As mothers, we are constantly evolving. The oldest children are correct when the say the baby gets away anything. And I attribute that to that fact that moms are always striving to be better moms, to not sweat the small stuff, and in my case, to enjoy my children's childhoods right there along with them.
My goal is to be a Play Dough kind of Mom. If this isn't already a phrase you find in Webster's dictionary, it should be. When Cole was three (or four, or five), I would quietly curse the people who would lovingly give my kids little containers of play dough in their Easter baskets, stockings, etc. Really? That stuff is such a mess, why would you deliberately point out to my kid that MAYBE once a year they were allowed to break open the kit and play with the colorful dough. And it was usually outside, in February or March, when I'd had just about enough of them inside the house. And then the slightly OCD part of me would have to make sure (s)he was playing with it RIGHT. You know what I mean - don't mix the colors, put one away before you open the next one, etc. Yikes! What was I thinking?
So today, I had an epiphany. I was teaching Kacey's Wee Worship class and wanted to do an activity I hadn't done before. The class has all kids of organized, labeled totes with arts and crafts supplies. I came across the play dough tote and decided to go for it. They opened the box and, low and behold, almost all of the dough was a gross shade of greyish brown. But much to my surprise, they still enjoyed playing with it! What? How could this be? How could another mom be so careless that she let them mix colors? It was obviously a mom that was MUCH smarter and had been a mom longer than me.
So we came home from church, had lunch, and put the baby down for his nap. Out came our supply of Play Dough. I still lined the table and floor with old newspapers (old habits die hard), but I set it up and walked away from my 5 and 8 year old, telling them to "have at it". The had a blast! I felt really guilty because of the number of unopened dough containers in the play dough box, so we opened them ALL. They made funny shapes, crazy hairstyles with the Play Dough Barber Shop, and pressed animals and letters for over an hour. I even came back and made a few dough noodles with them myself.
(And you know what, they were careful not to mix the colors and I didn't say A WORD about that)