I am busy at the kitchen counter, cutting carrots for dinner and keeping W from throwing all the food in his bowl onto the floor when I hear a quiet voice from behind me "Mom, can I use that empty jar on the counter?". Knowing this child, I should to ask a few questions before assenting, "What do you need it for? "Well this picture says I need it to make some of these" deep breath, "OK, what else do you need? Lets read the list and see if we have everything." Jars, check. String, check. Water, check. Epsom salts....maybe, not likely. I know how this conversation is going to go from here.
From my point of view we ought to have everything in front of us before we start a project, check the ingredients and the supplies and make sure its all there so it will work the way the book says it should work. I assess where I am at the moment (trying to get dinner on the table and keep dinner off the floor) and know that I cannot help in the way I'd like to help at this particular moment (or any moment between dinner and bedtime for that matter) and I try to put it off for another day. "We ought to plan this sweetie...." trying to navigate this emotional minefield as best I can.
I find this happens all the time, that I am putting off their urgent requests to make cupcakes, or get fabric out to cut capes for legos mini figures, or make stalactites out of epson salts until a time that is more convenient for me - or the family. And I feel each time I do this blow-off that there must be a better way to go about it; to go about honoring their requests with the urgency with which they are asked. But food all over the floor is really tiring and so are the meltdowns that occur when dinner isn't ready.
I know I am not the only one who struggles with this guilt. Its parenting. I could just let her take the jar and figure out the rest, which I know she would do but even then, 2 or 3 steps into a project, I would face the same dilemma. But maybe not. So what if she didn't have any epsom salts - the stalactites would take a really long time to grow...wink wink. But she would have done it on her own and I could come back on another day to see her experiment, check it out and then suggest adding the epsom salts (that I had bought time to purchase). I am beginning to believe that I need to be removed from the equation.