Friday, July 8, 2011

New Thing #8: Toys & One-on-One

Today Daddy was scheduled for day surgery so, in keeping with the theme of this week, I decided not to plan anything and I would figure out what we were doing when the time came to do it. I have come to the conclusion that I would make a horrible teacher because my lesson plans would just say "figure out what to do by the moods of the kids" and because most kids would prefer to do anything but school work, we'd end up pushing all the desks together, making a giant fort and reading books in it all day. Nobody would have any idea what fractions are or where Prussia is on a map but they would all know that Ned Nickerson is Nancy Drew's main man. Come to think of it, that would be fantastic.

But I digress.

Where was I? Oh, yes. Daddy was having day surgery. I won't get into the details but I did call the outpatient area where he was "The Sad Man Ward". We left the LP at home with Grandpa, where they were kept busy with shadow puppets and playing with the cat and being outside and who knows what else. In other words, they were in good hands. Once we got home and I got Daddy settled (poor guy, he really took one for the team today), LP1 was ready for a nap and LP2 decided once again that he didn't want to sleep. I ended up stopping everything to just play on the floor with LP2. I can't remember the last time it was just he and I, being silly together. He is such an easygoing kid and it is so easy to make him laugh. We played with Handy Manny's plush tools for quite awhile. Just as I was wondering what to do next, LP1 made it known that she was awake. Loudly. In typical two-year old fashion. Which is to say that she melted down over everything until I could find something to distract her with.

It was at this point that I realized now was the time to do whatever we were doing. And I had nothing. NOTHING. Panic...panic...panic...OH WAIT! One of my aunties had given LP2 a toy barn and silo that made noise last Christmas. I had kept it secure on a shelf, waiting for a time when he was old enough to play with it. I decided that today was the day and for our New Thing today we were going to sit down on LP2's floor and just play together...and maybe learn a bit about animals.

LP1 immediately reverted to her usual sunshiney self once she saw a new toy appear. It wasn't long until she was helping me attempt to remove everything from the box.

           That one, shining moment when the new toy is perfect and all the parts            are in one spot.

It wasn't long before we had the barn and silo set up and were playing with the toys. The places where the animals are supposed to go make, the pig pen squeals like a pig and the sheep's spot baahs, etc. I would open a door or do whatever so we could hear the animal sound and then I asked LP1 to identify the sound and show her brother what animal made that noise. This worked out well until LP1 found the sheep. And then it was kind of game over for teaching things. She cuddled the sheep and sang to it and was all over it. It was actually very sweet to see. She also soon put me in my place.

I am often surprised at the things LP1 says. Sometimes they are bad words that she uses perfectly to express something (she must pick these up from Anyone But Me). Sometimes it is using the right tense to express herself. And sometimes, like today, it happens when she busts out a word I don't think two year olds often use. LP1 was playing with the sheep and I had the goat. I was making the goat make loud noises and chase the sheep. The goat was asking the sheep what its name was and generally being a nuisance. LP1 looked me straight in the eye and said "Mommy, the sheep is frightened of the goat" very seriously.

I was astounded. Frightened?! REALLY? Who even says that?! I was also very impressed. We ended up talking about why the sheep was frightened of the goat and then sheep and goat became good friends. Everything was going well...until Giant Penguin showed up and frightened everyone.

Oh, come on. Like you wouldn't have Giant Penguin come and crush the unsuspecting animals, sending Farmer Jed running? I FAIL to believe this.

LP2 also really liked the farm. I have no idea how much he understood but he was happy to crawl around, checking everything out and gumming on the animals. It was nice to just stop everything and play on the floor without worrying about making a mess or tidying things up.

After Giant Penguin had ravaged the farm we decided to go water Grandad and Nan's garden. By this time it was late in the afternoon and I felt that Daddy could benefit from a quiet house. The LP and I headed over and LP2 fell asleep in the car on the way over. LP1 and I had some time together to eat cookies, use the watering can together and play "try-to-dodge-the-water-as-we-move-the-sprinkler-to-a-different-section-of-garden". Alas, neither one of us are very good at this game and we both ended up wet. Fortunately, it was another sunny day and shockingly...clothes dry in the sun.

It was nice today to have two very specific moments in the day where I could spend some one-on-one time with each LP and then some time where we were able to play together. I tripped on sheep as I was coming upstairs to write this, so I know that we'll be playing farm again soon. Provided, of course, that Sheep isn't frightened of Mommy.

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