With my kids now ages five and seven, they often get quite involved in their projects. They will build forts out the couch, or draw elaborate pictures and mazes, or set up theatrical performances for us to watch.
They are so proud of these creations that they don’t want to show them off until they are ready. I’ve lost count of the number of times I have walked in the door at the end of the day to be greeted by horrified squeals from my kids as they shout, “Don’t look! Don’t look!”
The only proper response to this is “I’m closing my eyes!”, shortly followed by “I didn’t see anything!” And this is mostly true, because frankly I had no idea what the chaotic activity they were involved in was supposed to be. I then exit the room so I can open my eyes again.
This works fine up to a point. The problem is that invariably, the kids are not 30 seconds away from being done. It might be 5 minutes, it might be 10, it might be longer. Our house is small, and I cannot avoid going into the living room if they are working on their secret project there.
There’s a limit to how long I can keep my eyes closed for.
Several months ago, I figured out a shortcut for this problem. Kids have a very naive understanding of what it means to close your eyes. To them, if they cannot see your eyes, they assume you cannot see anything. So as long as your eyes are hidden from their view, they will be fine.
Now, when I am told to close my eyes, I cover them with my hand. My kids are thrilled, because in their mind, I have created an impenetrable wall through which I cannot see.
The reality is that I haven’t covered my eyes; I have just tented them. My hand is at an angle that blocks my vision straight out, but otherwise I can see all around me.
This gives me enough vision to move around the room and find whatever I need… provided I can do it one-handed.
And the best part is that the kids keep working on their “secret” project – independently.