My children are outspoken. Everyone jokingly says, “I wonder where they get that from?” But the reality is I was a very shy child. So I don’t know where they get it! My triplets say what’s on their mind, whether you want them to or not. Despite my occasional mortification, there are some gems stored in their observations.
1. Life is short. Only hang out with people you like.
We mothers make play dates and parties and all sorts of other get-togethers out of a sense of obligation at times. Sure, there are rockin’ play dates where the mommas and the kiddos get along fabulously, but they are not all like that. I was preparing my kids for an outing and innocently asked, “aren’t you excited to see so-and-so?” The reply was unanimous, voiced first by the little lady, “No Mommy, he’s mean.” Why on Earth do I feel compelled to do kid stuff my kids will not enjoy? Why do I feel compelled to do adult stuff I (and/or Bray) won’t enjoy? Duty. Social appropriateness. I should cut it out. If they only want hang out with people they like, then maybe I should let them, and do the same.
2. If you are exhausted, go to bed.
Last week the kids woke up early and Bray and I were in the kitchen preparing breakfast. Bray went into the play room to ask the boys if they were ready to eat. The eldest looked at him, climbed out of his chair with his blanket, and said, “No, I need some more sleep.” Then he padded down the hall and climbed back in bed. After we stopped laughing hysterically at this interlude, we marveled at his self-bedding. A child volunteering to go to bed is rare. But it has happened a few times lately. The little lady saying, “I’m tired” at lunch and going straight to her room to nap. And now this. We are all on this vicious cycle that says get one more email out at 11 pm and then “sneak in” a few hours of sleep before our 5:30 am wake up call. I realize we can not sleep in on a workday, but if we are tired, I am convinced we could find time to go to bed (even if it’s just crashing when our kids do).
3. When you feel happy, shout, dance, laugh, clap, or do all four.
I love how excited my kids get. I love that you can clearly tell when they are delighted. They are going to be Peter Pan, Captain Hook, and Tinkerbell for Halloween (and hang on to your hats, those costumes are going to kill you with how cute they are), so we bought the Peter Pan DVD to let them watch before Halloween. When Peter Pan rescues everyone from Captain Hook on the pirate ship, there was clapping and cheering all around. Heck, there was clapping and cheering and dancing and “let’s try it on” when the costumes came in the mail. We car-dance. We tell jokes and fall onto the floor laughing. We dance as a part of our daily ritual. But you know, I only do it with my kids. I don’t so much do it in my own life. Wouldn’t that be fun for the giver of the joy to see the enjoyment displayed in our actions in response? When my mom says, “why don’t the two of you go out for dinner and I’ll stay with the kids,” couldn’t I say, “Yippppppeeee!” and clap my hands instead of offering a, “Thank you!”? When my boss offers me a cool opportunity, is it really that inappropriate to say, “Woohoo! Yea!” and do a jump? I personally think it would be greeted with delight on the other side as well.
4. When you love someone, tell them. Show them.
Mmmm. This is my favorite. Each of my children say, “I love you mommy.” They even say, “I like you mommy!” They say, “I love daddy.” They say it about their grandparents. They tell me their favorite friends. They hug and kiss me and each other and even the hairstylist! Yesterday, when they were thanking a school chum for their birthday party favors, they hugged and kissed him. Flagrant affection. Unbridled displays of adoration and love. I do tell my children I love them every day. Bray and I say it every day too. But that’s about it. Wouldn’t it be nice if I shared my great affection for others as my two year olds show theirs? Without censure and restraint? We all would be happier – heck, we might even break into a dance.