Observations of Normal People – Why vs. Why Not?

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I have two normal sisters-in-law.

At least, normal in the sense of the definition I’ve created for this blog . . .

Last Friday night, my sweet husband threw a birthday party for me in our hometown so family and growing-up friends could attend. It was lovely. My mother decorated the tables, and chose exactly the kinds of things that make my heart sing.

Pink things.

Pretty things.

Whimsical things.

Fun things.

As she was packing up after the party, she gave one of the giant-sized pinwheels to my daughter to take home. My daughter showed it to me and I rejoiced with her at the sheer adorableness.

And then my mother asked my sister-in-law if she thought my niece would want the other giant pinwheel. (The niece – a teenager – wasn’t in the room at the time). My sister-in-law said . . . “Why?”

Hmmmm. Her first reaction was “Why?”

She has a lovely home that I’ve never seen out of control. From what I can tell, there’s a place for everything.

Therefore, the answer “Why?” makes so much sense. The first reaction of . . . “Why?”

As if . . . before she brings something into her home, she considers whether or not it is needed. What she will do with it.

And if there isn’t an answer (a good answer) to the question . . . she won’t even bring it in.

So much to consider there.

Y’know, for the girl whose initial answer is (almost always), “Why not?”

P.S. I must admit that I took the second giant pinwheel. And that my daughter and I have already planned to use them in some sort of choreographed routine for some sort of upcoming talent show.

I mean, why not?

I have issues, but I also have ideas.

 

--Nony

Comments

  1. I had a different reaction. I get asking “why” if it were a large permanent item, but a toy for her daughter to play with that will likely get thrown away after a week or so? I don’t ever want to get to the place where the offer of a fun toy for a kid makes me ask “why?”

  2. I am a “why not” person too, where as my 2 older sisters are “why” people.
    I hate going to their houses and the first thing out of their mouths is “don’t mind the mess” and the house is so clean I could eat off the floor, Uggg” normal” people LOL

  3. I’m with Kara, here. Even if the “child” is a teenager (both mine are) I will give the any opportunity to have fun and be creative. At the very least, let the teenager choose… both of mine (boy and girl) would have brought that pinwheel home! And a few weeks later the boy would be finished and the girl may keep it. Who knows? She might use it in her wedding! LOL

    • I know all this! Because it’s exactly how I think! But . . . my house is perpetually messy while hers is gorgeous! I have to admit to myself that maybe my natural instinct is part of why my house has issues!!

  4. Great observation. I need to work more on the why than the why not. No creativity in this house. :)

  5. I think you are really on to something by watching those who have normal houses – it has to be the answer to a spotless house. :) I am most definitely a “why not” person! I thought about this recently with the snow in the States, one of my “why” friends on Facebook said she was even to the point to break out the play dough. Play dough is constantly out in my house on the counter in the kitchen where kids can play while I cook dinner. Yes, I am constantly picking up play dough off the tile floor but I figure that’s a small price to pay for a great sensory exercise and peace while I cook. :) But I realize normal mothers do not let them kids play with play dough everyday because of the mess. I don’t think I’ll ever be normal, but I do hope I’m fun! But I’m still open to learning what I can from those normal folks!

    • I have a cousin who won’t let her kids play with playdoh at all because it’s messy, and she’s a borderline hoarder! Her house makes mine look almost normal (but not really, LOL!) Go figure…

      • Ouch. Gosh, someone could easily say that about my house, and even if my house WERE magazine clean, I still wouldn’t allow playdoh. It’s just nasty stuff, gets ground in the carpet and all. Blech.

      • Honestly, I get that! I think that the more under control my house has become, the more willing I am to let thigns like that happen in it. It’s because I can see how it will be cleaned up, rather than only seeing how it will add to the mess. Not sure that makes sense, but I might just have to write a post about it!!

