Thursday, August 28, 2014

Quick n' Dirty Parenting

Ever had one of those days when you feel like, despite your best intents, you're just reacting? Nothing is going according to plan, and the best you can do is hang on for dear life?
"Ha!" you say. "Just a day? What about a week? A month? A whole Summer?"
Yeah, me too.
Crayon Box Chronicles
If you browse Pinterest, you'll know that some mommies present their children with elaborate sensory bins filled with beans, water beads, shaving foam, or gravel and accessorized with carefully themed tools, tiny animals, trucks, or miniature toys all of the same color or (better yet) starting with the same letter.

Lucy, 16 months 

Other mommies let their children stand at the breakfast bar and play with the remains of a half-melted smoothie, an abandoned glass of water, a couple of goldfish crackers, and a hunk of cheese.  For thematic accessories, spoons and straws are offered, along with gentle, leading statements like "Wow, that looks like fun! Why don't you use a straw instead dumping it down your shirt?" and "Hey, how about eating that cracker instead of putting it in James' smoothie?!"

All joking aside, I'm counting this a "win" for several reasons
(1) When I returned from the restroom I for once did not (a) shout at the baby and yank her bodily down from the stool, or (b) yell at James for not only abandoning his snack but also leaving his chair in place instead of tipping it over. (What, your children aren't instructed to tip their chairs over as soon as they're done with them? Weird.)
(2) I got 15 minutes of happy play out of it, during which I successfully prepared dinner,
(3) Lucy got to practice saying "Cheese" for the camera. Which was like her 3rd word. And not just 'cause she likes to eat it.

Seriously, folks. I don't know who these mothers are, or what planet their children are from, because I can guarantee that if I spent 20 minutes prepping a sensory bin, my kids would spend 6 minutes playing with it, and then dump it out, at which point I would spent about 15 minutes cleaning it up.  I spent less than 5 minutes cleaning up from Lucy's sensory explorations, and zero prepping it - since the smoothies were at least technically for drinking. (BTW, equal parts frozen watermelon chunks and lemonade makes a Really good smoothie!)
So as far as I'm concerned, this was a perfect example of a great DIY toy. 'Cause remember:

OK, enough ranting. If you've also read my post from last week, you may be thinking - to quote the bard - "she doth protest too much." And you're probably right. I've got a bit of a complex here about being less intentional in my parenting than I think I ought to be. I want to do better. There are specific steps that I could be taking to do better. And yet... it's all going to come out in the wash.
Sometimes quite literally.

1 comment:

Debbie Day said...

Not only that she is experiencing tools and textures she will use for a lifetime!