15 January 2010

A New "Thang"...

It's the simplest of premises - really, but... for me - pretty "nouveau". Prompted by a preschool play date for Milo and faced with a bedroom being painted / in progress - whatever, I brought dinosaurs, cars, a song mat, games, art stuff, musical instruments, etc. downstairs - spread them about - turned the TV OFF, and... let my little ones go. I had to "demonstrate" a bit - cut out some Play-doh "cookies" & put them in the toy oven - set up the dinosaurs on a makeshift "mountain", etc. I'm not worried about clean-up - I'm not worried about toys being out of place - I'm not worried about occupying and / or engaging my kids. Guilt-free, I had lunch sitting down instead of running today - plus I actually started to organize my own personal 2010 business (and, as "CEO" of the home - that "personal" business is really more family-oriented - have been missing doctor's appointments, school events, etc. lately, and it has to stop - I mean, I am an efficient person - enough is enough!). I got them outside for fresh air by throwing on coats and boots (no hats - no snow pants, etc.) - did not worry about mud or water - just took magnifying glasses and went for a walk. I snuck a nutritious snack in with the warm cookies we baked - left the plates with some sippy cups full of milk on a tray amidst the play, and.. they ate it all - then put cups back in kitchen. Am I being lazy or teaching self-sufficiency?? You decide ;-).

I mean - think for a minute - how many of you have been up since before 6 am - packed lunches, distributed coats, school fees, notes and other "turn-in-ables", picked up the morning's wet shower towels, made the beds, put away snack dishes and other night time "stuff" from the evening before, cleaned up the breakfast dishes and other discarded bits of clothing or rejected items from back packs on the run - worked as a chaffeur and short order cook most of the day - missed your own lunch - took a lukewarm 5 min. shower just to wake yourself up - ignored the fact that you're operating on less than 5 hours of sleep - taken way too much Tylenol - broken up way too many fights - somehow engaged in numerous art projects - endless games of hide n seek - endless encounters with poopy pants, wet pull-ups (or worse, underwear :-), mess after mess after mess (the cereal the baby threw - the rice that dumped out of the fridge when preschooler grabbed a cup - peanut butter hands on the wall again!!) - managed to get some clothes washed, dishwasher unloaded, a couple of dust bunnies wiped up, kids picked up from various activities, dinner on deck to be made, and..... you look at the clock and it's not even 3 pm. Busy, busy nine hour day and still probably a few more hours left on the clock in addition to the homework, dinner, bed, bath, etc. routine - ??????

Photo: Hmmm..... I now remember putting the above mentioned technique into practice over the holidays. Here are some ready made cut-out cookies and some sprinkles - now go - have fun! Piles of crayons - markers - colored pencils dumped on dining room table with piles of printer paper - have fun! Just taped the "masterpieces" to the dining room wall so that I could free up time to cook, rest, smile, etc. Later.... I would feel refreshed enough to concentrate on kid-focused activities (i.e. actually enjoy pretend tea with Lil - really listen to one of Olivia's middle school stories or relax for books and movies at bedtime with the boys). It's too much to ask of mothers to be attentive and think of others first 24 / 7. It is not possible. Play-based development so important, but.. so is creating nourishing meals for the family - having clean clothes for them to wear, and.... still.... having time to clear your own head to be the best you can be for your family. Got that straight? I sure don't. Working on it.... And... oh no - I appear to be on my soap box again ;-).


Kim said...

You are right...Mom can't do it all! A benefit of having a large family (more than 2 kids seems to be considered large now) is that the kids learn to help out and put others before themselves. It's hard now because your younger three are so little, but they are learning this already with taking their milk cups in. Okay, I am getting on my soap box now. I actually have an unpublished blog entry on this that I will have to finish. BTW...we got the cookies in the mail...yum! I was home with just the boys last night and after Jake went to sleep, Brennan and I had a cookie snack before bed. :)

Sherri said...

I think we are entitled to be on the our soap boxes now and then. I don't know how you do it with two active little ones and the Jakester. That's why it's nice to share here, right? Anyway - glad you like the cookies. Our family always appreciates a little post-holiday surprise after the chaos, so... I've begun my "family" holiday gifts again. More fun sometimes (though Olivia certainly appreciated her "spending gifts" :-) - working on thank yous and some photos :-).