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{this moment}

November 25, 2010

A moment to remember, inspired by SouleMama.

Remembering to play

November 20, 2010

Sometimes the girls and I have the most fun when I just get down on the floor with them. It’s easy to forget how big we adults are, towering over our children.  It’s easy for planned activities and necessary routines to fill all of our time.  But I’m noticing that we are most likely to laugh together in those little moments of downtime when I get down face to face and remember to play.

The moments I most want to remember from this week are those of spontaneous fun and connection, playing games such as these (too personal to find in an activity book):

Lying on the floor hugging Bubbles belly to belly, rolling back and forth chanting “Roly poly, roly poly, roly poly Baby!”  She signs “more” when I stop so we do it over and over.

Boo putting a table and two chairs together to make a stage and asking me to take videos of her “doing ballet” and coming up with some really kooky dance moves.

In the bathtub, putting a warm wet washcloth on Bubbles’ back and saying “you’re a turtle.”  She takes it off then signs “more.”

The three of us holding hands and jumping up and down on the bed shouting “I wish we had a trampoline!” and bursting into giggles.

Sometimes I forget how to be silly, but if I get down on the floor with my girls they will remind me.  And taking that time to be silly makes them feel loved and like I really want to be with them.  Which I do…so I want to remember to play!

Potions

November 19, 2010

As soon as Boo was old enough to stop putting everything in her mouth, we started making art together.  From the beginning, making potions has been one of her favorite art activities.  I’ve mentioned before that we do a lot of mixing and mushing, and there are endless variations on this theme.  For 3-year-old Boo, this is the ultimate fun, and she has started asking many, many times a day to “do messy plan.”  Potions are delightfully multi-sensory, open-ended, and creative (and yes, messy too!).

Here are some ideas to get started (your little one will have many more):

Let your child have bits of those spices you don’t use often, dried beans, or rice to measure and mix (either dry or with water and/or oil).

While baking (or even if you’re not), put some flour, oil, salt, and water in little dishes for your little one to mix up.  This is also the simplest homemade playdough recipe!

To add some scent to your potion, you could try dried or fresh herbs, spices, zest from a citrus fruit.  Give her a cinnamon stick and sandpaper to grind it.

While making dinner, save the vegetable peels in a bowl for your little one to pretend to make soup.

One of our favorite potions is just cornstarch and water, which we call mushy gushy.

Baking soda and vinegar.   Always a fun combination.

Making a potion outside lends itself well to adding in dirt, sand, water from the hose, grass, leaves, pebbles, and so on.

You can add color with powdered or liquid tempura paint, liquid watercolor paint, or food coloring.  Glitter is fun too.

Try putting things in small containers and letting your little one pour or scoop into a big bowl.  I like to do this over a tray or towel or outside, and provide a bucket of warm soapy water for easy hand washing.

Enjoy!

{this moment}

November 19, 2010

A moment to remember, inspired by SouleMama.

It’s okay to nurse your baby to sleep

November 15, 2010

Really, it bears repeating; it’s okay to nurse your baby to sleep!  But most of the parenting books out there will warn you never to let them fall asleep at the breast.  Why? Because they’ll get used to it.

The truth is, they will get used to it.  And there are times when it will feel inconvenient or tedious.  It was hard sometimes when Boo was a baby and she needed me and only me twenty-four hours a day.  It is only in looking back that I realize how short her babyhood and that period of intense need was.  She still needs me but it’s different now, and in fact these days she will only go to sleep with papa!

Honestly, when I was pregnant for the second time I made up my mind to teach this baby to go to sleep with either parent, and not to nurse so frequently at night.  But when Bubbles was born and I held her in my arms, none of those convictions made sense anymore.  She very clearly wanted to nurse to sleep!  I needed her to fall asleep the easiest way possible so that I could rest.  And I made peace with the fact that a baby needs her mama….In fact, I’m fully enjoying this time of being the most important person in her world.  When Bubbles is needing to nurse all night long, I just remember that This Too Shall Pass.  And I will definitely miss it.

There are a lot of ways in which our culture discourages connection, even within our own families.  Please don’t feel that you need to discourage connection between yourself and your baby.  She looks up at your face and sees the sun, moon and stars reflecting down on her; she feels safe and complete in your arms.  So nurse her, let her fall asleep at the breast.

{this moment}

November 12, 2010

A moment to remember, inspired by SouleMama.

The prints were not the point

November 12, 2010

Yesterday I decided that we should do a quintessential fall art activity, something off of the ever-expanding list in my head of Things Children Should Do While in Preschool.  Do you have a list like that?

Boo was enthusiastic about the idea of apple prints.  We got set up in the backyard.  Paper, a tray with globs of paint, an apple cut in half to reveal the star inside.  A simple craft, but our prints just didn’t turn out.  I’m not really a crafty sort, and am certainly mechanically challenged, so I don’t have the faintest idea why our apples did not produce pretty star prints.

Boo wasn’t a bit fazed.  She was busy mixing the paint, smearing it over the apple halves, using it as fingerpaint and then covering her hands entirely.  Then of course it was necessary to clean out the water table, fill it with fresh soap and water and wash the apples.  Lots of soapy bubbles were required.  I made lame suggestions like “maybe we could make leaf prints instead!” but Boo was on a mission and the printing project had just gotten the ball rolling.

Art is such a lovely jumping-off point for play.