A Yes-Fueled Childhood

7 Posted by - October 24, 2013 - Kids

This was Cole a year ago in Beirut. He was 2.5 years old and he wanted to wear his superman costume from the previous year’s halloween every day. Okay, kiddo. No problem. The kids in Beirut seemed to be impeccably dressed, so I worried for half a second about it, but everyone called out at him in their French/Arabic accent, “Hey! Súperrrrr man!”

A year later, we’re in Mexico and we started Cole in bilingual kindergarten. It was at his sudden interest in playing with other kids that spurred the decision, he really seemed to ready for it.

The school is awesome and every Friday they do a birthday party for one of the kids, picked at random, and everyone gets to bring their favorite toy. Cole usually brings his zombie doll, from Plants vs. Zombies, which he’s terrible at playing but loves it anyway (really he loves EVERYTHING related to zombies).

Note: all the photos below are iphone pics… I’m between cameras at the moment, waiting for the next generation mirrorless to come out.

In the first week, it went well, but in the second, he started saying he didn’t want to go to school. The teacher said he was having a hard time sitting down and following directions. We made the decision, that even though he said, “no more school!” we would continue to bring him, because we were concerned that maybe this was just him adjusting and if we let him give up too quickly he might miss out what would ultimately be best for him. I second-guessed myself on that a lot, how had I gone from YES to NO so quickly?

It took about a week, but he adjusted.

The notes from his teachers were positive, and he was excited to go every day. He even had a girlfriend, a novia, he said, and he kissed her. Her name is Valentina.

He went to school for two months, but in the last month he started saying he wanted to stay home. At this point I said, “Okay” but then each time he’d change his mind.

Back to school it was.

Then this week, it stopped. He wanted to stay home. I said Yes on Monday, then again on Tuesday — each day this week, and so far he hasn’t been back to school since.

Maybe he got his fill for now?

So now we play together each day, and I try to say yes to everything I can. Yes you can wear your superman cape and spiderman mask to the store. Yes I will wear your Hulk mask and chase you around the house. Yes. Yes. Yes.

Yes, I will dress Stella as a kittie. Too bad Stella can’t talk yet, because she was not pleased.

Cole was thrilled.

Our house is a mess, there’s constantly playing going on, but my childhood was so full of no, I have my heart set on letting him play and explore untethered for as long as possible.

Next year, we’ll still put him in school in Spain, in the fall, because I think it will help him adapt, make friends and learn Catalán and Spanish faster.

In the meantime, there is art.

Which is fun, but not as much fun as smearing it all over yourself.

Then chasing your parents around the house covered in paint.

Joy.

Or asking your mother to lay down on the floor so you can smear your paint on her. Which to a three year old is HILARIOUS, let me tell you.

Thank you water-soluble paint!

And we explore the bugs, spiders, geckos and other creatures in our yard.

Which kind of freaks me out.

There’s the beach.

Dressing up as Darth Maul.

Or asking me to dress Stella up as Princess Amidala. She’s slowly getting used to the idea of face paint.

And when I told Cole that apples grew on trees, he wanted to see it, so I taped an apple to our Jackfruit tree.

Which he later picked and said, “Look mama!” and ate it.

So no school for now, no more Spanish (except what he hears from me and the locals) and next year, who knows, I’m sure he’ll let us know what he needs.

  • Megan DaGata

    Your kids are adorable. I think this is a great decision especially while he is young!

    • almostfearless

      Thank you! :)

  • http://www.withalittlemoxie.com/ Meriah Nichols

    I love this! And I agree with you. Glad you took him out when he was ready to leave.
    And – that apple?!!! Hysterical!!!

    • almostfearless

      I know, I am a genius! These kinds of things will only work for what, another year? “Look! APPLE TREE!!” Ooh mama!

  • http://www.discovershareinspire.com/ Rachel

    Yes! :)

  • Heather Reisig

    Please understand: I’m asking a question, not doubting your parenting or starting a flame.

    I understand the “yes” to a lot of the things you say “Yes” to. Frankly, if he wants to wear nothing but paint, sandals and a superman cape to the grocery store, I’d be OK with it. But, I don’t understand how school is something *he* gets to decide upon. You yourself said he didn’t want to go, and you made him go and he was OK with it after a while.

    There’s a lot of things I “get” saying “Yes” to…I don’t understand how or why he gets to decide on attending school. It’s…school. And school is kinda important.

    I also understand if you don’t want to answer me or just want to say “Because I said so and I’m the parent and Heather, you can go jump in a lake,” but I really want to understand your thinking. Because I don’t.

    • almostfearless

      Hey Heather,

      School is important. But right now, letting Cole set the pace on when to go or not is more important to me. I want him to be excited about school and learning, and I only put him into Kindergarten because he wanted to go. Don’t forget he’s just 3 and 1/2, a lot of kids don’t even attend school at his age, they just happen to start early here.

      But more broadly, the whole “yes” thing to me, is about reminding myself, as a parent to be thoughtful, to not just react and dictate, but to listen and think creatively of how I could possibly turn a “no” into a “yes”. It’s not about Cole at all, it’s about the way I think about parenting, and it’s certainly not about him just getting his way all the time. But I might have said no to making a mess with paint, because I would have to clean it up, but I stopped myself, I thought, “why not?” and the only answer was that I’d have to clean it up. So I made that deal with myself, that I was giving him this little gift of the fun of making a mess, which he loved, and it only cost me the low, low price of showering us off afterwards and wiping down a few things. It was really nothing. But that’s why I emphasize the “yes” bit, not because I want Cole to have whatever his heart desires, but it’s about being fun and playful while he’s little and making an investment of my time into my relationship with him, so in the future, I hope, we will have a healthy communication style, where he’s not afraid to be himself, and I’m not afraid to let him.

      • Heather Reisig

        Ooooooh. I thought he was like 4 or 5…I didn’t know he was that young. Understood. And thank you.

      • Sarah Somewhere

        Wow. That is beautiful!

  • Casey Cline

    This is awesome. He’s still so little. He’ll be spending a huge chunk of his life within a structured school setting anyway. You’re giving him something so valuable- imagination, confidence, a feeling of agency in his own life, joy- and those things will stay with him forever.

  • Di Taylor

    Wow, I wish more parents would read this, and apply this type of thinking. The only thing I’ve got to say about this is……YES :)

    Di

  • Guest

    Clothes are important, not only for
    kids, but attitudes are even more important. I would rather devote my
    efforts to developing self-confidence and rational thinking patterns
    rather than linking self-fulfilment to wearing some specific clothes.
    An interesting thesis, but possibly more suitable for little kids
    than for adolescents or grown-ups. I enjoyed reading this post, I
    must say.

  • La Viajera

    Loved the apple up in the tree. :p

  • travel-agcy.blogspot.com

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  • jack william

    I wish more parents would read this, and apply this type of thinking.

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