I found myself alone this afternoon, with only William and Sam to keep me company.
This is RARE.
I usually have kids sticking their hands up my shirt in the back, nursing in the front, tickling my feet below and brushing my hair up top. You get the picture. I think it's possible as a mother to feel a tad overstimulated sometimes. But, that's what I signed up for. That being said, NOTHING can truly prepare you for the
hilarity reality of it all.
I had planned to spend a little one-on-one time with William. I wanted to teach him how to clean out the chickies' makeshift home. It's the "give a man a fish" vs. "teaching a man to fish" mentality. This was why we wanted chickens in the first place, to provide the kids with meaningful jobs, where we count on them to follow through on a daily basis. Ownership.
William now has the responsibility to teach the other kids.
After that job was done we made cookies. If there's one thing I can be sure of as my boys get older, it's that they'll know how to make cookies. Cooking/baking is something I really enjoy doing WITH the kids.
I love talking to them about how to follow a recipe, how to measure ingredients, the difference between teaspoons and tablespoons, and what a BIG difference that can make, why it's important to mix the wet ingredients before adding the dry, preheating the oven, what purpose ingredients serve, like eggs and baking powder, and most importantly, the joy of licking the bowl (which is why we bake in the first place, right?).
Baking creates an ideal environment for talking and sharing and listening. Our hands are busy, we're relaxed, conversation can flow easily, no pressure. This was good because just minutes before, I received a call from his teacher about his "rough day" at school. This is unusual for William. So, talk we did. And I tried to listen. I realized that I need to listen more and talk less. So often I want to impart every life lesson I've ever learned in one sitting and it probably falls on deaf ears because it's TOO MUCH.
I've thought A LOT about listening lately because of this quote:
I do a greater amount of good when I listen to my children than when I talk to them. . . . I have gradually learned that my children don't want my ready-made, time-proven, and wise answers. . . . To them, being able to ask their questions and to talk about their problems is more important than receiving my answers. Usually when they get through talking, if I have listened long and well enough, they really don't need my answer. They have already found their answer.
How wise is that?! It's harder than you think. It is for me, anyways, with my blabber-mouth self. Wait, I'm being too hard on myself. I blab to them because I love 'em so darn much that I want to give them everything I have to set them on a course to real happiness.
Often, there is MORE power in saying NOTHING at all.
That's what I have to learn. Zip lips. Open ears.