You know, you can hold your breath and turn blue, or nag them for hours, and my kids still won’t have cleared the table; they’ll just bicker forever about who swept up more Rice Krispies or who unloaded the dishwasher last time and nothing will get done.
So it’s reassuring to know that the kids can formulate a plan, take action, and work together to achieve their goal. I mean, of course they can, because that’s what’s involved in building a couch fort; but somehow I’m always surprised that they can get it together to do anything.
Right now they’re carrying a tent as if it’s a chuppah, each kid holding a tent pole where it attaches to the corner. They have no choice but to work together and listen to instructions, seeing as they have to all move in the same direction or risk damaging the tent.
R and K have been asking us to let them sleep outdoors.
“We’ll sleep on the low wooden deck near the tree swing,” they told me.
“You’ll have to move the big pile of sticks off it and rinse the platform first,” I told them.
They went out and followed my instructions to the letter. Soon they were back saying, “There are bugs out there and we need to put something over us to keep them out. Like a tarp. Or some kind of net.”
“Or maybe a tent?” I asked pointedly. “We do have one.”
While retrieving the tent, K and I noticed the air mattress in its bag. K instantly decided it was also necessary.
I’m very happy that my desk is next to a huge window that overlooks the whole backyard, because this was fun to watch. The kids put up the tent with some basic instruction from Mr. December. Then they inflated the queen-size air mattress. And then they tried to put the mattress inside the tent. Now that’s entertainment.
Image description: After many failed attempts (first three pics) at getting the mattress through the tent door, they carried the tent and mattress back to the house (fourth pic).
I’m too impatient for my own good. After watching them for only a few minutes, I cranked the window open and told them to inflate the mattress when it’s already inside the tent. I should have watched to see how long it would take them to figure it out. I guess it’s not their fault: their dad is an engineer, and their grandfather is an engineer, and I believe it’s an engineering maxim that says, “If brute force isn’t working, you’re not using enough,” so they come by it honestly.
I just love watching kids—especially mine, but others too—play and work without adult direction. It gives me faith that one day they’ll be fully functioning adults.