Squeeze Your Own Orange Juice (once)!

I say No a lot.

A lot.

I realized this when my son answered his own question the other day.

  • [Him: Mom, can we play videos?]
  • [Him: No.]

It’s become my default. I anticipate them asking for something I’m not going to like. It hinders my agenda. Hey, it’s not on MY to do list.

Like when my 2-year old poked his head into the lazy susan and thrust a juicer at me when I was starting breakfast. (It’s made of heavy glass, so I freaked a little, a squeak escaping me, and I grabbed it before he dropped it. He looked at me funny.) He declared he wanted orange juice, and I muttered something about there already being some in the fridge and put the juicer away.

orange juice_pinterest

I don’t think I’ve ever used that juicer. I’m not sure how he even knows what it is.

I tossed his request in the trash just like the mess I was predicting. I didn’t want the extra work. I just wanted to feed everyone.

Feeding their bodies is one thing. But maybe he’d love to see how a juicer worked. Maybe savoring the sweet juice he squeezed himself (all two Tablespoons of them, I’m sure) would be an experience remembered. What about feeding their minds?

Why am I always saying No?

This post isn’t about a raised voice. But writing this blog has me staring at my reflection and asking myself, Why do I say the things I say? What irritates me and why? What can I change? Saying No a lot is one of those things I saw in the rear view mirror. It was closer than it appeared.

We have, like, a zillion books. I believe in reading. Go figure. We have our favorites, but also lots of volume for choices. I remembered one of these not-often-read books titled, Yes Day!

It’s about a boy whose parents say Yes to absolutely everything he asks for that day. Can I have pizza for breakfast? Yes. Can we have a food fight? Yes. Can we stay up really late? Yes.

The first time we read this, my son asked if we could have a Yes day. My answer was, Probably not.

What if it’s Yes day, and he asks for something that I can’t say yes to – Can we go to Florida this weekend? Or something I shouldn’t say yes to – Can I play video games all day? Or, let’s be honest, it’s not something I want to say yes to – Can I get a dog?

I wonder what it would be like to actually have a Yes day. Think of the freedom! No weighing the circumstances, no thinking about tomorrow. Imagine the shock on their faces! What fun that would be. What a gift to them – deciding their own agenda for the whole day.

Guess what?

It wouldn’t work out so well in the end.

Kids focus on the fun. They don’t think about the tummy ache that pizza may cause. Or gross chicken gravy dried in their hair. Or how grumpy they are after their midnight marathon. Kids want – and NEED – our direction.

But I’ve always believed in allowing them choices along the way. After all, they are their own people. There are ways we can allow their own choices by altering the request a bit. If staying up late is out of the question, why not add 15 extra minutes to story time? They’re in bed already, and reading can be restful. Or if a food fight makes you cringe, suggest a water fight instead (weather permitting, of course!).

I can say Yes more. A little preparation and creative thinking goes a long way.

Some afternoon I can drape the counter with an oversized beach towel, get that juicer out, place my largest baking pan beneath it, drop an apron over my son’s head (maybe even some goggles – if an orange has ever squirted you in the eye, you know why this is smart), and let him at it.

Or maybe I’ll just get it out and clean up any mess later. Probably the same amount of work in the long run. 🙂

Then I can enjoy his smile as the sticky stuff dribbles down his chin. Those two Tablespoons, anyway.

I should say Yes more, because I want to feed their minds, too. I can say Yes more, if I really think about it.

I came home from the grocery store tonight with…you guessed it. Oranges!

What could you say Yes to, when you might normally say No?

I did get the juicer out. My guess of two Tablespoons was generous. And I was right about the effort not being worth the work. But he can say he’s used a juicer. And I can say I showed him how. And it tasted so sweet!!!

Heart Monitor:
Days 19-27 – Few of these days have been perfect. Among sibling arguments, picking up the same messes for the zillionth time, and no one actually listening to me when I was trying to calm them down or get help with cleaning, my voice did increase in volume. Not that it helped, but habits are hard to break.


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Hands Free Mama

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Butterfly Heart

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