One of my very first posts was about my word for 2016: Mischief. Focus words are really only helpful if you stay mindful about them through the year, so I thought it would be a good idea to occasionally check in and see how mischievous I’ve been.
I have a ways to go, frankly, but I’ve had a few successes. Not surprisingly, my sons have been my best teachers, and I’ve been the most mischievous when I’ve followed their (sometimes disgusting) lead.
1. A Game Called “Lick” (Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like. And it’s gross – but mischievous.)
Don’t even ask me how this got started, but my sons began playing a game where they lick your face when you least expect it because they think it’s hysterical when you freak out. Only a one- and three-year-old boy could invent this game. But guess who is the master? That’s right, me. I have an advantage as the only person in my home who wasn’t born tongue tied, so I can reach the farthest, but I think I really win due to bravado. As soon as I see Jonah get really close to me with that twinkle in his eye, I immediately shoot my tongue out in warning and he squeals as he jumps away. I look him straight in the eye and promise in my most somber voice: “If you lick my face, I will get you back.” At that point Silas usually joins in the fun with a chorus of “LICK YOU! LICK YOU!” He’s probably second best at this game because he hasn’t developed a sense of anything being disgusting yet, so he has no fear. But I’m still better.
2. Pillow Fights
Little boys are pretty rough. Never having spent much time around little boys, I was not prepared for how violent they would be with each other, but my dad (who grew up with two brothers close in age) assures me it’s totally normal. So instead of just telling them to keep their hands to themselves, which doesn’t work, I’m trying to find fun, safe ways to redirect their urge to annihilate each other. Enter pillow fights! As they were wrestling around this morning trying to sit on each other’s heads, I handed them each a pillow and said “Go for it.” They loved it! And it didn’t end in anyone getting injured like their usual wrestling matches. Mischief to the rescue!
3. Song & Dance
When I’m feeling frustrated with the boys dragging their feet or getting distracted when we have to get out the door, I’ve discovered that belting out a totally ridiculous song and dancing around to where I’m trying to direct them has a 100% success rate. Seriously. It’s totally ridiculous, but it’s fun, and they want to be part of the fun too. So when I’m trying to get them upstairs to brush their teeth, I bust a move up the stairs as I shout an off-tune song that goes, “Let’s go upstairs to brush our teeth,” and the next thing you know they’re dancing along behind me excited to brush their teeth. Mischief managed!
I feel like I’m actually getting a pretty good feel for working mischief into my parenting, and it’s all been for the better. So moving forward, I will try to continue following my sons’ examples. I’d also like to work this fun energy into other areas of my life as well, though, which will probably be a bit more challenging. We’ll see what I come up with in the next couple of months. I think my target should be my husband … (Ye be warned, Ned.)