For those of you who follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you may have already seen the photo proof of what I went through on a day last week. I hadn’t thought about sharing it on the blog until an article I read this morning on this woman’s Facebook page and I knew I wanted to address this. She has some excellent points about how to “let children be” from an entirely heartbreaking experience that actually made me sob uncontrollably for 30 minutes or so. (I thought I’d warn you in case you thought you might like to read it.) After reading it, I was very grateful for the reaction I had to my last Wednesday.
I had been doing our budget and a few other very important things on the computer at the dinning room table. I heard my boys playing around the corner in the kitchen. I heard the lid come off the giant tupperware that houses my chocolate chips, sugars, random other flours and meals, and other baking supplies. This is a favorite place of my youngest son because he will chew through the bag of brown sugar and suck on it. Gross, I know. Anyway, I heard them take off the lid and asked my oldest, “Casey, can you put that lid back on and get out of there?”
So I went back to work, got all absorbed and tuned back in to the kids about 5 minutes later. I heard a swishing bag. I have a big plastic bag holder I figured they had gotten ahold of and emptied. Fine by me, I thought. At least it was something easy to clean up. But they were having too much fun. They were both laughing. They were actually squealing with joy. Suspicions rose. I also realized letting very young children play with plastic bags is a terrible idea. I just set down my pencil and calculator to go check it out when they ran around the corner. They stopped and grinned at me before turning around and running back into the kitchen, the bag they were playing with trailing behind them. My mind didn’t want to believe what I had seen. It wasn’t calculating.
How could they…?
What in the….?
Oh please no!
Oh yes. They had.
An entire bag of tapioca flour that I had recently bought from the bulk section of Winco Foods was now covering my floor, covering my children, resting on counters and boxes and chairs, filtering through the air, coating everything! For those of you unfamiliar with tapioca flour, it is a very similar consistency to cornstarch…only a little stickier. And it was EVERYWHERE!
The frugal mom in me wanted to cry at the waste. The disciplinarian mom in me wanted to punish! Everyone. In every way possible! The neat freak mom wanted to kick them out and get to fixing this disaster. The pregnant mom in me wanted to quit because how in the world was I going to get all that cleaned up when I have this gigantic belly and the fat feet?
The fun mom got out her camera. The fun mom let them play. The fun mom caught a lot of moments of pure, untamed joy bursting from her children. The fun mom swept some flour up and mixed it with water to see if it made the same awesome goop that cornstarch and water does. Yes. It does. Success! Fun mom mixed up a big pan of goop and let them play in it, in the middle of an uncleaned disaster.
They got it on their clothes. Fun mom didn’t care. She didn’t have to because they were already COVERED in powder. They stood in it and dripped it on the floor. Fun mom didn’t mind. The floor needed swept and vacuumed and mopped anyway! And they had so much fun. It may have been the best day of their life.
Let Children Be
I took a video, which I love. I took pictures, which are adorable. I got it (mostly) cleaned up (thanks in part to an awesomely helpful husband). I’m still finding dustings in the most bizarre places. I’m still out an entire bag of tapioca flour. But I’m glad I let my children be.
I let children be children. Because how much longer will they get to? Today we went fishing. I bought a license just to take them. Casey is obsessed with the fishing pole. He plays with it all the time. He always talks about wanting to go fishing. We went. He wanted to reel it in once. Then he was done. That was it. And I let them go play in the ditch instead.
We took a picnic. Neither boy ate their sandwich. I let them off with eating some grapes and an entire bag of chips.
Because not every day and not every meal needs to be a “learning experience” or some great life lesson. They have their whole lives to learn what life is about. Let children be. Let them be happy. Let them be carefree. Let them make mistakes and bad choices. Let children be who they are before the world tries to tell them who they should be.
Let children be – because sometimes they are so much better than us.