I wouldn't call myself a strict parent. I teach my boys right from wrong, how important it is for them to be kind, how I would love for them to be brave, and that laughter truly is the very best medicine. But strict? Not so much. Bedtimes are somewhat flexible, superhero costumes are perfectly acceptable attire for a day out, and if vegetables are 'yuck', then don't eat them. However, that said, because we're often quite busy and because I'm also very conscious not to spoil them, I spend a lot of my time saying no to my little two. So much so, that it's almost become a habit. In my rush to fit everything in and get us to where we need to be next (mostly to the supermarket or to fulfil some kind of food-related need, it has to be said - I live with three boys so I imagine this is only going to get worse), I have a tendency to answer negatively to anything off-agenda. I'm a bit black and white like that, I'm afraid.
You know, I'm also huge water drinker. Other than a cup of tea or coffee, it's really all I drink during the day. But, maybe it's a throwback to my early twenties when nights out were all about pitchers of vodka cranberry, when I fancy something a little different, I'm a huge fan of Ocean Spray Cranberry Classic (minus the vodka now, obviously). It's a berry refreshing treat from the bland. So, you'll understand why I adore Ocean Spray's #justrefresh campaign, designed to celebrate moments of colour that occur in an otherwise grey (or black and white) day. I'm all about 'the ordinary lovely' too so last weekend, the very last weekend before my eldest little dude started school full-time, we decided to treat both boys to a couple of unexpected yeses ... an attempt to mix things up a bit and add a touch of colour to our routines.
On any given weekend, you can guarantee that my two ask for three things and you can pretty much guarantee what my answers are going to be:
1. Can we have fizzy pop? No, never.
2. Can we have ice cream? Um, let's see (which everyone knows means no).
3. Can we sleep in our den? No, you don't sleep as it is, never mind in a den.
But not last weekend. Last weekend, we were awesome parents who said yes. You want fizzy pop and ice cream? Well why don't we see what they taste like together? And should we add a dash of whipped cream and a few sprinkles too? Ice cream floats, anyone? Yes, their tiny minds were blown. I set everything up in the living room, with bunting and gingham napkins adding that extra touch of fun. And they loved it. But were also a bit shocked too. We didn't hear a peep out of them for a full fifteen minutes. Stunned silence, I think. Look at their little faces. I'm sure they were suspicious of our motives and wondering if we would take the jars back off them as they held on to them and wouldn't let them go until every last drop was drunk.
And then later that evening, after playing in Camp Cheeky, the only place and time that the boys ever play nicely together, when the inevitable request came to set up camp for the night and have a midnight (8pm) feast, Paul and I looked at each other, and then nodded. They couldn't believe their luck and it's the quickest we've ever seen them don their pyjamas. Two happy little boys. And while we tucked them in knowing that we'd more than likely see them in our bed before the morning came, it was such a sweet moment. The littlest only lasted about thirty minutes in the end but my eldest 'camped' until 3am. He was so proud of himself. Although, now I'm a little scared that the request is going to come for outdoor camping and the expectation that I'll join them. Yikes!
You wouldn't think that saying yes would be so difficult, would you? Just these very simple things have made me rethink how quick I am to say no and the reasons why I do that ... a lack of time, too many other things on my mind, wanting to get to a planned 'treat' instead of making what we're already doing a little bit more special, and a whole host of other things. This parenting lark's not always simple, is it? While I'm not going to start saying yes to everything (that would just be crazy), I'm definitely going to add a few more unexpected surprises in to our days from now on ... unexpected moments of colour in to our black and white routines.
Disclaimer: I'm working with BritMums and Ocean Spray highlighting the everyday moments of colour that give each of us a little lift, just like Ocean Spray adds colour to our day and delights us all year round. I have been compensated for my time. All editorial and opinions are my own. Visit Ocean Spray for more information.