Archive | August, 2010

Painting on the window

30 Aug

May I just say that this is the most successful “crafting activity” we have ever done. Ever. I love it. Love it, love it, love it.

The reason why it is so “successful”? It just absorbs him for ages. And ages. Not only that, he can wander off and come back to it, in a way you can’t do when you’re painting indoors. Then there’s the fact that it descends develops into “water play”. There’s bubbles and splashing, and occasionally some cleaning. Although last time there was just playing in the saucepan, yes in it. And swimming in the puddles. And the windows still aren’t clean, even though that was 4 days ago. Three hours we were out there, slobbering engaged in artistic endeavours. LOVE IT!

Go on, try it! You know you want to…….

Happy Birthday Granny!

24 Aug

Grannies have to get home made bits and bobs, don’t they? It’s the rule. So we made Granny’s present this year.

First, I  freezer paper stencilled “I love you Granny” onto a canvas – it was going to be something inspirational about grandmothers and sparkle or something, but I lost steam after about three letters because it was too fiddly. Then I let a small boy have free reign with the acrylic paints

And here is the result

If you’re going to give it a go, freezer paper doesn’t adhere to canvas particularly well. Perhaps contact paper or something would be better? And secondly, perhaps limit the number of colours so that it doesn’t end up looking like mud. Of course, the Turtle could give Granny mud and she would like it regardless. Grannies are great.

Happy birthday Granny!

Cultivating imagination

18 Aug

Do you think you can? Cultivate imagination, I mean. Is it inherent? Developed? Nurtured? Cultivated?

And is it essential?

Am I the only one who finds a child without an imagination a terribly, terribly sad spectacle?

Surely not.

As Beckett said, “Imagination Dead Imagine”.

Imagination is the way we process the world. Good and bad. Staying up late, watching Criminal Minds while the husband is at work, is a surefire way to send my imagination into overdrive.

Recently I have noticed the Turtle developing a little imagination of his own. And it melts my heart. Every time. Especially when it’s a fairly giant leap, more than role play. More than pretending to eat play food. Like imagining leaves are corn or “sammwiches” and having me pretend to eat them with his endearing little “Here you go Mammy”.

I want it to continue as he grows. The only way I know of doing that is by “playing along”, when I’m allowed! And “indulging” him.

In the "jungle"

Our "elephant"

Talking to the "elephant"

It’s amazing the hours you can “waste” watching a small child pretending to cut grass with a stick, or playing cars with stones, even taking anything he can find and turning it into a tunnel. But is it a “waste”? Isn’t this what we should be doing?

How do you cultivate your child’s imagination?

(And do toys help or hinder?)


15 Aug

Does yours?

Mine doesn’t.

And I’m not entirely sure I want him to. Or even that he needs to. Is this really a life skill that everyone needs? Or that everyone needs when they are 2? Will he really be relying on me to read him stories and sing him songs when he’s in university if I don’t stop the madness tout suite? Will he heck as like. Somewhere in the next couple of years he’s going to kick me out and assert his independence. Say something like “I’m not a baby Mammy”. And he’ll read his own books and go to sleep by himself. What’s the rush?

I may be a “crutch” or something now, but I’d rather it be me than some lights and sounds show yoke. I mean, why do those things even exist if small children are meant to go to sleep by themselves? I know that I don’t lie down and go to sleep immediately. I read, I talk to the Hubby, I get up for a drink, lie down again, get up to go to the toilet, check the locks etc. Not all of them every night, but switching off is hard. And if it’s hard for me, it must be even harder for him. He’s learning so much every day, his little mind is humming so loudly you can almost hear it. He goes at full speed until he conks out. In the middle of “There’s a hole in the bucket”.

I like watching him wind down. I bring him up and we brush his teeth. Then we go into his room and he chooses a story. I used to just read one, but for sanity’s sake (mine) I have increased it to two. I like Curious George as much as the next person, but every night? So now it’s two. Then I turn out the light. He talks about what he did during the day and I tell him what we’ll do tomorrow. Sometimes we say “Goodnight” to everyone he knows, all of his trains and all of the animals I can think of. Then I ask him what song he would like. Usually it’s “Found a Peanut” or “There’s a hole in the bucket”, sometimes it’s the theme from Dinosaur train (just to give my brain a workout, Mother of God but I hate trying to sing that song).

He falls asleep while I sing.

Oftentimes he’ll sleep through the night. Sometimes not. When he does wake he sits up, rubbing his eyes, calling me. I lay him down again and he’s out.

No matter how he goes to sleep, I’m still going to go in and check on him when he wakes. That’s who I am.

I’m going to check on him even if he doesn’t wake up. That’s who I am.

