10 May 2011

"But Mama...."

In general American culture in 2011, children are very much involved in every day life decisions.  They pitch fits, argue, bargain, whine, fuss, cry, etc. and then decisions are altered, because, heaven forbid, the baby/toddler/young child/adolescent is perturbed. 

Paul and I, and thankfully many of our fellow journeyers on the road, are trying to push back against this a bit.  We often don't let our children offer up alternatives to the plan we've laid out.  "No talking back.  No arguing.  No bargaining."  Tone of the child governs how much of this alternative-pointing-out is allowed, because some is, but by and large, they are Puerto Rico on the Floor of the House - occasionally can offer an idea, but no vote is counted. 

But, we have to be careful.... 

Yesterday, I cut up a watermelon.  The children gobbled up an entire 1/4 of it.  I thought this was a lot.  Until today.  Now the entire watermelon is gone.

With watermelon comes, yes, watermelon juice.  Which, next to grenadine and the juice from my great grandmother's homemade pickles, is the stickiest substance on earth.  It evaporates quickly leaving the perfect layer of contact-paper stickiness.

And then we went to the park.  And they played and played and played hard. 
So, park dirt + watermelon juice stickiness = well, they weren't Easter morning ready. 

And then we came home.  It was nap time.  They were nothing short of disgusting. 
Beautifully grimy little munchkins.  We got out of the car, I said, "hey yo - all three of you go turn the shower on in my bathroom and just rinse off really well before nap time" 

"But Mama"

"No Buts"

"But Mama"

"Ada, Eason, I'm serious - do not talk back.  It is rest time.  You must be slightly less gross before you lie on any bed in this house.  Go, shower, now. And Collins, follow your siblings." 

"Yes Ma'am, but may I ask you a question?" 

"Yes, Ada, you may ask me a question." 

"Mama - remember how earlier you said the tomatoes and herbs needed to be watered.  Can we put on our bathingsuits and get cleaned off in the hose while you water the plants?" 

Well, by darn, that's a marvelous idea. 

Sometimes, the little buggers are right.  They have a better idea than I do.  Not just a more fun one (though it is almost always that), but an idea that actually makes good use of time and such.  They're people, and like all people, they have things to offer to most situations, things we shouldn't always overrule or ignore. 

So, no, Eason, you cannot have dessert first and promise to eat your veggies,

(And Yes, 9/10 Pictures of Eason are Blurry)

and no, Ada Brooks, you cannot quit learning to have attractive handwriting and just start typing,

and no Collins, you cannot skip today's nap. 

(I cropped to an appropriate level of modesty, I thought, but I couldn't bear not to leave just a tiny hint of baby bum)

But, come to think of it, yes, let's all go get in the hose.  And play and water plants and love life. 

I'm thankful when the kids know better than I do. 

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