Saying YES to our children’s requests can be difficult. Our first reaction is most often, “No, not right now, maybe later.” But what if we took a moment to really think about what they were asking. Better yet, take a moment to think about your reaction, then ask yourself “why not?”
Can I bring snow inside the house?
Can we actually cook my concoction and taste it?
Can I ….? (you fill in the blank)
A few years ago I was reading Pam Laricchia’s books, What I read was confirmed by our actions at home. My husband is doing it all right without having read the books, just by intuition and his awesome parenting!!
One day, when the boys were younger, they wanted to use our fire pit and have s’mores. Unfortunately we had no yummy supplies, so we planed to build a fire the next evening. I had to go out for a bit and returned to find three fires going in the back yard! Daddy looked up and said, “MJ kept asking me to light his pretend fire. At first I said no, but then I thought why not?”
My boys were so absolutely proud of their creations. They explored the best way to build the pit using some bricks, and which sticks would burn easily. We had fun with marshmallows and really connected as a family.
The next morning the boys were outside still in their pajamas working on the fire pits again. This time TJ wanted his to be bigger! MJ created several small ones deciding on which design he liked best. TJ drove the tractor to our brick pile (yes we have one!) to gather more supplies. They went off in search of sticks to use. Then wishing aloud one of the boys said he wanted to cook more than just marshmallows over the fire. I hesitated thinking: how inconvenient it might be, I really had no idea how, what if it turned out badly, the stores were closed today too… “Sure that sounds interesting. Let’s look up some recipes to see how.”
Oh their eyes lit up. Did mommy really say yes to an idea?
TJ and I looked up some campfire cooking ideas and made a list. We chose some recipes that looked interesting and doable. Next we drove off to see if any stores were open. Being Labour Day, nothing was open. Since we had already talked about that possibility, we then brainstormed how we could plan dinner using what we had at home. TJ was surprisingly flexible and excited. He also decided to set up his tent at home and pretend he was camping.
Dinner time couldn’t come fast enough for these guys! We decided to try popcorn, hot dogs and s’mores.
I won’t lie, it was rather hot out, breezy, and difficult to keep their little fires lit. I had to run between two fires, the baby and helping them actually cook their food. It wasn’t totally the most easy time for daddy and I, but we both kept positive. TJ felt badly about how much work we had to do. I assured him that this was all new to us, an adventure and part of the experience. I’d never cooked over a fire either so I had to figure it all out.
We talked about how life must have been years ago when fire was all they had available. Working as a team also came into play. Someone had to keep the fires going, another to cook, sharing cooking implements (a good marshmallow stick) etc.
Later MJ sprayed some water on his fire and it went out. Devastated he ran in to ask for the fire place blower to get it going again. I was rather tired by now so baby JJ got my attention. Daddy was kind enough to re-light MJ’s fire pit. The boys played with it for a while longer before evening routine.
Saying yes brought about the best end-off-summer family memories. We also all got to experience something new because we followed the curiosity of a young child!!
My boys were younger then when I first wrote this post on my old blog. The funny thing is that this theme keeps coming up, especially not that their younger brother is the same age as they were in the photos. He is also into fire pits. I challenge you to ask yourself, “Why not?” and let me know what happens.