For the Need to Chew™

Say YES to Summer

June 01, 2014

It was once said that I was a YES girl. Always aiming to please and make others happy. A go with the flow kinda gal. Perhaps it used to be true, in a former life and a carload full of kids ago. Saying YES was easy then and often resulted in happy sidetracked adventures and spontaneous bursts of unyielding joy and laughter.  Thinking back on those times, good memories and friends were often made when YES was spoken.
However, that YES in me went out to play one day and never found its way back home. Over time, I found that it was no longer an active player in my vocabulary, especially when it came to my family. Those that needed to hear it the most never heard it at all. Perhaps being overwhelmed by parenthood and outnumbered by kids, threw me into the land of NO.   If you have ever been to that land, you know how exhausting it is. Life is a fight and challenges are thrown at you from every corner. Saying NO limited the possibilities of what could be and seemed to be a safe choice of not opening up the proverbial can of worms.
When you parent in the additional needs community, there are enough demands of daily living without having other what-ifs thrown in the mix. Squelch the request at the root and it won’t grow or thrive. Neither will the child that asks of the request.   I don’t mean to do it. At first, I didn’t even recognize it when the word crossed my lips, but I soon became proficient at the use of it and am now shamefully guilty of it out of routine. For years now, I have watched others live in the land of YES. I have seen the ease at which YES comes to them and coveted the need to use it. When my time came, the fear of the ‘what-if’ took over and I boarded my one-way ride back to the land of NO.
This time it is different. My cherubs need to see what lies on the other side of the dividing fence. How life can be lived in the land of YES. As much as I want to control the setting and scene and ultimately build a safety cocoon around them with my web of NO’s, I see it in them. They need to meet the YES girl of my yesteryear. They need the feisty and the fun. The spontaneity and rush of living. Their worlds can be limitless with more YES and less NO.   After all, I expect them to achieve grand things in their lifetimes and conquer fears and uncertainties that are sure to come their way. But I have not set them up for that success. They will not be equipped to go out on their own and fight for their own needs when they haven’t lived, really lived, in the land of YES.
Believing in your self comes from a foundation of doing and trying. If when failure swallows you whole, you at least learned what didn’t work and that in its own right, is a success.   What better time to give them the gift of YES than the summer? Summer is really a calamity of conformity anyway. Rules are generally more lax and forgiving.
So, today I start this new season of our lives with one word. YES! The rules are simple. If I ask myself will someone get hurt, either emotionally or physically, and the answer is NO, then my answer will be YES. Additionally, I have lived my days with masterful ninjas for the last few years. I know they are aware of financial gains. Outlandish requests will not play into the change. Hopping a yacht to the Caribbean will still pull a solid NO from my tongue, as will breaking the law and the use of profanity from their still young mouths. Another key component along this journey of positivity is the cherubs will not know this is scheduled to happen. I will sit back and watch it unfold naturally.
I expect they will sooner, rather than later, catch on that mom has either been taken over by aliens or has had a real ‘aha’ moment and is ready to let them test their wings in this new land of YES. I fully expect some trepidation on their part, as they grow accustomed to testing the freedom waters this YES will bring.


The hope of growing together and watching them grow independently from this little summer experiment is fueling me through it. I will not take the easy way out anymore. I will change my perception of easy. Why can’t YES roll as easily from the tongue as NO? I want to do better and be better because I know better.


Perhaps I am alone in my past experiences with the terrifying YES. But the more parents I meet, the more I doubt that I am. Helicopter parenting is real, and my suspicions tell me that type of parenting style is rooted in NO. I shelter and protect. That was needed in the beginning of these small lives, but my style needs to change as they age and grow.


I am sure once the kiddos catch on to my gig, they will come at me with some doozies. I hope to hold steadfast to my goals, and let ‘er rip with a YES. In anticipation of the what-ifs (I can still think about them even if I don’t act on them), I have compiled a short list of YES activities that I look forward to participating in.


  • Can I stay up another hour?   YES, but you may have to wake me up and remind me it’s time to go to bed!
  • Can we stay outside and play in the rain? YES. Let’s splash and kick and even dance in it.
  • Can I wear my pajamas all week? Sure. When others start sitting farther away from you, you will need to take care of that.
  • Can I have ice cream for dinner? HECK YES! Make mine a double.
  • Can I skip my bath? YES….see the pajamas example above.
  • Can we stay up after midnight and watch the meteor shower? YES. Here is the telescope (that sits in the corner as room décor rather than an item for adventure seekers).
  • Can we campout in the living room the week dad is gone? YES, too heck with the perfectly good beds.
  • Can we have Nutella sandwiches for every meal today? YES. I’ll get the knife and bread.
  • Can we use the nice jars to catch fireflies? Ummm, YES!
  • Can we play the music as loud as we want too? YES. Jump in the car and I will drive us through the country and roll down the windows.
  • Can I sleep with you? That will always be a YES!


Even parenting on the spectrum can be done in a YESly manner. Their needs and challenges can be met with positive affirmations instead of silenced hopes. So, here we go. We say good-bye to our old NOrmal and hello to the fun, older version of that girl from YESterday.





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Due to the intended use of the product, wear and tear are expected and products should be checked routinely for damage and used with adult supervision. Discard and replace immediately once damaged. Necklaces are not intended to be worn for children under age 3 due to the concern of long cord strangulation. Clasps and ties contain small parts and may be a choking hazard and are not intended for chewing. This is not a toy.