You know when people say you can’t change a person? That’s crap.
Husband is kind of a grouch. He would argue it isn’t so, but it really is. The older he gets, the more like his father he gets. And that’s not so much a good thing.
One way that we differ in parenting is that his gut reaction to anything the kids ask him is “no.” He doesn’t do this to be mean or to sabotage their fun. I really do believe it’s a byproduct of the nos he heard as a child. And it’s like an auto-pilot thing. He thinks, deep in his sub-conscious, that his job as a parent is to tell them no. No will keep them safe. No will help them grow up. No will make them better citizens.
I tend to fall on the Yes side of the fence. I try really hard to even make my Nos sound like Yes. “Yes, you can have a cookie. For your treat tomorrow. Just remind me after lunch.”
And so we talk a lot about this yes/no thing. And it’s a standard joke between us that I tease him with. I tell him he should never say no unless he can think of a good reason to do so.
So today, 6 whispers in my ear this:
“Mommy! I have a great idea! Today seems like a perfect day for Daddy to put up the tent in the yard and we can all sleep out there tonight!”
To which I respond with a sideways glance at Husband, who is sitting nearby. And then a “Well. Ask him.”
So then he asks. And Husband replies with a BIG sigh. A look at me. And then the words, “Let me think about it.” Which left 6 bouncing for joy. Because those words, which usually means no when uttered from my lips, are a ticket towards yes when they come from Daddy.
So kid leaves and I turn to Husband and tell him how very proud I am of him that he didn’t answer that question with no. And he is grimacing. And I say, “And now you can spend an hour or so thinking about whether you have a reason to say no.”
He came up to my office later and looked like he was about to cry.
“I checked the weather. It’s not going to rain. It’s going to be a perfect chilly night. I have no reason to say no.”
He looked defeated and went off to find the tent.
And I am celebrating. Because THIS is change I can believe in.