Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Mud, The Mayhem, The Moms

Yesterday was a school holiday for the kids and they were confined to the house until later in the afternoon because it rained and rained. The very minute the rain stopped, I texted Heidi to see if it was still raining at her house. She took the hint and invited us over so the kids could ride their bikes in the cul-de-sac in front of her house. Grandma forbade Mace from going because Heidi mentioned to her that Ben was getting over a cold. Yes, I know he's my child and I should be able to take him where I want to take him, but had I chosen to argue the point by promising her that we would be outside and I wouldn't let either of the children lick each other, Grandma would have won the argument by pointing out that Mace hasn't actually grown all the way out of his licking stage yet. Just this morning, in fact, I had to tell him twice not to lick the door handle.

So only Casey went to Heidi's yesterday afternoon. As soon as we got the bikes out, the children started riding through the puddles -- remember, it had been raining up until about 20 minutes before we got there. So there were puddles in the middle of the cul-de-sac and water was still standing at least two to three inches deep in the concrete ditches alongside the road. When I saw the kids riding through the puddles and ditches I honestly did not stop to think anything about it. Heidi, on the other hand, was out in the middle of the cul-de-sac with a push broom trying to sweep the standing water out of the puddles. This pretty much illustrates our different parenting styles -- I take a more "how-will-my-kids-learn-what's-fun-and-what-isn't-if-they-don't-try-it?" approach to parenting; Heidi takes a more "holy-cow-my-kids-are-going-to-get-wet-and-muddy-and-ruin-their-clothes-and-tonight's-not-bath-night" approach to parenting. She also worries that her kids might get injured or sick and actively tries to prevent sickness and injury by keeping them clean, bathed, and fed -- I worry about those things as well, but it's usually in the middle of the night while I'm standing in their room watching them breathe, so I would say her approach in that regard is somewhat healthier than mine. I do think that sometimes children have to suffer the consequences of their stupid choices to learn from them, which is why when all of us were out to dinner Friday night and Heidi's husband pointed out that my three year old was cutting up tortillas with a steak knife into eensy-weensy-teeny-tiny pieces, I just shrugged and said, "Well, if he cuts himself with the knife he'll only do it once." (Mace loves scissors and knives, but he also has excellent manual dexterity, which explains why he has never cut himself.)

It's amazing anyone ever leaves their children at my house.

I admit that my approach has its flaws -- both of my children know how to wield a (very dull, but also very rusty) machete and both of them would rather pee in the yard than bother to go inside to the toilet (which embarrasses me mightily when new clients happen to be driving into the yard at the same time). But Heidi's approach can sometimes put a wee damper on the fun.

So as Heidi was out feverishly trying to make water evaporate, I was, of course, mocking her efforts. I pointed out to her that Ben was a boy and those were puddles and that if she thought he wouldn't find a way into them, she had another think coming, so she might as well enjoy watching him get filthy. So she gave up sweeping and came over to sit by me and watch the children's backs and legs get wetter and muddier by the second. We were both surprised, I think, to see Kate, her delicate flower of a child, also zipping through the puddles. I don't think Kate realized that every time she rode through a puddle, her back got liberally christened with mud:

See -- she can't see back there. This photo was taken pretty early on in the afternoon -- by the time their father got home, Ben and Kate were a real mess.

Heh heh heh. It was all Heidi could do not to stop the madness and tell the kids to stop riding through the puddles. I could tell it was driving her nuts to see her kids just getting more and more dirty. I think she called me a bad word rhyming with witch (twice!), which just shows you how distressed she was because I rarely ever hear her say anything worse than "crap." It was awesome.

And she might have complained, but I think really somewhere deep in her heart she was enjoying the mayhem because she was the one taking all these pictures.

1 comment:

  1. Hey the second time I said the bad word I actually spelled it, so I don't think that counts...LOL


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