Welcome to Mama Be Present: Tiny, Mighty Joy Prompts for Mamas + Toddlers.
In the classic children’s book No, David!, a mischievous little boy is told “No” left and right.
As he jumps on his bed with cowboy boots on, bangs pots and pans, and swings his bat in the living room, he hears things like, “Settle down!” “David! Be quiet!” “Not in the house, David!”
At the end, his mom wraps him in her arms as she says, “Yes, David…I love you!”
We say no to our little ones a lot. It’s our way of protecting, teaching, and ultimately loving them. But how many times throughout the day are we declining their requests because we feel inconvenienced in some way?
One morning, JeeWoo wanted to sit on the counter while he drank his juice. Normally, I say no so I can do things around the kitchen and not worry about him breaking his legs. But on that day, I obliged and stayed close.
He immediately reached for the box of rocks I forgot to put back in my nightstand. (Yes. I have a collection of smooth pebbles from Crete that he brings out about 40x a week.)
Before I knew it, his bare, dirty feet and my beloved, beachy treasures were all over the counter. My patience was running dry.
Then, I remembered a “Wash the Toys” post from @busytoddler on Instagram, which basically shows the keep-em-focused power of soap and water.
“Hey, buddy, do you want to wash those rocks and make ‘em all shiny?” I asked.
“YEAAAAAHHH!” he yelled.
Not long after he got his hands into a suds-filled tupperware, he stood up and opened the cabinet where we keep his stuff.
“How bout this? How bout blue cup? How bout green bowl?” he asked, as he reached for all the things.
“Sure! Yes! Whatever you’d like!”
Although I cringed over everything he got out, I sure loved how lit up he was. He eventually spilled so much that water was dripping to the floor. Oh, but the JOY he got from pouring cup after cup and “catching fish” with his spoon was worth the 30 seconds of clean-up.
This activity was so riveting, he later chose it over watching Cocomelon. (!!!) While he “rocked out with his toes out” on my once-sanitized countertop, I unloaded the dishwasher and cooked lunch *not* to the sounds of Netflix, for once.
We were focused on different things, but we were close in proximity, and I could feel how much he appreciated that. It was a welcomed change of pace that filled us both up. He didn’t even fight his nap, later. I didn’t even have to set a warning timer! Like, what?
In the days that followed, he asked me to find rocks with him so much, it almost became annoying. 😉 But…
Look what transpired from adventurously saying, “Absolutely!”
The next time your little rebel has something crazy (but safe!) up their sleeve (Pepper on their pancakes? A snow angel partner? Mismatching mittens? Dessert before dinner?) make their day with three unexpected letters…
This post is part of the Mama Be Present series:
A joy-sparking journey + free community for moms who desire simple yet impactful ways to connect more with their little ones.
Meet new friends. Revel in the small things. Share your memories in the making.