  6. I guess I’m a recovering normal person (by your definition). Even when the first two kids came into the house I still kept everything in its place and I was obsessive about messes. Play-doh came out rarely and was immediately cleaned up when the girls were finished playing. After having my son though it all went out the window. When he was really little and spilled a few cheerios on the table (dry I might add) he pointed at them in a panic and said “mess, mess.” That’s when I knew I had to relax. While I still don’t handle clutter or messes for very long (after a week of clutter I’m getting antsy!) I realize my kids are making memories and I have to let them. When we are in the middle of constructing fun loft beds for their rooms I have to deal with the saw horses in the middle of my school room because waiting until spring/summer just isn’t an option. I still like everything to have a place and for things to look neat and tidy but I can’t let me desire for that get in the way of doing things for/with my kids that make messes and keep the house in disarray for weeks at a time. Someday when its just me and the hub I can have that clean and neat house again but in the meantime I’m trying to enjoy my kids while they are here. So, just realize that normal is boring and be happy to be who you are!!

    • BTW I also think its hilarious that I fall under anyone’s definition of normal…haha! I’m about the wierdest person I know. I was trying to be funny by calling myself a recovered normal person. My humor doesn’t always come through when I write.

  7. I have a relative who won’t every let her kids play with Play-doh because it might make a mess. So ironic because her house makes my mess look almost neat and clean. She’s a hoarder! There are aisles to walk through STUFF and BOXES.

  8. Ha! I have you all beat. I would have taken the pinwheel, thought of something fun to do with it, and never done it. Then an opportunity would arise to use it but I would “save” it for something better instead, afraid to “waste” it. Then a “better” opportunity would come along and I would be so excited… until I realize I can’t find the darn thing now that I want it. Fast forward 3 months, I find it, put it in a “safe and logical” place that I won’t forget (yeah right!) And then the cycle will start again. Yeah, I have issues. I also have stickers I’ve saved for 10 years because they are too cute to put on anything. Do I realize that is completely crazy? Yes. Yes, I do. I’m working on it.

    • You said it!! Exactly my reality!

    • I can TOTALLY relate. Are we long lost relatives?

    • Catherine says:

      I’m right there with you Sarah J. & Co., only I immediately bypass “Why” and land on “Sure, I’ll take it”. I even have an arrangement with my dad, when I’m visiting if my mom offers me anything (and she finds some pretty amazing things at thrift stores, dontcha know) I have agreed to just take it. Then the trick is to a., not take it out of the bag; and b., deliver it to some thrift store my mom won’t be visiting (since I don’t want to hurt her feelings). They’re into the 56 year of marriage and this is the best solution my “normal” dad has come up with for my “not-so-normal” mom. Can we just call it a failure to communicate and let it go at that?

      So how many of us are “holding” other folks’ clutter for them?

    • Sisters….. where have you been?
      Sounds like me…….. guess I am not alone

  9. There has to be a happy medium here. My mom was so obsessive about keeping things clean that when I was a kid I can remember my mom throwing out play-doh, silly putty, etc after I got it as a birthday gift because it would make a mess. Nowadays she’s a total “slob”, crazy to think she now has no small children at home and her house is NASTY but when we were kids we had to have everything neat and tidy. I don’t like messes, but you have to allow kids to be kids and teach them to help pick up the messes they make.

    • She has a happy medium!! I’m trying to achieve that happy medium!

      • The happy medium of my mom must have happened sometime between the obsessive cleanliness she wanted when I was a kid and the nastiness they live in now. One specific example: there are fake plants and other items decorating the space between the top of the kitchen cabinets and ceiling. They haven’t been cleaned 1 single time since they moved into their current house over 10 years ago! YUCK!

        I think you are doing great with your happy medium. Taking home the pinwheels with ideas on use is great! You are not restricting your kids from having fun and being creative, but you are also working to keep your home clean and functional. :) Sorry if it came off wrong before, I think you are doing wonderful!

  10. I’m smiling at the thought of that dance number featuring you and your daughter – and the fun and happy memories you are making with those giant pinwheels! Then the question will be – ‘do we need to KEEP those pinwheels, now that we’ve done that amazing routine we dreamed up?”
    Always love how you give me some food for thought and help me find balance between my slob-ness and normal. Thanks Nony!

