My son came home from school one day this week over-the-moon excited about his day. It had been a PE day and, well, those are the bestest. He actually played laser tag in PE last week which only made me rethink my entire childhood. Why did I have to learn square dancing while my kid gets to play something cool like laser tag? Not fair.
Sometime that afternoon, after snacks of Zebra Cakes and grapes, he came running into my room and asked me, “Momma, when you were a kid, did you hokie pokie a lot?”
As if that is a completely logical and normal question to ask.
How much does one hokie pokie over the course of their childhood years? 100 times? 1,000 times? A million times?
Truth be told, my gut response was zero because I can’t remember a time I did the hokie pokie as a kid. However, I’m pretty sure I put my left foot in and my left foot out it at least once a week last year while teaching the little two-year-olds at bible study.
So I went with a nice round 50 times.
But his question made me stop and pay attention. What else are my kids asking and saying and teaching me during an ordinary, going-to-school, eating-processed-sugar, making-crafts week? They really are some of my favorite teachers. Simple, straight-forward, silly. All delightful and precious things I overlook.
So this week, I decided to look.
“Coloring makes me not mad.”
This really should be printed on a tee shirt and handed out in traffic court. Along with an adult coloring book and a freshly sharped set of colored pencils.
I told my son this was genius. Not only because it’s an intentional task he loves but because he’s recognized the peace doing this one simple thing brings him.
More of us should spend time thinking about what makes us NOT mad because we sure can find things to yell at each other over.
I say more coloring books and crayons. For everyone.
“There’s basically nothing to eat in here.”
Loosely translated this means, “There are no chips in here.” Which makes this statement completely false. Twice.
There was plenty to eat in both the pantry and the refrigerator and there ARE chips in the pantry. I simply have them “hidden” on the top shelf. Where little eyes can’t see them and little hands can’t reach them.
Shockingly, we all managed to find some strawberries and oranges to eat from the fridge.
Someone commented on a parent’s post about this same topic how she once made the complaining party itemize the contents of the “empty” pantry to make sure she knew there was plenty to eat. The entire task took her three hours. I considered that this time around but he needs to learn his letters first. Someday though.
Other parents have the best ideas.
“What? It’s not hard. It’s just a weekend.”
My daughter packed her own suitcase for our weekend away. Three nights, three days, that’s it. She managed to pack all she needed in record time and with very little frustration. Three bottoms, three tops, three pairs of underwear, three nightgowns. What else is there?
Because even though she didn’t waste time on outfit selection while mulling over the possible weather scenarios Labor Day weekends in the South might present nor the various places we might go out and about in the city where Southerners never show up without full makeup and their pearls, she DID pack three separate bags for toys, craft supplies, and blankets.
Weekends away are not hard but definitely worthy of over-preparation for fun.
What would I pack for fun?
“This is a perfect spot for a She Shed!”
A house on my normal run route spent the summer getting it’s flip on so when it swung it’s newly painted door wide for an open house, the kids and I snuck a peak.
The house is huge, far more house than we could ever possibly need, and that’s beside the fact we are not looking to move (NOPE). But my kids do love to explore.
The backyard had a path and a concrete patio where I would imagine a gazebo used to stand. My daughter announced to the realtor that spot would be perfect for a She Shed. Thank you, HGTV.
But, ME FIRST. I wish I spent more time enjoying my spaces instead of them simply being places to decorate and clean and maintain.
All women should have a room of their own. (Also thank you, Virginia Woolf)
“Okay, but if we go to the movie, we shouldn’t go to In and Out.”
My daughter came home with a fever this week. The next morning, the fever was gone and the doctor pronounced her fine. That left us with nothing to do and all day to do it.
Earlier, she’d asked to go for a burger and a milkshake but once I suggested the movie treat after the doctor, she decided a movie was better than lunch. And if we did one, we shouldn’t do the other. An oddly fiscally responsible moment I appreciated.
She’s gonna be the best budget-conscious 40-something ever.
I should be a better budget conscious 40-something.
Kids amaze me. They are kind and excited and curious and naturally intuitive. No one’s told them they can’t be those things yet.
No one’s reminded them coloring is just for kids.
They haven’t figured out we’re supposed to be competing with each other instead of learning from other’s experience and wisdom.
Or that we have more than we need if we’d only stop to take inventory.
They still value fun over function. Every.single.time.
Their rooms and the treasures inside those rooms are still the most sacred of spaces. Filled with wonder and creativity and possibility. Adults mostly just clean our rooms.
And sometimes they surprise us with their understanding of values we aim to teach but feel like they aren’t getting it. Like caring for our finances as good stewards.
Kids really say the most amazing stuff.
Thank you, Lord, for my kids. They’re my favorite kids.