February 28, 2011 at 6:00 am
I decided the night before that my kid deserved a Yes Day.
You’ve heard of these, right?
The concept is simple — you just say yes, or even just not no, as much as possible (factoring in safety and other real-life concerns) throughout the course of a day.
It’s a good reminder of how often, as parents, we find ourselves saying no or stop, or not now, or get down, or in some way discouraging normal kid business.
My son turned 7 this past Saturday, and it seemed like a little extra gift I could give him to say yes as much as possible that day … and this is how it went:
A little before 8 My son wakes and I tell him Happy Birthday. (Perhaps I sang a little. Just a little.)
“Can we have a ticklefight?” he asks.
He proceeds to jump on my head 25 or 30 times. It ends when I rip his socks off and tickle his feet and he can’t stop giggling, so he calls a time-out for breakfast.
8:30 “Mom, can we have waffles with strawberries and blueberries today?”
Well … I respond, usually on your birthday we have pancakes with blueberries, so we actually don’t have strawberries. (Not a no.)
“OK. I forgot!” he says.
9 a.m. “Mom, can we do the egg experiment?”
I put an egg in a jar of vinegar. It literally takes less than a minute. (The kids check on this project at least 10 times throughout the day and they laugh and jump every time.)
9:15 a.m.“Mom, can we play Qwirkle?” (Which he received as a gift for his birthday, but we hadn’t actually played yet.)
Um … yeah … just let me read the directions.
9:45 I actually figure out how to play the game correctly.
9:50 “Mom, can I put this piece here?”
Uh … I think it says to build on like this instead. That isn’t a no, is it?
11:30 “Can we have pizza for lunch?”
(A year ago I would have HAD to have said no because of dietary restrictions, so this is a hearty yes.)
12:30 He runs some errands with his dad. I stay home and look at the things we will be learning in the next few weeks. I try to imagine saying yes more to the things that interest him, even if they aren’t on “the list.”
More Geronimo Stilton books? Yes. More animal study? Yes. Buying him a bird whistle? Why not.
2 p.m. He returns home. “Mom, can I look up baseball stuff on the computer about the ball I got for my birthday?”
Well … not everything on the Internet is always OK for kids. How about if when Daddy has a minute he can help you and until then you can work on your book?
“Yeah! That sounds like a good idea!”
3 p.m. “Mom, will you play with us?”
We play with logs and animals and their little houses. I realize it has been days since I have sat on the floor and played. Last week was so hectic – dentist appointments and doctor’s appointments, playdates and general busyness. Has it been a week since we have played? Even for a few minutes?
“Mom, you are in SUCH a good mood today,” he says as I make a sign for the animal tower.
And I see that he’s right. He’s definitely right.
5 p.m. “Mom, can we go anywhere I want for dinner?” he asks. “Can we get ice cream too?”
Whoa. Last year at this time, we ate steamed vegetables and plain rice noodles in a little Thai place. When the owner offered a birthday dessert, we had to decline because of allergies.
Still, this is dangerous territory.
But birthdays come once a year …
Yup. Anywhere you want.
He chooses burritos and ice cream for dessert.
But when we get to the ice cream shop, he is overwhelmed with options.
“Can I get 3 kinds?” he asks.
How about one kind today. (We compromise at two.)
“Can I get anything I want on top?” he asks.
How about just one thing … but pick a good one.
He asks to try my ice cream.
(I remember how last week when we got sushi rolls he saved one of each kind for me — a little kindness that came so unexpectedly. It was such a 7 kind of thing to do.)
8 p.m. We are home. It is almost bed time, and we go upstairs to put on pajamas.
“Mom,” he says, with a mischievous look in his eye. “Wanna wrestle?!”
He dives at me and I realize he might get riled up right before bed …
But then again — maybe he won’t.
Ahhhhhh! I scream as he tackles me.
A little while later he climbs on my back and we head downstairs. He takes his vitamins, and drinks a cup of peppermint tea. And then he brushes his teeth without a discussion about the merits of dental hygiene.
We say goodnight, and he heads upstairs.
But before he goes, I ask him something I have been wondering about all day:
So … did you have a good birthday today?
“Yes!” he smiles, and I can tell that it’s true.
So did I, kid. We’re going to have to do this more often.
Owen’s Spelt Berry Breakfast Pancakes
1 cup whole spelt flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
2 tablespoons evaporated cane juice (or sugar)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup almond milk (or any milk)
2 tablespoons light oil
1 cup blueberries
Mix dry ingredients together and stir well. Add in egg, milk and oil, and mix thoroughly. Carefully fold in blueberries. (If batter seems too thick, add a little more milk to thin it out.)
Grease pan with a small amount of light oil. Pour 1/4 cup of batter into pan. Cook pancake until it bubbles, and flip. Continue to cook until both sides are golden brown and pancake is cooked through. Repeat with rest of batter.
Serve on birthday mornings (or any other happy day!).