  11. I am totally a “why not” kind of person. I’ve even caught myself trying to bring things home that I would never use . Yet I always come up with some excuse to bring it home anyway. Maybe one day I’ll learn.

  12. lydia purple says:

    I was trying to figure out if i’m a why not or a why, and i think i may have found my happy medium. (Hopehopehope) I love arts, so do my kids, and i do have large stash of art supplies (many of which where why nots), which when i first had kids wanted to save for ‘real art’ but at some point i just pulled those fancy acrylics out and the oil pastels, oh the oil pastels, they are far more exciting than crayons!!! I am at constant battle with that creative mess and the cluttered piles of supplies and art work. Yet my daughter is greatly impressing her kindergarden teacher with her art skills – Score!
    But comes a bag of clothes or other random decorations, kitchen items etc… i am in the why? category. Yet, i have a mother in law who is a total why not that just keeps bringing it into my home…. We live in the same city, so i have to be careful where i get rid off it. At one point i had maybe 10! winter coats and we live where there is 9 months summer… but she got a hold of the coats at the place i donated them and heck, she took half of them home again.

  13. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_H0mtEMCZtI
    “There is no Why.” This is the most famous quote from the above link. This is a youtube preview of the documentary “Man on Wire” It won an Oscar in 2011. Let me to spoil you , there you will see a wire walker on his wire between the World Trade Center Towers. This movie moved me like no other. I have watched it at least 50 times and I have it playing in my home at least once a week while I am cleaning/housework etc. I love to listen to it. It is anything but normal…and There Is No Why.

  14. Elizabeth B says:

    I do hope you will post a short video of your routine with DD! I’m sure y’all and the pinwheels will shine!! :)

  15. I’d have kept the pinwheels, too. My very first thought is that they would look cute with the sticks tucked behind the corners of your daughter’s headboard on her bed. So yeah, I understand the ‘why not’ philosophy. But I am getting a lot better at asking why. I already hate how much stuff I have, so unless it’s absolutely essential, like groceries or toilet paper, it doesn’t come into my house anymore. Not until I get the one in/one out rule down a little better. :)

    • I had a similar train of thought, but I was thinking it would be adorable sticking out from a mirror on a dresser or something! LOL!

  16. “I have issues, but I also have ideas.” One of the many reasons we are friends. :) (Yes, I realize I just read your post and missed the point. Call it part of MY issues, huh?)

  17. I probably would have said, “No, thank you.” My mom’s always trying to give me stuff and I almost always say no. That backfired on me once. She offered me this “tomato knife” and I declined. So she gave it to my daughter-in-law. Later I was using it at my daughter-in-law’s house and it was the most amazing knife I’ve ever used. I was really sad I said no to that but most of the time I have no problem saying no.

  18. As the adult child of a pack rat, I understand the Why. If I didn’t my home would be cluttered from Dollar Store finds and random items brought back from my grandmother’s house.

  19. I am a Why person who has three grade school age boys. The more uncluttered their play environment, the more imaginative they can be. I see it as my job to provide the peaceful environment in which they can feel centered and safe. Therefore, we try to limit the amount of “stuff” that comes in….and there is no end to all the little plastic junk in a kids life. With that said, if there’s something they clearly love, we bring it home and then get rid of it when they’re done playing with it. We purge twice a year.

  20. This is a very revolutionary thought to me. I have been feeling the need to declutter, but it is very stressful on me and I think this may be one of the reasons. I ALWAYS accept free items because…why not? Haha. Maybe I should make a “one week rule” where if I haven’t used an item in one week it gets decluttered. Although I’m not sure if I’m organized enough for that :/

  21. Okay, you may be the daughter with a “clutter problem”, but seriously…I’ll bet you’re more fun. :)

  22. This is a great article! Makes me think. Hope I think about it next time a situation like this comes up again.

  23. “I have issues, but I also have ideas.” A life motto to live by ;)

  24. There is something to be said for being fun and spontaneous! You roll with it, then pass along the toy to somebody else to enjoy!

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--Nony

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