We are moving out. Going to Texas.
That is not what I am writing about today.
This is a story about my oldest daughter. She is so much like me in so many ways.
A few days ago we got in a disagreement over a toy. I said she needed to leave it outside, she insisted she should bring it in. I won, but she was so angry that she told me, "I am so angry with you it makes me not want to live here anymore." (she's 5, going on 15)
I said, "Oh yeah, where would you live?"
"Somewhere else," she states forcefully.
Then to her shock, I said, "okay, you can move out."
Suddenly the information sank in and ideas started firing rapidly in her brain.
"Okay mom, well then I will just go out and find a place and be back in a bit to get my stuff."
Then she walks to the back door, looks out, sees her new playhouse and says with rapid breath and near squealing, "I know mommy, I'll live in my playhouse."
I say okay again and then she is running upstairs to pack.
I sit at the computer looking at recipes for dinner when she comes back down with a small purse with underwear, and a few toys.
Then it dawns on her, where will she sleep?
She bursts into tears and says, "Mommy there is no bed, and where will I sleep?"
"I don't know," I say, but then the wheels are turning again. She will sleep in a chair she decides. So back upstairs to pack some bedding.
In a bit she comes back down with a lot of toys, some clothes, her swim suit, a bit of bedding, and every pair of shoes she owns (a true woman in the making). She begins to make a pile by the back door. Her 3 year old sister is moving in with her at this point. They are going to be 'housemates'. So they are also packing her bedding and toys. The pile by the back door grows some more.
Then I open the door and she starts putting her stuff in the house. Casually, as I prepare dinner, I wonder aloud, "huh, I wonder what you will eat for dinner?"
She stops and looks at me in horror! The hysterics are on the verge of overflowing, "But mommy I don't have any money to buy food, and I......" the rest is unintelligible crying and blubbering.
I say calmly, "well, I can give you a bag of pretzels to hold you over until you can make it to the store."
She brightens, "thank you mommy" and goes back to moving into her new home.
Then, as I finish up dinner, she comes in crying again.
"Mommy, I just can't do it, everything won't fit and I..................I just really want to live with you again."
"Oh baby girl, I am so happy to hear that. I would love to have you live with me again."
And she melts into my arms weeping in relief.
Then from the back door I hear my younger daughter say, "Well I'm still moving out! I'm gonna live in the house 'S' gave us!"
So I say 'okay' and continue to love on my older girl, who has learned a good lesson about the realities of moving out (if even only on a small scale).
Then I say, "well then, lets have spaghetti" (my kids favorite meal), and suddenly my three year old is begging to move back in too.
Life lessons were learned, I am sure of it, and me? I got to enjoy the live entertainment for free. Kids, they are so much fun!
Some of you may ask how long I would have let the ruse go before insisting she move back in?
I would have let it go as far as it had to, even as far as her sleeping outside in her playhouse (supervised all night from the window of course). If the cramped quarters didn't do the trick, the massive amounts of mosquitos would have. Secretly I was praying it would rain, which would have sped up the process of discovery, but it didn't even take rain to drive her back to my arms. It only took the reality of all her possessions not fitting into her tiny new apartment. Ha! Such a girl.
So why would I let her think that she could move out? Because I believe in letting my kids practice being adults in as many ways as possible. To be sure, she had to think and use her brain a lot in the process of moving out, and realizing what it takes to live on her own, and so forth.
I want my home to be a safe place to practice learning these types of life lessons. It is not my job to control her and do all the thinking for her. She has a brain, and I know she uses it, so I knew in the long run (or short, in this case) that her brain would lead her to the logical conclusion that her plan was maybe not the best plan. I guarantee she is smarter now than when the process first began.
At the end, she was truly repentant for how she had spoken to me, she was suddenly more grateful for being allowed to live in my house and eat my food. It was also a great bonding moment. As I held her in my arms, I was able to tell her how glad I was that she was staying and how much I love living with her.
It was a beautiful/funny adventure.
How about you? Anyone got a funny story about a child who learns the value of a life lesson creatively?