imageI learned two things today…..

~ Mommy has a potty mouth

~ Our daughter is an artist! And a creative one at that!

They say “Silence is Golden. Unless it is a child, then silence is dangerous!” After being the daycare provider for three of six nieces and our one nephew from their infancy, I know this. VERY well.

Still, I thought nothing of it as our daughter was quietly playing in her room. When I noticed it was lunchtime, I called for her to come downstairs. She likes to lock her bedroom door (and she’s only three!), and for some reason she was having difficulty opening the door today. I could hear her unlocking and locking the door, fidgeting with the door knob, but the door remained closed. So I walked up the last bit of stairs, and opened the door. That sweet little face to the left? That’s what I saw when I opened the door about a foot. When I pushed the door open the rest of the way, my eyes got big, and my mouth dropped open as I gazed upon the rest of the room.

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As I looked at the art our daughter placed every so beautifully around her room, she looked up, gasped, brought her hands to her mouth, and as she brought her hands down, she said, “Oh, [email protected]&%!”

Yep. Now, I’m not even going to try to defend myself here. Because the truth of the matter is that, yes, I occasionally let that word fly from my mouth. Occasionally. And, truth be told, I am honestly pretty good at catching myself, and the “ck” are rarely said, I tend to drop off as soon as I realize what’s coming out of my mouth. Still, she said it. And as I calmly told her that we don’t say that word, you could see the wonder in her eyes as to whether or not she was going to get in trouble for painting her room.

Now, I’m part Irish and part Hawaiian. Two of the most kickback cultures I know. They are also two of the most hotheaded cultures I know, lol. And the old me, well, she probably would have Hulked out, gotten angry, and sternly scolded our daughter. For being a kid. Plain and simple. Should she have painted the walls, her bed spread, and bed blue? No. But she’s three. And this was the first time she had done anything like this. Was I frustrated? Angry? Raging because I would have to clean all this up? After seeing this…..

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And this…..

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And this….

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And this, too….

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You know what I did? I smiled. And I thought to myself, how creative! And I even looked down at her and said, “Baby!! Your handprints are so good!!” To which she replied, “And blue, mommy!” ”Yes, baby girl, and blue.” And then she said the most wonderful thing….”It’s amazing!”

You see, in the moments that I was looking around the room, for the first time in my life, my heart wasn’t racing with anger, my mind was thinking a million steps ahead as to how to go about cleaning up this beautiful blue mess, and rage wasn’t fueling me. I can honest to goodness say that no, none of that was going on inside my mind or body. All I could think was, dang! We’ve got an artist on our hands!

I took our daughter downstairs after changing out her bedding and putting her painted ones in the wash, and I put her on her stool in front of the kitchen sink. As we washed her hands with Dawn (because, yes, that paint was washable!), and the blue fell off her, I said, “Hey! I see a Lily!” And she said, “Oh, thank you, mommy!” And then we dried her off, and I laid her down on the couch so I could use wipes to clean the blue off her feet and legs. And as I scrubbed those little feet, she laughed, saying, “Mommy! That tickles!!” And it became a game. And when I was all done, she looked down at her clean little legs and feet, and said, “I see a Lily! Oh, thank you, mommy! Thank you!”

What’s the moral of the story?

I know, I take my time getting there sometimes.

The point is, while it would have been all too easy to get upset, yell and scream, and even scold our daughter, the damage was done. It wasn’t like it was a bulldozer, and she tore down walls. It was washable paint. Her sheets and comforter might be stained, but the walls can be painted, and with a little hot soap and water, it will come right off her bed railings. It wasn’t the end of the world, it was amazing. It was her work of art, and she was so proud. How could I steal that moment from her? Did she know she did something wrong? Yes. Because somewhere between dropping the f bomb and saying ‘it’s amazing,’ she said, “Sorry, mommy.” She knew. What would have been the point of rubbing salt in the wound?

As parents we have this amazing opportunity to not let the only words our children hear from us be discouraging, scolding, or filled with anger. We have the chance to build up these little souls into something so strong, so beautiful, and so amazing. We have the chance to build with positivity, love, and words of encouragement.

Am I saying to let your kids hand paint their bedrooms everyday? No. And with any luck it won’t be a repeat performance here, either, haha! I’m just saying that when those things happen, the things that could so easily send us over the edge, take a moment to look down into your child’s eyes, and remember that they are only this little for a short time. The walls can be painted over. The bed railings can be washed off. Every once in a while, our children need to be reminded that they are amazing.