Sunday, December 6, 2009

A Different Perspective

It's funny how your perspective can change under different circumstances. I used to be pretty hard on my kids for being wild. They would run, jump, whoop and holler, and I would yell at them and tell them to calm down.

Now we own our own home which doesn't share a wall, floor or ceiling with any other resident. After making the kids tiptoe around the house and making them go outside if they had to burp, sneeze, swallow, breathe, or do anything else in the past year that would make a sound louder than 1 decibel (so as not to prompt a visit from our grumpy neighbor), Val and I decided to let the kids be wild for a week to get it out. I figured they would be extremely annoying while Val and I patiently counted down the passing of the week. It happened a little differently than expected.

They have been wild. They have competitions to see who can scream the loudest. They climb everything in and outside the house and jump off it. They never ever walk - ever. They run full speed everywhere. This was all expected. What wasn't was how much fun I've had watching them finally get to be kids. The other day I was working in the yard and Mia was riding her scooter around our driveway. I told her she could go ahead and ride in the street if she wanted (remember we live in a cul-de-sac). She looked at me like I was crazy and didn't know weather or not I was teasing her. I told her it was really fine, but she should just watch for neighbors who might drive out of their driveway. Her eyes got as big as softballs and she let out a siren-pitched scream that rattled my bones. She scooted down the driveway and all the way across the court to to the other side then immediately back and then back again, siren scream never stopping except to add a few "ho hos" and "hee hees". She was in heaven. Soon she figured the scooter was too slow so she pushed it off on it's own back up the drive way and began runnung back and forth. Xander came out all excited (because he seems to be the only one who can tell the difference between Mia's screams of joy and screams of anger without seeing her face) The two of them ran back and forth and around the circular sidewalk.

I just sat back and laughed at how much fun they were having.

Another time, I came in the house and found CJ and Xander on the floor beside each other and Mia on the couch jumping over them. The second she landed, one of them would get up and trade places and have their turn. I told them to stop it right now! I explained that they could really hurt someone if they didn't jump far enough. Mia made a comment about how she is good at jumping and already knows she can jump far enough. I agreed and encouraged them to see how far they could jump from the couch without someone under them. So they did.

I just sat back and laughed at how much fun they were having.

Just before we mowed it, Mia's job was to rake the leaves in the backyard. She was so excited. She grabbed the rake and raked a pile about two feet square and about 5 leaves high. Then she dropped the rake and JUMPED onto the pile yelling woo hoo! I thought it was hilarious that she was so excited because she knew she could make a pile of leaves to jump into. I helped her scoop the small pile into the trash can and she raked a new pile to jump into before throwing those away as well. She did it over and over.

I just sat back and laughed at how much fun she was having.

Growing up, I hated mowing the lawn. I also used to be amazed at how my dad would spend hours on Saturday doing yard work. I was not looking forward to the day I would have to be responsible and take care of my own yard. I have my own yard now. It has a lawn and bushes and two big trees. I bought my first lawn mower. It looks like a hot rod! It red and has a sleek modern shape. I started it up and only had to pull the rope one time! I kinda couldn't wait for Saturday so I could mow the lawn. CJ thought it was pretty cool too. She said "Hey, how about you let me mow the lawn and you could pay me like a dollar or something"


Now before I go on, I should explain that it crossed my mind that I'm probably ripping my own daughter off by paying her a dollar for this work. Then it occurred to me that right now the work is worth a dollar to her. Eventually it won't be enough so I can raise it up to five (probably two to start)and she'll be re-motivated. No use in jumping to far ahead in the payment plan yet.

So I taught her about how to mow the lawn. I had her go around the whole yard looking for sticks and rocks. Then I explained some safety stuff and started it up. I pushed it around the perimeter, pointing out sprinkler heads and high spots to watch out for. After a full circle, I figured it wouldn't hurt to take her around one more time before I let her try on her own. I was having fun taking care of my own lawn. Then we came to a tree and I showed her how to get around it. Now it was her turn. She took over and pushed it down two stripes. I asked if it would be ok if I went ahead and finished this part because it got tight in one corner. So I finished that off. I let her mow another stripe then took over again and asked if she would feel bad if I just finished the back lawn. She let me.

She sat back and laughed at how much fun I was having.

Easiest dollar she ever earned.

When we moved to the front. I once again did the perimeter, but then handed it over to her to finish (It took her about five minutes to be done). Mia was out watching us. I asked her if she would sweep the grass cuttings from the sidewalk back onto the grass. I offered to show her how, but she insisted she already knew. And did she ever.

Now you get to sit back and laugh at how much fun she was having.

So it turns out that I love that my kids get the freedom to be kids now. It makes me happier and way more patient. I also like to tke care of my own house. Huh. Who would have guessed?


Sarah said...

That is great. We should all take a lesson from Mia...sweeping my kitchen would be way more fun if I did it like her! So happy you guys have your own place!

Abby said...

hahahahaah has she been taking Karate lessons?

Andy Porter said...

Holy ninja sweeper!! I love it!! I love everything about this post. I should let my kids be wild more. I have to remind myself that I used to do TONS of things that I don't let my kids do. I'm so glad you have your very own wild place now!!

Betsy said...

I swear--everytime I see Mia do something like this I can just picture Valerie doing the same thing. My word verification was kiskaft--did I just swear?