Even though I’m (mostly) a stay-at-home mom, it is very rare for us to actually stay at home all day, mainly because little man requires lots of socialization and stimulation, but also because I do, too. We pretty much have some sort of outing everyday of the week (except one), whether it is playgroup, the park (not in this heat!), the pool, yoga class, playdates, or storytime at the library. And I also work (he comes with me) a few days a week, so that gets us out as well. So, needless to say, when we get stuck at home for long periods of time due to sickness or weather or whatever it may be, it’s a little bit of an adjustment.
It’s now Day 4 of being quarantined with poor sick little man (who has no idea he’s sick) and I won’t lie and say that I haven’t succumbed to the powers of Sesame Street - mainly in order to get him to stop moving and to rest so he can get better faster, but also because I just run out of things to do to keep him entertained and
not whiny happy (and to keep me sane).
He loves to be outside. If we could stay outside all day, he would be completely fine with that. However, we’ve just planted grass seed and have a lawn filled with hay at the moment - not the best area for a toddler, who falls down
every other minute from time to time, to play. He can play in the bushes and smell the gardenias, but how long can that actually last before he’s picking all of the leaves and flowers and trying to eat them?
Peek-a-boo is fun. That never gets old (for him).
Looking out the window is fun…until it makes him want to go back outside and commence eating plants.
Letting him explore the rooms in the house that he doesn’t normally go in could potentially keep him busy for an hour, depending on what I let him play with that
he could destroy he’s not supposed to have.
So, after all of the toys (and non-toys including cell phones, remote controls, magazines, DVD cases, household appliances) have been played with several times over, after I’ve chased him around the house and tickled him as long as I can, after I feel guilty for the amount of Sesame Street he has watched (and am starting to actually enjoy the show), after he’s explored every cabinet, every drawer and every nook and cranny in this house, after we’ve danced and sung and read every book we own…it’s only then that I remember that I used to be a preschool teacher! What am I thinking - I’ve got lots of tricks in my bag that I’d forgotten about as I trudged through the days waiting for the end of our imprisonment. Here are a couple that I remembered today.
Before you freak out - it washes right off. Actually it will probably start peeling off if you leave it up too long. Painting is like super sensory stimulation for toddlers. It’s a new feeling to squish their fingers in the paint, they can mix the colors and you can give them different surfaces to paint on (like windows…or, for the faint of heart, different types of paper) and experience those textures as well. Yes, they will try to eat it, but, in my experience after the first taste they usually realize its not too tasty and stick to covering themselves in it.
It’s like Sesame Street LIVE! Ok, not really, but it makes him laugh a lot. And it makes me laugh, too. Today’s show starred a feminist tiger who was very upset for not being taken seriously because her roar sounded like an opera singer. She got even more furious when Knox couldn’t stop laughing at her. Now her sights are set on revenge. While he can’t understand most of what I’m saying, it is teaching him something and that is pretend/dramatic play, which is an important part of early childhood development.
This is a simple one, but may be difficult for some parents to do, as they can’t stand the noise. But, think about it, kids are being shushed and quieted all the time. Have a few minutes of crazy noise and they will love it! Bang pots and pans, yell, scream, get out every musical instrument you have. If they don’t join in the fun, they’re too sick to be out of bed anyway. This is also a good learning lesson as it teaches him to differentiate between pitches, loud/quiet and discover what sounds different types of materials make.
I will try to share more ideas as I begin to remember them.
I’ve realized over the last few days that, even with all the fussing and icky-ness that comes with having a sick baby, it’s also a good time to stop and savor all of the cuddly moments, all of the times he reaches for you, and embrace the fact that you (and only you) can make him feel better, even if just for a short moment. And, that, is reward enough for me.