Most parents go through something similar at one time or another. If you haven’t yet, don’t worry, your time is coming. What am I talking about? I am talking about when your kid does something frustrating but also is so cute that we take a step back and kind of chuckle through gritted teeth. That is what happened here recently. Honestly, happens quite frequently with my youngest. With his ADHD being so strong he does a lot of things before asking. Over the years he has gotten better about asking, but still has a way to go. So how do we as parents deal with these cute, yet frustrating, moments?
Let me share with you, our recent story. Hayden was told it was bath night. He got all excited and ran right into the bathroom to get ready. He is old enough now that he runs the bath for himself and pretty much takes care of all things bath related. That includes cleaning up the large spills of water that inevitably always end up on the floor after he is done. From the kitchen I could hear the water running, the bin of bath toys being dumped and the splish-splash of water, which in my mind equals a kid having fun and a short break for me.
This bath night didn’t go as expected. He came running out, tracking water with him all the way, to rummage through the recycling for a bottle. He sometimes uses old cans as boats, or cups and measuring spoons as drums and drumsticks. It all depends on the day. Most of the time he gets them before getting in the tub. However, this night was a bit different. My little man had already gotten in the tub and then soaking wet came out to get new items. I should have questioned what he was doing but I was enjoying my break time and he seemed to be having a good time so I just let it go. I knew that after he was all done his bath, he would be picking up the water tracks.
I seemed to get distracted and eventually realized how late it was getting. I had heard Hayden playing in the tub, talking to himself all along. I knocked on the door and after a cheery “Yes, come in!” I opened the door and went to ask Hayden what was taking him so long. However, before I could, my sparkling-eyed boy excitedly tells me, “Mommy, mommy, look what I did! I made my own shampoo! You have to smell it. It smells so good!”
“Mommy, mommy, look what I did! I made my own shampoo! You have to smell it. It smells so good!”
Being late at night I didn’t register exactly what he did right away. What I did notice was a water bottle filled with blue goo, hand labeled with Hayden’s Home Made Shop. I took the bottle in hand and opened the cover to smell the contents. As soon as my nose got close to the bottle, I realized what he had done. My little man had used all our family soaps. He mixed a bunch of them together into the water bottle and called it his own shampoo.
I was nearly out of my shampoo and conditioner before his bath, and now I had none left. My husband’s newly purchased, manly smelling, body wash was now half gone. The kids’ shampoo bottle was empty floating in the tub. The water looked like it had lotion all over the surface and smeared up the tub walls. After realized what he had been doing I immediately got frustrated for him taking our things without asking. I wanted to send him right to bed and talk to hubby about what to do, but first I had to take a step back, smile and take a picture.
After picking up the tub toys, the water on the floor, and getting into his PJs. Hayden went on to tell me that he loved doing it and wanted to always make his own shampoo. That he felt like a scientist mixing lots of “chemicals” to make something cool. He loves science but I guess I never expected him to take it to this level.
As parents, taking these moments for what they are, is how I am able to move on with a smile, even though there is a mess. I know that my kiddo is truly not trying to frustrate me, he is learning, and having fun. Frustrating me was just a product of his actions, not his intent. So I take the joy of seeing him learn and make a plan to fix the mess later. The truth is that when they are little, there are going to be a lot of these moments. We have a choice to either get frustrated and worked up OR to smile knowing they are learning. They are only little for a little while, so we need to enjoy it while we can. Even if that means smiling when there is a mess to fix or clean. Hey, this frustrating moment just brought about a natural, teachable, moment. Bonus! So, take a deep breath and smile.