When Jim saw I was starting to read the Simplicity Parenting book, he commented, "Oh boy. I sense some changes are on the way". I answered, "Oh a change is a gonna come!", in my best Baptist preacher voice.
The first change was the decree that Dylan and Jim would now be clearing off the table after dinner. Why, oh why, haven't I been doing this all along? Probably because I feared my clumsy 3 year old would spill food onthe floor, or break a dish. But, I am determined NOT to raise my son to feel that a woman's place is in the kitchen. If I have anything to do with it, he will NOT feel that cooking and cleaning is women's work. He will NOT go into the living room to relax after enjoying a holiday feast that the women in the family prepared and are now cleaning up. That is certainly worth some food on the floor and a few broken dishes.
The second change is that we now have a nightly ritual. Every week night at dinner, (or later, if Jim isn't home for dinner), we each tell the best and hardest parts of our day. It took a few nights for the boys (yes, both of them), to catch on. The first night, Jim said his hardest part was "from the time I got to work until the time I got home". Men. They're so descriptive, aren't they?
We are really enjoying Dylan's answers. Dylan had a playdate Friday, (his first since probably November! groan). That day, his "best thing" was "Me and Caleb playing up in the air with the balls". That was a lovely game in which they threw all of Dylan's 25 balls up in the air over and over, laughing hysterically and screaming "UP IN THE AIR!!!", until my friend and I could no longer carry on a conversation.
Doing this exercise has been really helpful for me. Finding the best thing is usually really easy, but often I have to think a long time to come up with the hardest thing. When I do, hearing the best thing and the hardest thing together really puts things in perspective. The hardest things really aren't so bad when you consider how awesome the best things are, (my husband bringing me flowers for no reason, or my son kissing both sides of my face, then my forehead, before saying "I luv you").
Dylan's hardest things really show how easy a 3 year old's life is (at least for him). One night it was, "when Mommy wouldn't give me any drink or food". I was making dinner, and told him he couldn't have milk until it was ready. I know! Call Child Services.
The funniest was, "when I had a really big poop, and I couldn't get it out, and I tried and tried, and I pushed like this (imitating push and grunting), and it finally came out!" As Jim said, "Someday, when you're old, that will be the best part of your day!"