Normally at my house, I often feel like the referee. This one is upset because that one has what this one wants. That one is upset because this one knocked that one over. My day is filled with "be gentle", "careful when your sister is around", "this is how we share", "let's take turns", "don't walk on your brother's book" (I'm sure all of you parents have been there!).
Well today may have been a turning point. I'm not saying I'm ready to hang up my whistle and playbook yet, but progress was made.
I was trying to get us all ready for a quick trip to Lowe's (with 2 toddlers in tow, by quick I mean a minimum of an hour). My son was the only one ready and he asked if he could go outside. I usually let him go in the backyard by himself for a few minutes as long as he stays where I can see him. So he went out for a few minutes. Clearly he was bored out there by himself, so he asked if his sister could join him. I was almost ready to go so I said "sure, but just for a minute until it's time to leave for Lowe's."
The windows of our family room that look out on to the backyard have reflective film on them so I can see out but the kids can't see in. So I stood there and watched them (and took pictures). I waited for my daughter to realize I wasn't outside and begin her meltdown. It didn't happen. I waited for my son to run by his sister and accidentally knock her down. It didn't happen.
I watched them blow bubbles together, play in the dirt together, play separately side by side, follow each other around. It was a beautiful sight. I did witness a few things I would rather have not seen (my son dumping dirt on my daughter's head and shaking the bubble bottle with the lid off) but they were having fun so I let them.
I kept waiting for the moment when I needed to intervene, step outside and announce it was time to leave for Lowe's. But that moment never came. They played outside for nearly a half hour. Finally, out of sheer exhaustion from the heat, they decided it was time to come inside. We didn't end up making it to Lowe's (an emergency bath was needed - see photo below), but it was totally worth it. This may not happen again for a while, but I was here to witness it and I know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and my refereeing days will someday be over (at least until they hit adolescence!).
What a beautiful, present day!