The other day I took all the kids to the Market to pick up a few items for some cupcakes we were making. They have these little carts for kids to push around and Avila always requests one if we're there. And then, of course, Max wanted one, too. But with all three kids there was no way I wanted to push one baby in a cart followed by two bumper carts behind me. A recipe for disaster. Or so I thought.
At first I tried to bribe one kid into not getting a cart. But that didn't work and a meltdown in the front of the store was about to ensue. So, I caved and made it clear that if they didn't follow my directions they would lose their fingers. OK, not that. But there would be death somehow. =)
Result: Obedient. Happy. Working together. And nothing was knocked over. (praise Jesus.) I realized that I didn't give them enough credit. They wanted to help out and they wanted to obey. By giving them a chance to prove I could trust them they pulled through and they knew this was a big responsibility. I was clear in my expectations then let them lose to show they could live up to them. It was a fun outing and my little ducklings were such good helpers.
All in all it reminds me that kids are capable of so much, if only we let go of our parental control-ed-ness. And if even they were horrible and didn't listen, at least I gave them a chance.
Letting go? Letting them grow up? Scary but necessary....Can't they just be 4 forever?????