option. Effective and not nearly as messy. So far so good, the
YES-day is working a treat.
Lunch time and Little Lady puts in a request. She asks to make her own sandwich. No, no, I'll do it I say, it'll be easier and quicker. Oh pleeeeeeeeease Mummy, I want to do it!
I have temporarily forgotten my
promise, slipped back to old ways. But when she reminds me of the
YES-day I have no option but to let her do it. And why not? Where's the
harm? Why do I automatically say No when she asks if she can do this
for herself? I don't know! Habit? Control? Ease?
She does great. She allows me to slice the cheese and cucumber, but does everything else herself.
She is so very, very proud of herself, the first sandwich she has ever made, arranged with care on her Flower Fairy plate.
After lunch, I remind the Little People that this is their day, it's a day for fun things to happen and that they can ask for anything they like. They think about this. They ponder it. And then they ask for the Argos catalogue. They ask if they can choose a toy each and if we can go on a trip to buy them. Yes, you can!
Oh much page turning and deliberating here, but eventually yes, some toys are chosen and two excited Little People get taken to the shops.
Little Man chooses a Lego set. He is very, very happy. He says it's been the Best Day of His Life.
Little Lady chooses an Ariel doll that changes colour when it goes into the bath. She requests a bath, yes yes, you can have a bath, of course, it's YES-day! So Ariel and LL go and get wet together. They are very happy.
It was the BEST day. It made me realise that as parents we often have the power to grant wishes and allow our children the freedom to experiment a little, to test things out, yet its all too easy to say NO, to decline a modest request. I enjoyed the YES-day enormously and shall do my best from now on to say YEs as much as I can.
But that is not the end of the story :: there is one last installment.
Sunday morning and I am in the bath, a lovely deep hot bath with bubbles, listening to the radio and day dreaming. I am in the best place. It's quiet and peaceful. I hear footsteps running up stairs, muffled excited voices just outside the door, and then a knock.
Both Little People come in together, they stand side by side. Little Man has something behind his back. He shows me what it is and at first I cannot tell what he is showing me. It's a bit of an old cut up Christmas card and something in spotty paper with lots and lots of selotape.
They tell me that they've wrapped me a present and made a special tag to go on it. They tell me it's a Thank You Present, thanking me for their new toys and for the YES-day.
I am close to tears, I am so very, very touched by this. I have to jump out the bath, grab a towel and open my gift straight away (see my fingertips there are all pruney from soaking in the bath!)
The Little People have written a little tag for me, each of them signed their names, with lots of XXX kisses XXX too. And when I open my tiny gift, it's a cockle shell, a shell that I recall was collected and bought home from the beach at Heysham a few weeks ago.
It was possibly one of the loveliest gifts I have ever, ever received.
Now where is that box of tissues, I think I'm about to have a little cry ;o)