I'm going to pause here for a moment for a short back story:
Some time ago I was reading a blog that talked about how often we have to say "no" as parents. The challenge was presented to me from this fellow mommy blogger to say "yes" more often. I label myself as a fairly strict mom but still believed I said yes more often than no. But as I challenged myself with this, I found I was often quite quick to respond with an impulsive "no." Often, if I did say yes it was because I had stopped and considered the question first and would then come to the conclusion of, "yeah, sure." Quite rarely was there an automatic yes. I'm not sure that's always a bad thing - it's good to have reasons - but maybe not all questions require such careful consideration. On this particular evening I had an impulsive yes.
My daughter had stopped at the edge of one of these gigantic puddles. Calling to me across the yard as I unbuckled Amelia, "Mommy, can I jump in this puddle?" And my response was, "Yes!"
It was Friday at 6:00 and I was really tired. I could have said no. It was dark out. A perfectly good reason to say no. Although it was nearly 50 degrees warmer than it had been a few days ago it was still only in the 40s. Autumn was not dressed for puddle jumping. A completely reasonable explanation for no.
But I responded with a quick yes. She had on a jacket and snow boots. I would be right next to her and we would only be out for a few minutes. It had been unsafe to be outside at all for the last several days due to the extreme cold and she needed to run. And she had stopped at the edge of that puddle before jumping in to ask if it was okay. She has stopped her 3 year old impulsive body to ask. So my 32 year old not impulsive, not spontaneous enough self said, "Yes!"
She, of course, had a blast. And I did too, watching her with Amelia in my arms.
I know I won't always be able to say yes. If I want to raise reasonable members of society that know there are limits and boundaries there will always be plenty of nos. "No, you may not have M&Ms before breakfast." "No, you cannot pull your sister around by her head." "No, you may not stay up forever." Just to name a few. But I have also read that your nos have more meaning if they are heard much less than your yeses. So this is my challenge to myself: to not just say yes often but with less deliberation when it's perfectly harmless to say, "YES!"
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