And I’m going to sing him to sleep until he tells me otherwise. That’s who I am.

That’s what my mother did for me.

Thanks Mam, for making me who I am.

Toddler Busy Book

12 Aug

I broke it out again a couple of weeks ago. It’s great when your brain is too fried to think. Although you spend most of your time thumping yourself in the forehead going “why didn’t I think of that!?” And it was good to have a reminder that toddlers learn from repetition, so doing things over and over isn’t boring for them, but it does beg the question as to what my fella is learning from eating play dough, repeatedly. Still, it takes the pressure off. I mean, you don’t have to come up with a new activity every day. You can do the same ones over and over and over.

We tried painting with yarn:

For some reason, it made him want to eat the paint. Surprisingly, for him, he had never done that before. That, coupled with the mess, may make this an activity not to be repeated. Well, not for a good while, anyway.

The best activity, though, was painting with water. For days and days there were requests of  “Water for paint Mammy. Water for paint!”

This, I think, is when he realised that dabs of “paint” could make pictures. A dab, with a gravity-caused trickle became an elephant. After that the sky was the limit. He was drawing circles and all sorts.

Then we tried food colouring in a squirty bottle. “Quirting” is great fun.

But I thought there would at least be a hint of colour. There wasn’t. Fun nonetheless!


11 Aug

I have found a Moms group that is actually quite fun and everyone seems nice. I’m not entirely convinced that I’m cut out for hanging out with mothers though. I may well be too judgmental. Or something. A one year old in a time out? Really? And berating an 18 month old for kicking the ball instead of throwing it (or vice versa), what’s that about? And all of the shouting? And the tone? Aaargh!

I’m not perfect. I do shout. Often. But not in that hateful, grating tone. I have resorted to time outs. Mainly for my own benefit. I have however, realised that punishing a child for my own frustrations is more than a little bit wrong. So I’m trying to phase them out. It’s no use punishing him because I’m angry.

The Turtle seems to enjoy it though. He’s coming out of his shell. He used to be really confident around other kids. Until he had a few run ins. And we moved. And the Hubby started working nights. All of which seems to have contributed in making him a bit clingy and unsure of himself.

If it helps my boy come out of his shell again. Back to exuding confidence from every pore, we’ll be going to many, many more playdates. They’re not bad people, or even bad parents. It’s just that when you meet people and know them only as parents, it’s a bit weird. Or is that just me?

A taste of Summer

11 Aug

We accidentally bought a watermelon that wasn’t seedless (seedfull? or just a watermelon?) Apparently eating watermelon seeds will make one grow in your belly and make your stomach explode 😉 Or something. I’m not sure. As my mother would say “It’s far from watermelon you were raised.” So I’m not sure of the myths relating to watermelons and their seeds. But the Hubby said the Turtle shouldn’t be eating them. He went so far as to pick them out, individually. I don’t have the patience for that. But I do listen to him. Sometimes. Ahem. But I still had a good few pounds of watermelon left. And a sieve! So, the Turtle and I squished a big pile of watermelon through the sieve and decanted it into some lollipop moulds, And voila! A taste of Summer! And the Turtle gets to eat “lollipops” without sugar or E numbers or any other nasties!

He had one for breakfast the other day, which I think might have been taking things too far. But yum nonetheless!

Looking up …

4 Aug

I’ve been feeling a bit down lately. Isolated. Having no one but a toddler to talk to for 20+ hours a day can get you down. I suppose I didn’t really have anyone to talk to in Florida either, but it felt like the Hubby was around more. Here he’s just not. Maybe an hour each side of his shift. We don’t even get to have dinner together. Breakfast sometimes, but that’s about it.

I don’t like the person I have become over the past few weeks. Irritable. Angry. Shouty. Not the mother I want to be. Or the wife. Or the person.

But it’s hard. I know I need to get out and meet people, but how can you do that if you don’t like who you are?

This is worse than being a teenager.

However I have found that a teenager with (somewhat) adult sensibilities can motivate themselves to get out of the house. Which is what I did today. I found a group of mothers on the internet and I got up off my ass and met them. Not only that, I cycled the four miles (or more) to the park. I meant to cycle back home again, but there was no way. No way. I called the Hubby to come and collect us before he went to work (see, there is something positive to be said for shift work! )

The group looks promising. They have lots of different activities all over the city, so I won’t have to kill myself cycling for miles and miles. And everyone was friendly. So yippee!

The Turtle liked playing with “the kids” too. (It’s funny to hear him refer to other children as kids, so cute!) He doesn’t get to do that often, or ever really. Maybe he’ll make a friend who isn’t Mammy.

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