By Claire Caprioli
I remember one cold morning when my fourth child, Rosie, was a toddler. I had just sent my husband and three older children off to work and school, and I was cleaning up the remnants of breakfast: toast crumbs, banana peels, and cups of milk (always with just one sip left). I desperately needed a shower. Rosie licked the butter off her fingers and happily finished her milk.
“Okay, I think we could both use a shower,” I said.
“Can I have some hot cocoa?” she asked.
“How about we get in the shower first and have cocoa a little later? I don’t know about you, but I’d feel a lot better after a shower.”
“How about you make me cocoa, and I drink it in the shower?” Rosie is accommodating, but she also knows what she wants.
“No way, goosey-Lucy! Nobody drinks cocoa in the shower!”
And that’s when I had my golden mom moment: instead of the instant “no” that eagerly danced on my lips, I actually took a moment to pause. To think. Hmm. Toddlers seldom drink hot cocoa without getting at least a chocolate mustache and often dribbles down their shirt. Nothing to worry about when they are naked and already in the shower. (And no, there’s no risk of burn—who serves a toddler hot cocoa that’s actually hot?)
In the kitchen, there’s the risk of a full-out spill on the table and floor. In the shower, that would go right down the drain. The cocoa could go in a travel mug so there’s little chance of soapy water going into the drink. Hey, this isn’t sounding too bad. If she’s busy drinking cocoa, I might… *gasp* …I might have an extra minute or two to shave my legs!
“YES!” I enthusiastically cried. “Why not?”
I got to be the champ mom that said yes! She was happy. I was happy. It all worked out so dreamily that I briefly considered serving beverages to my children only while they were bathing. Less laundry! No spills! Okay, I never seriously considered that, but Rosie still remembers that first time, and she did get to do it a few more times after that.
The moral is: kids can have great ideas that work out for everyone. When you are tempted to say “no” out of habit or because something simply sounds silly, take the time to pause and consider. What do you lose by saying “yes”? What might you gain? If I had told her no and made her wait for the cocoa, she might have been grumpy and uncooperative getting clean and may well have made a mess of herself shortly thereafter. If I had given in to the request before I showered, I may have been grumpy and impatient for her to finish. Either way, our attitudes would have fed off each other making us both unhappy and not setting a great tone for the start of the day. Sure, we would have gotten over it quickly enough, but look at what actually happened just by saying YES!
[Claire Caprioli birthed all four of her children in the peach room at the WBWC and used to contribute regularly to the newsletter under her married name. She’s still happily married but uses her pen name. She is a children’s writer and has completed her first (as yet unpublished) novel. She is excited to once again share her articles about pregnancy and parenting with the WBWC. You can find her at https://twitter.com/ClaireCaprioli]