It’s Tuesday today (when I wrote this). It’s not important, but it’s the first thing I thought when I sat down. It’s one of those uninteresting days of the week, and I realize that’s why I’m thinking of this right now. It’s slightly uninteresting. You know, today I was wondering what things I say “yes” to anymore as a parent. The number of “no’s” I uttered this morning concerned me as I slipped out number 33 well before noon.
No, you cannot have a snack. You just finished breakfast.
No, you cannot help your brother get dressed. You guys keep fighting.
No, you cannot have more honey on your cereal. I think I already told you-you didn’t need honey on your cereal in the first place.
No, you cannot wear those sweatpants and long-sleeved shirt. I don’t care if it’s comfortable. It’s 95 degrees, and it’s 7AM.
No, we are not taking the 42 animals in the car into Peter Piper Pizza with us.
No, I cannot follow you to the counter to turn in your tickets right now because I’m trying to get your brother’s lunch settled.
No, you cannot have your third glass of blue juice because you start hitting all the children around you. And mommy needs friends, even if you don’t.
No, you may not negotiate the terms of your chores again.
No, you may not make a “surprise treat” with tortillas, sprinkles, whipped cream and honey, because we are leaving for your friend’s house to go swimming.
No, you may not walk outside with bare feet. It is 113 degrees right now and the bottom of your feet will burn off. “They will?” Yes, they will.
And I decided to make a pact with myself. It’s not that I am condemning myself, but I realized I need to find opportunities to say “yes” to my children in the next day or so. After that, back to “no”! But still, it might be fun to try for a little while. In our haste to make it through all the fun activities and painful monotonies of each day—maybe I have started reacting to all the little things my kids suggest–that would only make the day tragically more messy and slow and frustrating. Instead, I need to focus on some things they CAN do. And it was interesting when I concentrated, I actually could find some things to say “yes” to. And I tried to say it with enthusiasm, the way I imagined I wanted them to do when I tried suggested various activites. I started saying “yes”, with enthusiasm! It really felt good. As I said, I’d hate for my kids to get used to this type of positively reinforcing behavior, but what a great exercise.
Yes, I will slide down the contraption you made in the back yard (even though I am way too big).
Yes, you may make dad that “surprise treat” with peanut butter, crackers and sprinkles (blech).
Yes, you may take the tiny skateboard into the grocery store, but I will eat it if you start throwing it or fighting over it.
Yes, you may wear your long-sleeved shirt and sweatpants to bed. (He ended up changing them to something lighter… who knew.)
Yes, I will tickle you again.
Yes, you may put way too much ranch on your vegetables so they don’t taste like vegetables.
Yes, you may play in the hallway outside your bedroom IF you are quiet so your brother can sleep.
Yes, you may tell me I am the best mom in the world. What? That’s not what you said? Hmmm, well, say it anyway. I’m having a good time here! If you tell me I’m beautiful and the best mom ever—I might have more things to say yes to tomorrow!