Finally, finally, finally, enough snow fell for the tribe to go have a bit of a romp. As soon as Bugaboo, Beanie, and Mr. Man had bolted their breakfasts this morning, they began pleading to be allowed to go play in it before it all melted. Since the girls had finished their assignments by the time Mr. Man made it upstairs and ate, I decided to let them go enjoy the February sunshine.
Me being me, I spouted a steady stream of instructions at them as I bundled them into galoshes, warm pants, and heavy coats. We had a minor mitten revolt, and I decided that not fighting that battle probably meant they would catually come inside when they got too cold. That said, before they scurried out the back door with Smudgie the resident canine cryophile, I made sure they repeated back to me such motherly words of wisdom as “don’t eat any snow that isn’t white,” “if you can’t feel your fingers, come back inside,” “you are not a puppy, so come inside if you need to pee or poop,” and, perhaps most importantly, “if you stand under the trees, then a big pile of snow will probably land on your head.”
Thus warmly bundled and wisely instructed, they sprinted out into the yard.
Mr. Man required a little coaxing, never having played in this frozen white stuff before, but his curiosity got the best of him.
The three of them decided that the best thing to do with what little snow we had was to pile it all in the sand table.
Seeing them this cheerfully occupied, and safely away from tree-falling snow, I headed back in to spend a little singing time with Baby Guy, who was happily chowing on Cheerios in his high chair. I left the kitchen window open so I could hear any wails of distress or warning barks and had some silly musical fun with our youngest.
Shortly thereafter, I heard peals of laughter from Bugaboo and Beanie, followed closely by sobbing from Mr. Man. Before I could put Baby Guy safely in his saucer, the howling boy stormed up the stairs, looking for all the world like Eddie Munster, so plastered to his head was his hair. He appeared uninjured, so I called out the window to the girls, inquiring what could possibly have caused the soaking of Mr. Man. They both hastened to assure me, with their very sweetest smiles, that they had certainly not told Mr. Man to stand under the tree, and even more absolutely had not stationed his favorite playball under said tree and told him to go find it.
I sighed and rolled my eyes. This was probably not the time to deliver a lecture; Mr. Man was cold, wet, and hungry (again), and I needed to tend to him before Baby Guy tired of being in the saucer. After securing our oldest boy in his high chair and providing him with a plateful of his favorite munchies, I went downstairs to retrieve the little miscreants. The quiche I was baking wasn’t quite done yet, so I had a few minutes in which to make my point.
Once the girls had changed into dry clothes, I asked them if they would have liked to have a bunch of snow dumped on their heads and down the backs of their coats. They were properly horrified at the thought. I asked them why they had told Mr. Man to stand under the tree when they knew that was likely to happen. They looked at their feet, but it was more the “we’re in trouble” toe-gazing than the “we did something wrong” kind. Bugaboo answered for both of them that Mr. Man doesn’t play nicely with them.
Every now and then, the very best sort of “gotcha” moment drops into my lap. I asked them both, “If someone told you to go stand in a place where they knew something yucky would happen to you, would you play nicely with them? He learns how to treat you by how you treat him.”
Then, Bugaboo, whispering, “I need to go potty. Come on, Beanie.” Both of them stopped to say, “I’m sorry” to Mr. Man on their way out of the kitchen without being asked to do so.
Today’s prayer: Lord, every time we interact with another person, we have a choice to be kind, indifferent, or cruel. It pleases You best when we choose kindness. Thank you for the knowledge that indifference is in itself a kind of cruelty. Please help me teach Your blessings that while a moment’s cruelty may produce a moment’s laughter, it diminishes both them and the person targeted by it. Help me teach them to recognize unkindnesses before they speak or act, and to seek forgiveness promptly when they have wronged another. If they can learn it now, they will be able to teach others about You in a loving way when they are older.
And Lord, help me not to laugh.