Today we were outside and the kids were riding their bikes. (Marisol just learned to ride without training wheels yesterday! On my birthday - what a sweet present.) Anyways, Marisol was down by the basketball court which is a ways away from the playground. It rained on and off today and it had started sprinkling, so Gerry was running into the house. As mothers of multiple children often are, I was being pulled in more than one direction. I shouted to Gerry that I had to go get Marisol.
I walked towards the basketball court, not in any particular hurry because I knew Gerry was ok getting into the house. Marisol was starting to ride towards me by now and as she got closer I could see/hear that she was upset.
"Mommy, mommy! That nanny says that I can't ride on the basketball court because it is raining!" She gestured in the direction of a little boy and a woman who were hurriedly walking away.
I reassured Marisol that of course she could keep riding and that it wasn't up to the nanny. It only took me a few seconds to surmise what had happened. The nanny wanted to go home (it was probably lunch time for them anyways) and the rain was the perfect reason to get out of there. But the boy probably protested - especially since Marisol was still out there - and so she told him that Marisol had to go in too.
"She said you were calling me!" Marisol added. Hmmm besides calling to Gerry, I'm pretty sure I didn't. I explained to Marisol what I thought had happened and made sure she understood. I also told her that it's fine to be out in the rain - we wouldn't melt! I told her how I used to work out in the rain on the golf-course - in fact we weren't allowed to quit unless there was lightning! Rain-gear-it-up and keep on workin'!
But this whole incident made me think of all the little "white lies" adults tell kids all the time. Usually we think that they are harmless. But instead of being direct about matters - "It's time for us to eat lunch now" or "*I* don't like getting wet!" we make things up to convince kids that they have to do what we want. (Sometimes we don't even think we are making them up - maybe the only option in this nanny's eyes was getting out of the rain! But I enjoyed seeing my kids in their raincoats and using their cute umbrellas today. ;-)
Another scene flashed through my mind. I'm sitting with a good friend on her bed while our kids splash in her huge bathtub in the next room. The kids wanted something (more water? bubbles? a cup or toy?? I can't remember) and my friend very honestly said, "I don't want to get up, I'm feeling lazy!"
I remember thinking how refreshing that was! And I try to do that with my kids too. Of course I try to meet their needs and help them most of the time - but I'm also getting better at saying, "I'm tired" or "I want to do this first" or "I *don't* want to do that" too. Sometimes I still end up doing things. Sometimes they wait. Sometimes we compromise. But I find that the honesty is really essential in our relationship. And the older kids get and the more you are respectful of their desires, the more able they are to be respectful of yours. (Gerry still has a ways to go in this regard, but I know he'll get there! Marisol amazes me all the time with her empathy.)
Wife, mom, information and peace seeker.