A couple of weeks of rain had my kids asking to see my iPhone to check the weather app for the first sun filled day of the month. Saturday rolled around, and I carefully selected an activity that included one part fun (water) and one part work (clean the van).
I filled a bucket full of sudsy soap and water, and it wasn’t long before Anna was sporting a bubble beard. You’d think four kids would spread out and each take a section of the van to clean. But no, they huddled around a tire to watch a ladybug.
We’d been outside over 30 minutes and only the tires and front grill were wet let alone clean. We’d hadn’t even looked at the inside of the car. I stood back and watched the kids play wondering how much longer we’d be outside and how I was going to explain to Kim why the kids were soaked.
We eventually cleaned the outside of the van, and I considered sending them to the backyard to play while I cleaned the inside on my own. That way, I’d clean it my way in a fraction of the time. Without any shenanigans.
Later that night I found the only couch in the house not already inhabited by kids, dogs or dolls. Before long Kim began to play the piano in the same room.
I watched as she played a song she’s been working to perfect. I never tire of listening to her play, and I don’t mind hearing the same song over and over as she learns each note and adds her own nuances.
With about a minute left, Kai jumped on the piano bench and began banging out a tune of his own. My first instinct would have been to gently remove him or at least try to block his little finger from the keys. I liken it to someone taking a black Sharpie to a painting that’s minutes away from completion.
But didn’t Kim didn’t react as I would have, and this is yet another reason our kids will be OK as long as she’s around.
She continued to play. Kai continued to do his thing while reminding her that he was there to help.
I thought back to earlier in the day as we cleaned the van. I decided to allow the kids to help me clean the inside. I would have vacuumed first. They washed the windows first. I would have cleaned from front to back. They started in in the very back and cleaned the vinyl cargo insert. They did it their way which was different than how I would have done it.
They saw firsthand what happens when an ice cream cone scrapes the ceiling or how a Swedish Fish melts into the seat if left in the sun. On reflection, the extra time was well spent.
I’m not at patient as Kim when it comes to including the kids in these type of activities. But I’m learning as I go. And maybe, next time, I’ll be the one running from Kai and the hose.