I think the old adage might say something like "third time's a charm", as though we get what we want if we keep it up through the third attempt. That's true for the kids, sure enough!
You may remember that we attempted going to a local church for a play time/Bible study. The first attempt was a giant F-A-I-L. The second try was better but still a struggle. Last Tuesday was our third attempt. While I could call it a complete fail, since we didnt make it in the doorway of the kids' classroom, I cant say that because it wasnt. Not for them, anyway.
From the start, we've tried to give the kids choices. What do you want to wear? What do you want to eat? Would you like to wash your hands? Would you like to go to the playground. It doesnt always work; there are some things (like nightly bath, nap time, bedtime, etc) that are non-negotiable. But, where we can, we try to give the kids choices, and to reinforce that they have a voice. In fact, one of the things I fell in love with about Peter was his view that children are people (just small ones) and that, just as we adults want to be respected, they, too, should be. So, we try. We dont always succeed, but we do try.
But, back to Tuesday. We had breakfast, got dressed, and off we went, positive stories in tow, to the church. We arrived in that familiar hallway and, as I pushed their stroller towards the brightly colored room, Maya looked back over her shoulder and gave me her "Maya look" and said, "Mama, No." Prepared for dissention in the ranks, I smiled and gave my cheeriest, "Look at all the fun you're going to have with your new friends," while I stopped the stroller and prepared to get the kids out. Taking Maya first, I sat her down and went to unclip Bobby. She repeated, "Mama, NO." The look on Bobby's face seemd to say "I agree with her, lady." But still, I picked up Maya when she asked and held Bobby by the hand. As I waited to sign them in, he and I played peekaboo. And then... He was off!
Like one of those huge football players who accidentally catches a fumble at the wrong side of the field and has to do the heart attack run to the otherside, Bobby was as quick as lightening and was to the door before I was halfway down the hall! (It's a good thing he responds to his full name and the word STOP! or he would have been outside!) We walked back to the classroom, but they both had me in kungfu deathgrips and were repeating "No, Mama, No."
What value is it in telling them they have a choice if I'm not listening? So, I listened. I apologized to the well meaning staff, and explained that we appreciated the opportunity but that this set-up wasnt currently the right one for us. The kids waited patiently as I put them back in the stroller and we left. Since the weather was iffy for playing outside, we went to the indoor playyard and the kids ran off some energy before snacktime and our ride back home.
I was rewarded for listening with a perfect naptime. It was well worth it :)
And who knows, maybe we'll try again later. But not this week (or next... Mama needs a break from the drama!)