Sunday, July 17, 2011

Flowers in the Crockpot

Just another parenting "aha" moment. Leonidas was standing on a chair next to the table and he grabbed some flowers out of the vase on the table. He was smelling them and saying how beautiful they were. Then he lifted up the lid of the (empty and unplugged) crockpot and said, "I put flowers in there?" I immediately said, kindly, "No, silly, flowers don't go in the crockpot; they go in the vase."

I immediately regretted saying this.

No, he didn't get upset or throw a fit (those of you who know Leonidas are already asking this question, I'm sure). In fact, he put them back into the vase. And it saddened me. Where was his warrior spirit? Where was the protest?

I felt as though I had broken my son.

Here he was, two years old, and thinking outside of the box, so to speak. He was being creative! He was using his imagination to make that crockpot beautiful and I CRUSHED it. Who cares if there are flowers in the crockpot? Are the crockpot gods going to knock on my door and give me a citation? Maybe the flowers would have looked nice there. What if, some day, when he's grown, and he has a house of his own, and he gets a bouquet of flowers, but doesn't have a vase to put them in - or anything similar - will he think,"Hmm, maybe I could put them in the crockpot. They might look quite lovely there," or will he think, "Damn, I have no place to put these flowers. I'll have to throw them away"??? What if I hadn't just given him the "Flowers don't go in the crockpot" schema, and when he's older, he creates beautiful crockpot floral displays whose uniqueness and universal appeal make him wealthy beyond his wildest dreams? What if I just destroyed his dream?!

Ok, ok, a little too Butterfly-Effect on that one, but you get the idea.

The point is, I just sacrificed a tiny portion of my child's creativity for the sake of...what? Some prissy notion of "that's not the proper place for that", the foundations of which escape me completely and the logic behind which is almost just as elusive?

I say go ahead, child, you put those flowers in the crockpot and display them proudly! Let them bloom like the creative, intelligent individual you are, and make way for more out-of-the-box thinking to come, because flowers in the crockpot, child, are just the tip of the ice burg.

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