bubble – where I wish i could keep my kids (daily prompt)

But I know it’s not possible….but, I sure wish I could.

When S shares her deepest 5-year-old thoughts as I’m putting her to bed and she is reflecting on her day and she tells me that someone was mean to her on the playground.

When she falls and scrapes her knees and says she never want to play outside again.

When C gets whacked in the head by a swing he didn’t see (and that I couldn’t get to fast enough).

I know it’s not practical or even a real thing I could do, and probably wouldn’t be good for them, because at some point that bubble will pop and they’ll be in the “real world.” But for now, maybe for a few years, I wish I could keep their tender hearts and bodies in a bubble. So that nothing can harm their bodies and hearts.

So in the meantime I guess I do the next best thing – help them through it. Comfort, kiss boo-boos, whatever it may be.

 

via Daily Prompt: Bubble

problem solving

It’s amazing to me how these little brains think.  And, every once in a while, I learn a lesson from watching them.

I can’t even keep track of how many times I’ve said to my daughter “no honey I don’t think that will work” – when sure enough, it does.  Or even to my two year old son – “I don’t think that will fit in there” and sure enough it does. They have persistence. They keep trying.

As an adult, I often give up. If I’m tired, if it’s not worth pushing, if it causes conflict – I just decide it’s not worth it. And I guess that’s okay. My husband is better at this – he’s a pretty persistent guy. If we have a problem, he seeks out creative solutions and it’s boxed in by the normal confines of how something should be done.

Kids start problem solving early – and the first time they do it, we’re always like “wow that was smart of them!” I think we as adults can watch these little teachers and learn too. Sometimes there are creative ways to get to what we want.

tonight, the dishes sat

Our evening routine usually goes something like this:

After dinner, I start cleaning up the kitchen (dishes, counters, etc.).  Hubby usually entertains S and C while I do that. They often end up going downstairs to the basement or somewhere other than the kitchen so I can work.

Then, when I’m done I either join in the play or pick up the house. (By the time the kids are in bed, we are so pooped that it’s nice to have the house tidy beforehand so we can just relax.) Hubby is usually still with the kids, sometimes outside. Then it’s usually time for C to go down – I warm up a sippy of milk for him and go fetch him to take up to his room. Hubby then usually spends some time with S (bath or play) until it’s her bedtime.

Today, S said to me “mama can you and I play until you have to put C to bed?” My first answer was “no, you should go play with daddy, mama has to clean up.” But I quickly took that back.  I said, “sure!” and she was shocked.

So we played. We did magna tiles. We played with a little horse/vet lego set she had just finished building. We colored. All the way until I had to put C to bed.

And you know what? We still had to clean up after.  We still had to do the dishes. But it wasn’t the end of the world. In fact, I felt like I had a more fulfilled evening. I actually spent the end of the day with my kids instead of picking up from the end of our long day.

So yes, S (and C) – I vow to do that more often.  Play.  And let the dishes/kitchen/house sit and wait for me. It’s time well spent.

toy find – the aquadoodle mat!

Okay so my kids have been LOVING this thing so I wanted to share.

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It comes with a pen (or two, depending on which package you get) – and they draw with WATER. But the mats have different colored sections, and hidden letters…so it’s more fun! It’s big enough (as you can see) that both my 2 and 5 1/2 year old can play together, and best of all NO MESS. What they draw dries in a few minutes, so there is always room for another picture. Now that my daughter is reading/writing a little, she enjoys working on her letters. C is just thrilled that we gave him a “pen” that makes marks on something.

It looks like there are a few versions available now, but mine was the classic one (only came with one pen, so beware!). Extra pens are available.

Hope your kids enjoy this gem as much as mine do!

my kids will never be toys ‘r us kids

I’m sitting here attempting to use the rest of our Toys ‘R Us gift cards and I’m feeling a little sad.  I can’t help but feel that my kids are going to miss out on something.

It’s not like we go to the toy store all the time – it’s actually a rare treat.  But it’s always nice to know it’s there.  A giant, entire store FILLED with toys. I mean where do you even start? In this day of instant gratification and being able to get anything in 2 days (sometimes sooner!) courtesy of Amazon Prime, the toy store was a place where I feel like kids could still peruse, touch, and decide.

I still remember the jingle when the commercial would come on.  And not that I want my kid to be a “toys ‘r us kid” or anything – but I’m wondering now where I’ll take them for that occasional visit.  A toy section in Target is a possibility. But there was just something about buying toys in a place that didn’t also sell home goods and clothing.

I guess this is a sign of the times though – as I think about all the other retailers that have either gone out of business or are in the midst of bankruptcy filings – our kids’ world is going to be a little different. They will do more digitally and virtually. And perhaps the physical stores they go into will me more experiential – movie theaters, trampoline parks, etc.

I will spend the rest of my gift cards but with a little sadness in my heart – the last purchase I will ever make at a Toys ‘R Us store.

When boredom strikes

Let them be bored. I’ve heard that so often lately…in this age of electronics and just plain old busyness. So I decided to try it one morning.

S woke up and as usual said “mama what are we going to do today?” It was Saturday, so usually we would have an outing of some kind planned in the morning, and then we’d spend the afternoon around the house, outside, etc. But this time I said “we’re actually going to have a family weekend. We’re going to spend all day today and tomorrow here at home and play inside and out!”

That didn’t go over well. C just turned two so he was oblivious. But S whined and complained. “I’m so bored. There’s nothing to do.” I encouraged her to go to her playroom and pick out a game. Or that we could bring the easel up from the basement and she could paint. Or we could do a puzzle. Or we could read. She stomped off to her room about an hour into the morning.

Then I found a piece of paper slid out under her door.

And she was. She made a few ‘books’ that day. She used her imagination and when given a big chunk of unstructured time, she came up with fun illustrations and words that she asked us to staple together for her later that day.

Having spent time in her kindergarten class, I know how structured her days are. We are a common core state; so much has changed from when I was in kindergarten. Kids move from one activity to another quickly. There is a not a lot of time for free play or socializing apart from the 15 min morning recess and 20 min lunch one. Their days are filled with worksheets, reading books, math puzzles and the like. This reinforced for me the need for more “boredom days” where there is time and space to let the mind wander.

So we’ll be doing more of these days. S may not like it – but especially with summer coming, I think we’ll have plenty of opportunities and she’ll learn to love them.

are we done? or do we want another?

This is what my husband sprung on me in the midst of a TV show. I don’t even remember what we were watching.  The kids were both in bed so we were having our nightly “date” to catch up on a show when the house was quiet.

I have to admit, I’ve thought about it. C just turned 2, and S is 5 1/2.  It seems like the last few years just flew by. But every time I thought about it, I just couldn’t see starting all over. Both hubby and I are in our 40s, and admittedly the sleepless nights were much harder with #2 than #1.

But, every time I asked myself this question, I also though how nice it would be to have a little one again. That baby that makes those sweet cooing sounds – sounds I would never hear from my kids again as they grew older.  My oldest is even too big to carry (but I still do at times). But, I didn’t think my husband was asking himself the same question, so I was shocked when he verbalized it to me. I thought for sure we were done. A family of 4 and a dog.

So that made me really think.  Are we? Or do we want a third?

It’s still on my mind. We sort of ended that conversation agreeing that we didn’t think we could handle it. That it would be too hard for S and C with us already being pretty tired. If we were 10 years younger…we would.

But then I woke up this morning and thought about it again (obviously). How do we know…I mean really know, when our family is complete?