In Week 2 of the Friso Yes Experiment, I enlisted Aiden’s help in assisting Ian learn how to climb appropriately. Of course, he asked for a reward in return… and it turned out to be a sandbox.
Ants, snails, sand fleas, centipedes, millipedes… I can name you a million and one creepy crawlies that would just loveeeeeeee to make our sandbox a place they can call home. The thought of my kids playing in the sandbox and touching these creatures, is enough to make the hair on the back of my neck stand up! And if that’s not enough… what if Ian decides that some sand would be yummy enough to have for lunch?
But backing out on my word would not be good for my relationship with Aiden. He needs to know that he can depend on me to keep my promise, even if it means that I have to study and learn on how to make the sandbox play, a safe and hygienic activity for my kids.
The next day, I told Aiden that his reward was waiting for him in our lawn. Aiden’s face lighted up as soon as he saw the sandbox in the garden, while Ian started tugging on his brother’s shirt to help him open the cover.
As soon as the cover was off, I explained to Aiden that he needed to take some precautionary measures before he could start his activity. First, he needs to promise that the cover will be on at all times whenever not in use. Second, he has to scoop through the sand with his sandbox tools, to check and ensure that the sand was clean for play. You know, just in case! Last but not least, he and Ian will have to wash up after they finish. He solemnly gave me his promise and dutifully followed my instructions. After confirming that there were no foreign objects in the sand, the two excited brothers immediately jumped in!
They had the time of their lives that day! There was also a moulded waterway surrounding the sandbox, so the kids could float their boats in the small stream. They also scooped sand into buckets and made sandcastles. By the time the kids were done, their hands and hair were covered with sand while their shirts were covered with a wild splatter of sand and water. Hence, it was time to clean up!
True to his word, Aiden reminded me to put the cover back on, and then he walked up to the sink to wash his hands. He made a big show about scrubbing his hands clean; between his fingers and under his nails. He even reached out to help me soap Ian’s hands. I was pleasantly surprised! Aiden has proved to me that he is big enough to be responsible for the sandbox, and can clean up properly after play. If I hadn’t taken this leap of faith and participated in the Friso Yes Experiment, I would never have realized how independent Aiden can be.
Check out the Week 3 experiment at the Friso Gold Yes Experiment microsite, to watch how much fun Aiden and Ian had in the sandbox.
Reflecting on my success with the sandbox experiment and seeing the excitement in my children’s eyes, I decided that I needed to encourage Aiden to try out new things that Ian can participate too. I asked Aiden for his opinion… and he answered “I want a cat!”
Yes… Aiden has been asking me for a cat for the longest time. Heh, maybe I shouldn’t have asked him for his opinion. Having a pet is very different from the sandbox as I cannot control where they go, what they do and even what they contract. Also, Ian is too young to be handling animals. I am soooo drawing the line here!