Shhh! Don’t tell my kids!

As soon as my kids were done with breakfast today, they were begging to go outside and use their new shovels on the snow we’re getting. 
 We need a little work on technique, but they kept at it for quite a while and were having fun. So, please, don’t tell my kids that shoveling is a chore most people prefer not to do!

After we got back inside, C asked to do school stations. D was totally on board. The kids spent about 10 minutes per station, doing spelling/drawing, creative writing/coloring and Think-it-Through tiles. So, please, don’t tell my kids that it’s winter break and they’re not supposed to be doing schoolwork!

For Christmas, C got some new fuzzy lined boots and D got a new bike helmet from us. They also each got a new book and a sled from us and they each picked out a toy for the other. Today is the 4th day since Christmas and the 4th day that C has worn her boots all day long. D has been out riding his bike in the cold, because he wanted to use his new helmet. They are in love with their fairly ordinary presents. So, please, don’t tell my kids that some kids get lots of fancy, expensive presents! 

Often times, when I’m emptying the dishwasher or folding clothes, one or both kids will ask to help. When Daddy is cooking, more often than not, a kid will ask to help. I’m not sure if they want to help because they truly enjoy the chore, or because they like to be helpers to mom and dad, but they ask to help and are improving each time they do. At 6 and 4, they don’t receive an allowance, so their motivation isn’t monetary 😉 So, please, don’t tell my kids that stereotypes suggest that they whine every time they’re asked to do a chore!

When we visit Daddy at work for lunch, and have a big, delicious buffet full of foods to choose from, the first thing D always goes for is a spinach salad with craisins. His other salad toppings and food choices vary, but that is a constant. At the same amazing buffet, C always has a slice of pizza and then tries something new – rock shrimp with squid ink pasta, a bison burger or miso salmon – just to name a few examples. And she usually likes them. (Now I’m guilty of this one, because I used to be a super picky eater and am still hesitant to try new things sometimes, so this reminder [well, really all of them] is totally for me as well.) So, please, just because my kids are young, don’t assume they won’t want to try new things or eat a variety of healthy foods!

I am certain I’m making my share of mistakes along the way, but I’m trying to raise loving, responsible and tolerant children. That’s the big picture. I think it’s the every day, little things, that will shape them the most. So I need to remember, and I need others in their lives to remember, that my kids are their own people. They are not the kids who have come before them, or the kids who will come after them. 

As a human being, it’s difficult not to make assumptions or judgements about other people. I find myself doing it all the time – both with the people I know and love and complete strangers, for things big and small. But if we had ignored our children’s desire for shovels, or discouraged them from helping, they would certainly become the teenagers, and then adults, who loathe shoveling. As it is, both kids had a blast this morning and D got a lesson in proper shoveling technique from his daddy this afternoon. Maybe in a few years, they’ll be able to take this skill and help our elderly neighbor, or a friend who just had a baby. Some day, they can be the spouse who does all the shoveling when their husband or wife hates the cold. (This is obviously a theoretical situation and not pulled from my real-life experience…) 

My point of all this, is that if people act like it’s the craziest thing in the world that my son likes spinach or are shocked when we’ve done schoolwork outside the hours of “normal school,” it will have an effect on my children. If people act like it’s weird that they like to shovel or empty the dishwasher, they might start to believe that too. However, I don’t think we’ll ever have magic chore fairies, so they need to know how to and not hate doing these things. And I don’t want my kids to change. These very things are what make my children the amazing little people that they are. So, please, love my children for who they are and don’t try to change them!

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