It started with Zac having a time out. When I came back to see if he was ready to rejoin the family and follow our family rules, he had calmed down nicely, and engaged himself with building a construction using their bed bases and mattresses. His bed was three feet out from the wall, one mattress was leaning up against a wall and the other was spanning the gap between the two beds. The bedroom was completely trashed. We came to an agreement that it would be restored to its former state when it was bedtime.
With chest puffed out with pride, Zac took me by the hand at bathtime to show me the job he had done tidying up the room. The beds were back in place, mattresses on them. He had even tidied up a little. And he had very smoothly laid the duvets on the bed. The sheets were rolled up in a little ball in the corner. “Zac,” I said, “you’ve done a lovely job of tidying up the bedroom. Well done. But the sheets are missing from the beds.” “I know”, Zac patiently explained, “I thought it would be fun to sleep without any sheets tonight. We can put them back on tomorrow.”
My instinctive response was “no”. You have sheets on a bed for a reason, and anyway, it feels much nicer to sleep on sheets than on a mattress. But I’m working hard on applying a “WHY NOT” filter to requests the children make. When I applied my why not question, I actually couldn’t think of a decent reason to say no. So I agreed.
The delight on Zac’s face, and then the almost identical delight on Conal’s face when he came in from the bath, and the “Don’t we have to sleep on sheets tonight Mum? That’s so COOL!” from him, were my reward.
This brought to mind my first why not experience, when the older kids were around 4, 6 and 8. It was a hot sticky humid rainy summer’s day, not unlike today actually! They begged to go out in the rain, and at first I said no. One of them asked “but why not? We’ll wear raincoats” and I completely changed my mind! They ended up going out with no clothes on at all, got soaking wet and muddy. We threw them straight into the bath and cleaned them off, then had dinner. The end result? I got to have a quiet cuppa while they rampaged outside and I had four ecstatic children who still remember that afternoon.
My learning for today? Keep applying the why not filter. Try and view the world through more child-like eyes. And as always, have more fun!