Forwards, backwards, upside down… doesn’t matter!
As parents we've all thought it at one time or another!
A whole day, at home, with small children can seem so long and as boring as white on rice.
Especially if you have no plan of attack!
We all know it, those days that sneak up on you with no warning where your nice weekly set up goes to custard and you find yourself facing the open abyss that is a whole day at home with the kids, no planned activities, no outings, no play dates booked, absolutely nothing!
If you're really unlucky the weather outside is horrendous and both kids have so much green stuff oozing out of them that you wonder if your on the set of ghost busters and your children are really aliens made purely of green slime!!
I don’t know what it is about these days but regardless of the sleep I have had or how many coffees I consume… they hurt… they hurt almost more than when I miss my favourite t.v. show because my toddler won’t go to sleep.
Being a teacher I know the assumption is that I love kids, and I do! They're hilarious, crazy, predictable and yet unpredictable and just plain fun!
But... even in teaching you have some adult interaction, scheduled food breaks, scheduled child breaks, opportunities to go to the loo… alone! A whole day at home is totally different. It can be isolating and it can be boring!
We had one like this recently where, the blackberry of the family, aka ME! Went on the blink. Suddenly I found a day of abyss before me.
Now, I’m always tired but on these days I’m exhausted beyond belief! I always have a thousand jobs to do, piles of washing and clutter everywhere… but on these days, all of these things seem suffocatingly in my face! Probably because they are literally in my face!
So what did we do…
I will be honest, at first, I sulked!
Like cowered into the couch, pretending I couldn’t hear the toys that were being strewn across the playroom in protest of ‘Family Blackberry’ not engaging… kind of sulked!
I think my three-nager was secretly proud that I had it in me, my toddler on the other hand resorted to drastic measures… hunt down the one item that will get Mum’s attention because it can cause irrevocable damage…
A SHARPIE! DAH DAH DAAAAH! (cue bad thriller movie sound affect)
In my blissful sulk I could feel the gentle tap on my arm but assumed it to be a harmless crayon. Not until Miss almost four suggested I might want to open my eyes, and might be none to happy with what I saw, did utter mayhem ensue.
My entire arm was covered in sharpie and my toddler was off and running, squealing with delight! Not only had he got Mum off the couch, but now she was playing chasies… winner winner chicken dinner!
I didn’t know I had that level of athletic ability, but I ran like an Olympic sprinter.
I did catch rascal toddler in time to save other porous surfaces from a tattoo by sharpie but as I did and he continued to giggle and squeal in delight, I realised that we never have full days at home just chilling, that I really needed to suck it up, roll with it and have the resolve to ignore all the suffocatingly obvious chores/tasks that I couldn't do and didn't want to do!
So I promptly got myself in a shower, bundled the kids into the car for a quick drive by coffee hit and landed back home, ready to look at the abyss and tell it to go jump! Or perhaps to jump into it headfirst and enjoy the thrill of not knowing where the day would take us.
Here is the fun that we got up to once I accepted and embraced that I had no plan of attack…
1. Pretend Postman Play:
A simple cardboard box was the item of choice as Miss almost four packed it with odd items and delivered it to me. Mr. Toddler enjoyed helping me ‘pretend’ to reopen the box each time and look with mock delight at the stacking cup, napkin, toy car etc. that I found inside.
Eventually Miss almost four (who has a wicked sense of humour) got cheeky and delivered me ‘The most special delivery of the day!”, her words.
I amped it up with overt enthusiasm and delight as I opened it up, slowly, savouring the anticipation… inside, I found… nothing! Ahahha cheeky monkey, but I quickly jumped on the joke and gushed “thank you, thank you, how did you know? It is what I have always wanted!!”
Miss almost four fell onto the floor with laughter as I hugged her in my excitement and appreciation for my ‘special’ delivery.
We clocked one hour with that cardboard box and random items from around the house.
2. It’s raining toilet paper
Do you remember when you were a child, how much fun it was to tear paper, play in mud, splash in puddles?
Unrolling toilet paper rolls is right up there with these!
Sure it is a bit of a pain having a whole wad propped next to the toilet instead of a nice neat roll, but goodness it is fun to challenge your children to a toilet paper race (roll them down a corridor and see whose unravels and goes the furthest) or play it is raining toilet paper (tear up a whole lot of single squares and then throw them in the air and let them fall down around you). I have to confess… I had a ball doing this as it felt a little bit cheeky and big bit fun!
3. Make the lumpy bed
There is something about a parent’s bed that can entertain a child for hours. Perhaps it is the size relative to them or just that it is the place where their ‘whole world’ lays their head and therefore screams safety, warmth and love.
I’m not sure how this game started, I think that I might have been attempting to change the bed sheets. But ‘Find the lump’ has since become a daily favourite.
It is super simple. You attempt to make the bed and pretend not to notice the child that sneaks under the covers, making a lump. You then notice the lump and try to ‘smooth’ it out, gently tap it out, ‘tickle’ it out. My kids could play it for hours.
So the next time you face the abyss… fight the urge to frantically plan an outing… stare it down! Jump in headfirst! You might, like me, be pleasantly surprised at the unplanned fun that can occur.
Now, I’d be lying and be a massive hypocrite, if I said that I look forward to whole days at home just me and the kids, we all need some adult contact in a day.
But I do now try to have at least one morning in the week when we just take it slow, so that there is a chance for us to have some time just ‘playing’ whatever takes our fancy.
It forces me to channel my inner child and we could all do with a bit of childish fun and games in our life!
Your Hands-On Helper,