Sunday, May 24, 2009

Make a moment happen

There was a night this past week that bedtime couldn't come fast enough. I was trying to get some work done in the house, but it just wasn't happening. It just seemed that the kids were getting noisier and starting to edge towards fighting no matter what we did. I looked at the clock and thought: Five o'clock? That's it?!!! What the heck are we going to do? They were driving me crazy! I got to the point where I sent them both to their rooms for some altercation (I think one knocked over the other's block tower and the other decided that hitting would be the correct way to handle the situation). It was just one of those nights.
Well fine. I decided that I could go down one of two avenues here. One, I could keep going with my agenda (which let's face it, wasn't happening anyways because of all the refereeing I was doing) and allow us to keep getting more miserable and irritated with each other; or, I could try something different.
I went into the oldest boy's bedroom closet and located the craft box. I don't think anything could have surprised him more than to see me come in, not to lecture him, but to find amusements. I located the fingerpaints and fingerpaint paper, as well as two colouring books and the crayons.
The fits stopped immediately when the boys saw what I was doing. And I told them. I said look, we need to have a better night, so let's fingerpaint. Come with me. I stripped the youngest down to his diaper and the oldest down to his shorts. The pages went onto the kitchen floor and I let them go at it. Why not? Sure it's messy, but it's fun. It's also linoleum, and the paint is washable. So are the kids (washable that is, not linoleum). They had a great time.
Once we were done, into the tub they went. The great thing being that they were in a good headspace so bathtime did not turn into a battle.
All nice and clean and happy with their masterpieces, they were more than willing to clean up their earlier living room mess to make way for cushions and colouring books. (Colouring is very relaxing, so it's nice to do before bedtime). As we sat and coloured (and yes, they each had their own book, so there was no fighting about it), we got to talk. We talked about their day and my day. Ideas of things we'd like to do in the future and generally just enjoyed each others company.

I started to think what the night would have been like if I hadn't stopped the chaos. If I had continued down the road of frustration. I imagine that bathtime wouldn't have been pleasant, neither would the living room clean up been so easy. I know I often put off things like fingerpainting because it seems like such a big deal to get out the paints and it's messy. But really, it didn't take long to clean up. The paint just wipes up and having paint time right before bath works so well. I also got a couple of keepsakes out the deal. I handprint and finger printed the both of them (something to put into their keepsake boxes) - they loved that I would put paint on their feet, very fun!
I need to do more of that as a parent. Take time out of the business of life and take time to enjoy my kids, making a memory.

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