I'm going to begin with the basic facts.
A few months before Ava was born we decided to move Michael into the guest bedroom and to give Ava his old room. My dad painted his room a wonderful shade of green and we bought beautiful wall decals to decorate the room. Well, the wall decals didn't go up for months and months, but we finally made the time. I entertained both children while Daddy painstakingly arranged the decals around the room and the room came out beautifully. Note exhibit A: beautifully arranged wall decals.
Last night we noticed a brand new arrangement of wall decals (exhibit B). Michael had borrowed bits and pieces of other arrangements to make a new one of his own. He climbed up on a chair in his room (multiple times I assume) to arrange the stolen elements next to one of the pictures in his room.
Parents: Did you do this?!?
Michael: No. (obviously a lie)
Parents: Why did you do that? Mommy and Daddy worked hard to make your room pretty!
Michael: I'm sorry. (looking pitiful and crushed)
Parents: (starting to feel a little guilty) Well, it does look very nice sweetheart, and we can tell you worked hard on it. But Mommy and Daddy worked hard on your stickers and we would like for you to leave them where they are from now on.
At that point we returned to the regularly scheduled bedtime routine and put Michael to bed for the night.
Dala: Why is it that our first reaction to creativity and initiative is to crush it? I'm feeling a little guilty.
(can still hear banging from upstairs indicating that Michael is actually awake and playing rather than sleeping)
Daddy: It did look pretty nice didn't it?
Dala: Yeah, and he must have worked hard on it.
Daddy: That's it. I'm going upstairs right now to talk to him about it.
5-10 minute delay
Dala: So, how did that go?
Daddy: He obviously felt proud. We went over and I picked him up so we could look at it. We talked about how nice it looked. He was relieved that we liked it.
Dala: You're such a good Daddy.
What do you think? Was our initial reaction as out of line as we thought? Would you let your kids intentionally rearrange their room decorations?