Friday, January 21, 2011

letting go...

Yesterday I had a lesson in letting go.

When Rebe got home from school she was in one of those moods. She was bored and didn't know what to do. In the past I would have listed endless suggestions or started her off on projects. However, after reading Simplicity Parenting I have realised that boredom is actually gift.

'that frustrating, "nothing to do" state- is like a hush in the crowd. Silence. What whispered voice can begin to be heard? The child's inner voice. Stand back. Anything can happen. By reaching for something to do, instead of always being scheduled or entertained, children get creative. They begin building a world of their own making.'

So, I sat her down with a drink and busied myself, waiting for an idea to hit her. It did, she decided she wanted to bake using a recipe she had written by herself.

The housewife in me was silently screaming 'no, no, no, the mess, the waste, the squabbles when Benny wants to join in!' But then I remembered, one of my favourite memories, of my mother sitting us around the kitchen table (I think I was around 4) and putting lots of ingredients (although it may just have been flour and water, but I remember it as many) and allowing us to bake away, by ourselves. So, the mama in me said yes.
she wrote her recipe, gathered her ingredients (flour, milk one egg and cocoa powder and a little sugar),
and began. I took a deep breath and let it happen and kept my mouth (and sometimes my eyes) shut.

Luckily Benny was helping Andy with some fishing business so he was well occupied.

The cakes went into the oven and were baked.
When cooled Rebe iced them with chocolate spread that I had bought as a treat over the Christmas holidays and hadn't gotten eaten.

taa daa

Benny was the taster, he pretty much just licked off the spread cause the cakes were pretty yucky.

And although it was messy, she had fun and I know she learnt something. After she tasted them she went quiet for a while then said; 'I think I'll use some butter next time and some more sugar'. It was a good lesson for us all.... bring on some more boredom!


  1. Wonderful! I hate finding myself being interfering, "don't make a mess, don.t waste stuff" when they initiate their own creative adventures. I close my eyes, sit on my hands, bite my tongue and make myself step back. I find that it is deeply ingrained. And that I do it to myself too. A lot. A good mama lesson.

  2. Wonderful, and what a great recipe Rebe!
    Amazing what they can come up with if you just give them space to think and use their imagination, I know those sort of days some days and I just give my daughter space to dream up something to do.

    Well done for embracing the mess!

  3. I just finished reading Simplicity Parenting. It is the best book I have read on Parenting. Today was one of those days when my 3 year old didn't know what to do with himself and, anything that I suggested kept his interest for only a little while. So, I left him to his own devices. He started by doing things he knows are not allowed (just to get my attention). When that didn't work, he came up with his own game which kept him occupied for almost an hour. I was amazed! It was hard for both of us to make this transition but I know it will get easier and easier each time.

  4. Laura, what a wonderful mama you are! I have to say, I am not sure I'd be able to allow complete freedom in my kitchen! Though at times Ella does get free license in there.
    Rebe will always remember these moments! How fun for her. :)

  5. It definitely made me realise how possessive I am about the kitchen! I would like to be more aware of this as the kids get older and really encourage them to make it their own space long as the tidy up after themselves.
    Basia (hi!) I completely agree, Simplicity Parenting is also one of my top 2 parenting books! I would love to hand it out to all parents at the school gates. It's so accessible and makes so much sense, I really loved it, and really did learn a load of useful things :-)
    thanks for all the comments x