Thursday, June 4, 2015

Change of heart.

6 year old B just pulled her bath towel into the tub with her.  A full sized bath sheet.  Got it totally waterlogged, and then pulled the drain.  While i was watching a TedX documentary in the next room.     It will take forever to dry.  And laundry day for towels was yesterday so we have a while to wait with soaky towel. My initial reaction?  Anger.  Frustration. Reprimands, and calls of "why oh why do you keep doing things like this to me?!!!"

To me.
Her response? "But it's MY towel!"
More arguing over the towel's 'owner'.
About who has to do laundry and who paid for the towel, etc etc. ....

And then it hit me.

To her, I was being the adult voice in those old Charlie brown cartoons -
"Wanh- Wanh-wanh. ...wanh-wanh-wanh ....wanh" 
She was learning nothing, gaining nothing, benefiting in no way from my ridiculous diatribe over a wet towel.
And really.  It was just a freaking towel.
I was yelling at my daughter for thinking outside the box.  I was yelling at my daughter for making ME think outside the box.
Me! Seasoned Pinterest hunter of new and creative and unusual ways to learn and have messy fun!
So I stopped. And looked.  Really looked.  And saw what she saw.  A medium for creativity.   Amidst the heavy folds of semi-submerged towel there were valleys.    And mountains.  And rivers.  And most interestingly,  a large dam, blocking the last of the water from descending down the drain.

And I regrouped.
So we talked a bit about the dam, and what it was doing, and how it worked. And we washed up B, no arguing over shampoo or soap, for the first time in ages, and made soap-sud mountain-peak snow...  and turned the shower on to replenish the reservoir (and rinsed her off)....and she happily played, and discovered, trying new ways to create a fountain or a waterfall,  or to connect rivers and lakes.....
cat assessing bathtub towel aftermath....verdict:  no biggie.

And when it was all done, I wrung out the towel and hung it to dry.
Later that night, putting B to bed, I shared my learning experience with her.  I told her about how frustrated I was at first when I saw only what she shouldn't have been doing, instead of what she was trying to do. 

And I thanked her.

For the learning experience. 

For teaching me.