Instead of Saying “No”

This week we had our last MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) meeting. Our guest speaker was Ann Weimer Baumgardner, author of Pretend You’re Normal. She spoke about different ways to handle life’s situations with your kids. Topics included anything from how to make household chores fun instead of work, making running errands possible and stress free with little ones, and saying no because what your child is asking to do isn’t “normal.”

I enjoyed the discussion about why we say no to our kids. After thinking about it we often do say no because it may be an inconvenience to us or because what our kids are asking isn’t the normal way to do something. A great example she gave was when her daughter was young and asked if she could sleep in her closet. At first Ann said “no, we sleep in our beds.” Then she took a moment to think about it and asked herself “why can’t she sleep in the closet.”

I have always made a conscious effort not to say no all the time when Lila wants to do something or attempts to do something without asking first. Now that we are outdoors a lot more I am learning my limits on what I want to say no to outside.

After a few days of rain our back yard was flooded and a muddy mess. Lila decided to go play in the mud puddles. By the time I saw what she was doing she was covered in mud. My first instinct was to tell her to get out of it and take her in to clean her up. Then I realized she was already covered in mud so what was the harm in letting her play a little while longer. As I sat and watched her I saw her jumping, laughing, and having the time of her life. I almost took that little experience away from her because I didn’t want to have to deal with cleaning all the mud. Now when it rains and there is mud or water puddles she can play in them all she wants. My only rule is that she wears her rain boots.

The other day Lila was in a mood. She was crabby, whiny, and unhappy. It was getting ready to storm outside so I asked if she wanted to go outside and sit on the deck and listen to the thunder. After listening to the thunder for a bit it started to rain. She looked at me out the corner of her eyes and whispered “play in rain mama?” Again, I almost said no because it was almost time to take her up for her bedtime routine and I didn’t want to have to dry her off or give her a bath. But again, those were my issues, not hers. So I said yes and for a 1/2 an hour that kid ran, danced, played and laughed in the rain. The rain not only changed her mood, but by watching her be as happy as she can be my mood was uplifted as well.

These moments may seem small and insignificant, but by allowing her to jump and play in the mud and rain I am allowing her to explore and be herself. She is clearly in her element when she is outdoors.

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