Saying Yes More and Cowardly Lion Cookies

by Cate on November 2, 2009

Cowardly Lion Sugar Cookies

Or the alternate title … creative uses for the Mini M&Ms in your kids’ trick-or-treat bags.

When it comes to being a parent, the word “no” freely flows out of your mouth without hesitation.

“Mom, can we…?”


“Mom, can I…?”


No.  No.  No.

It’s too late.  We have things to do.  That’s not what I planned.  I don’t want to.  The reasons are endless.  Almost as endless as the questions coming from the kids.  As a parent, we have a schedule (whether loose or tight) and a routine, and deviation from that could be disastrous.  But what if …

What if we said “yes” more?  “Yes” to a quick game of hide-and-seek even though dinner is nearly ready?  “Yes” to one more book at storytime?  “Yes” to the kids helping to make dinner?  “Yes” to the kids emptying the dishwasher, even if things don’t end up in the right place?

I know I am just as guilty as the next parent.  Nick usually wanders into the kitchen near dinnertime and wants to help.  I’ve got everything under control and sometimes the help just isn’t, well, helpful.  It slows things down.  It changes the process.  You know.

But I try.  I try to say “yes” more.  “Yes” when it’s really ok.  When five minutes won’t make or break anything.  When that little something extra makes a whole lotta difference.  Just yes.

Last night was just one of those nights.  Madeline‘s afternoon nap ran late.  So dinner was running late.  Which means bathtime ran late.  Nick came into the kitchen and wanted to help.  Madeline was still sleeping and dinner was easy and under control.  It was a time to say yes.

“Mom, can I make something?” he asked, peering at what was cooking on the stove.

I hesitated.

“Please?  I want to be like you.”

And that is exactly why I work on saying yes more.  For moments just like that.


I cleared some space on the kitchen counter and showed him a picture of Cowardly Lion Cookies I had wanted to make.  I thought they would be perfect for Madeline’s class.  The manes of the cookies were a bit fiddly and there might have been a passing complaint of a hand cramping up, but he managed to do two trays of them for me before she woke up.  Yes, dinner was later.  Bathtime was later.  Everything was a bit later.  But you know what?  That is absolutely, positively ok.

I vividly remember a long-ago article I read on John Travolta.  It talked about how his wife, Kelly, had woken up in the middle of the night, and found his side of the bed empty.  She heard noises coming from downstairs, so she went to investigate.  When she got to the kitchen, she found John and their son, Jett, sitting on the kitchen floor, tossing coconut flakes up in the air.  John looked over at her, smiled, and said, “Look!  It’s snowing!”  John and Jett were having the time of their lives.  She shook her head at their silliness, but eventually joined in the fun.

I read that article a good four or five years ago and that has always stuck with me.  That’s the kind of parent I’ve strived to be.  Silliness from out of nowhere.  Saying yes.  Spontaneous.  Just because.  Sure, there was probably a nice mess to clean up when they were done.  But it is a happy memory that stuck around a lot longer than the coconut flakes on the floor.  And perhaps even more important now since the Travoltas lost their son earlier this year, way before his time.

That’s why we have rainbow cakes.  And shaving cream silliness.  For the memories.  Say yes.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah @ Dream In Domestic November 2, 2009 at 8:50 pm

Awww this so sweet. I’ve read about this on a different blog I read frequently and it touched my heart in the same way then. I think it’s important to say yes to your kids more than you normally want but not so much that they become spoiled. Those little moments are what you and your children will look back on. You won’t remember the rush to get dinner done, you will remember the sweet things your kids say and the sense of happiness and pride they feel to have parents let them be kids and live in the moment every once in a while. Your kids are lucky to have a mom who wants to say yes to them just because. :)


Claire November 2, 2009 at 8:51 pm

I love this!!!! I think a lot of times we don’t know when the right time is to say yes OR no. i think YES was great on this night!


Jaimie November 2, 2009 at 9:44 pm

I love this post! It is exactly why my blog is called Yes! Mom! Love it!


Kristine November 2, 2009 at 9:52 pm

Lovely reminder! And cute cookies!


mandy November 3, 2009 at 12:39 am

I don’t have children, but saying yes when I want to say no usually results in both fun times with friends ( or my little cousins) and great memories. Such a great reminder!


LunaCafe November 3, 2009 at 1:21 am

What a lovely post. Thank you. The cookies are adorable too!


Joanne November 3, 2009 at 7:14 am

Even though I don’t have kids (yet) in some ways I can relate. I am a bit of a control freak when it comes to my time and also to my food. Living with roommates and just in the real world means that everything can’t always go according to my plan. And sometimes just saying yes, means that I have a lot more fun. And miss out on a lot less than if I had said no and stuck to the original plan.

You are a great mom Cate. Thanks for sharing this!


Natasha - 5 Star Foodie November 3, 2009 at 8:38 am

These are so cute!


Ramona November 3, 2009 at 10:17 am

What a great post. I remember so many “no’s”. Your kids are lucky.


RDOwens November 3, 2009 at 11:28 am

Okay, my mother wants to know the recipe for the cookies. Help!


Michael Bleser November 3, 2009 at 12:45 pm

Thank you – you reminded me of what is REALLY important


Barbara November 3, 2009 at 1:16 pm

That was a perfect time to say yes! It’s so easy (and time saving) to say no. Good for you!
Your cowardly lion cookies are adorable!


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