Being indoors for too long with four energetic kids and one frustrated mom often spells trouble with a capital T. But, when you look outside and the weathers yucky, what are we to do? Then, it dawns on me, we’ll make friendship soup! Everyone is ordered to grab their raincoat and boats! We’re going outside even if the raindrops were as big as our neighbor’s dog Bella the Beast! Even if it meant cold noses and toeses and soggy socks, we’re going out because Mommy refuses to be driven up the wall for one minute more!
There comes a time in every household when it seems that everyone forgets how to get along and live amongst each other in peace and harmony. This would be that time along with every day at about 4ish o’clock when everyone loses full functioning of their behavior and meltdown fever becomes the new norm. Usually my cure for this time of day is to run and hide, and leave it to Daddy to defuse the situation, but today he had, unfortunately, not gotten home in time for that.
This situation required immediate patrolling. The first issue was in the family room. It seems that my oldest took control of the television remote when my youngest daughter was enjoying her Dora cartoon, and she let him have it literally by giving him a 1 inch knot on the right side of his head with the remote control. While that was happening my littlest boy comes running to me in distress because he wants to wear his batman plip-plops (translation: flip-flops) around the house, but my oldest daughter is too busy enjoying the delight of teasing him to tears because it’s impossible to simply be nice and give into his request. As I proceeded to ask her if she read the rest of her library book from school, as if on que, I saw something flying across the room out of the corner of my eye. It was her library book! Baby brother was seeking revenge and now he was not the only one crying!
So, as quickly as I could, I lead everyone out the back door bumps, bruises, tears and all. Before they could all turn their vengeance on me, I clearly stated my purpose. Plain and simple: “No one is getting back into the house until everyone starts remembering how we are to treat one another. “Today’s assignment is to make friendship soup,” I said. They were stunned. “Oh mom, there’s no such thing!” they protested. “Well, today there is so you better start cooking or it’s going to be all you get for dinner!”
It took another minute for them to all realize that I was not joking. Then, my youngest daughter responded, “I like noodles in my soup.” “Okay,” I said. “That sounds good, but remember that friendship is poured out and not eaten so the ingredients will be different from regular soup.” As I continued receiving the same blank, glazed over stares, my son helped me out a bit by adding, “Food makes us grow, but mom wants us to name things that make friendship grow,” he said. “Very good. Now, if your actions could only speak as well as your words, we’d be getting somewhere,” I teased. As I awaited the first ingredient, my youngest continued making accusations against his big sister. “Be nice,” he bellowed. “Good job,” I remarked. “Now were cooking.” “Kindness,” muttered my oldest daughter. “Respect,” shouted my son. Then, my youngest daughter, tugging at my coat looks up at me with her big beaming eyes and says, “I love you mama.” Ahh, love, we surely can’t forget about that!
In a matter of minutes they were cooperatively helping one another come up with more ingredients and continued filling the pot (which was actually a toy bucket) with things from around the yard to represent each friendship ingredient. Before we knew it, their anger was all stirred away! When we returned inside, they were all friends again for the entire rest of the day, and I was relieved from being the patrol officer for a little while. I decided to keep that friendship soup recipe and add it to my favorites. I invite you to also add it to yours. You never know when it will come in handy for that next rainy day brawling bonanza!