Monday, March 29, 2010

understanding umbrellas.

It's raining today. Moments ago, I was at the kitchen sink washing dishes. My 8 year old offered to take our Cocker Spaniel out to relieve himself. It was then that I saw the umbrella.

I don't know what it is with kids and umbrellas. Actually, I do. They are interesting to watch as you push that little button and presto! And maybe it's because we don't use them like people used to. Maybe people in metropolitan areas do and it's just us rural folks who are used to running quickly to the mailbox without the need of an umbrella, but I've noted over the years that my kids are fascinated by them. 

I had purchased one of those fold-up kinds and had it in the vehicle because I had discovered there were times when I didn't enjoy walking through the pouring rain with a newborn in tow when going into the local grocery store. It was used minimally, yet, from time to time I would find someone playing with it or "needing" it. And then of course I would say, "Do not play with the umbrella" or "Haven't I told you not to play with the umbrella?"

I watched as he walked the dog across the backyard, hoping he would avoid the muddy parts (he didn't so I quickly got the gate up to keep the dog in the kitchen). The navy blue umbrella ('cuz the red one had broken just as I knew would happen) was remembered and retrieved from the Jeep and held stoically as if he was play acting some movie he saw. 

Generally speaking, I believe I am a fun mom. Granted, I've had my days and even weeks of not being so fun. But comparing my kids' life to my own, theirs is like Disney World (okay, the local playground). But define fun. Well, I did finger painting with shaving cream on my kitchen table with them, went to the expense and mess of making gingerbread houses, let them splash in puddles, and let them jump on the bed. From time to time onlookers would say, "So and so is in the puddle", and I would say, "So?" It's fun!

So #8 has the umbrella. The forbidden activity that is right up there with a bouncing or spinning basketballs in the house, or monotone whistling. I don't care about those Fisher Price popper toys. The tune of Mario Brothers and Zelda video games are still in the repertoire of music filed in my head. I've listened to piano and drum practice and even some electric guitar. But there are some things that you just can't overcome no matter what. Is that allowed?

There's a difference in my mind of being stretched through allowing some things that I do not enjoy and also being firm about certain other things. When you have a few kids your little world is going to get messed up. You have to pick your battles so to speak. If you give in to some things it's not because they are in charge. You can still be quite in charge, ie; playing hide and seek in the house but, "stay out of the closets!!"

Finally, it goes without saying (like it or not older children) that the younger ones will and do get away with more. Moms get tired and we learn what is really important and what is not.Sorry.

But see, #8 will dutifully put the umbrella away. And that makes all the difference!

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