Monday, October 24, 2011

New Thing #56: In which I get tired of telling them not to put everything in their mouths and give the LP paint they CAN eat...

If I ever had to make a top ten list of my favourite movies, I think "Office Space" would probably find room somewhere on that list. As someone who has worked in an office environment, this movie resonates with me. It probably does for many people. I thought about that movie today and the classic line "somebody has a case of the Mondays", because it seems the LP were having their own Case of the Mondays today. I have held several different jobs so far in my life but none of them have been as rewarding, challenging, demanding, fulfilling, wonderful, frustrating, interesting, fun and all-consuming as the position of Mommy. It is a job where you are both manager and front-line worker. The pay is in kisses, hugs and that look of total love your Little Person gets when you walk into their room after they've first woken up. Yes, you get barfed and peed upon but you also get early-morning snuggles when someone creeps into your bed just before sunrise and little hands are placed on your cheek tenderly. So while I'm not back in the office environment just yet, it seems a Case of the Mondays can happen anywhere. And while I can just ignore the co-worker with it, when it comes to the LP, I actually have to find a way to solve it.

We had an excellent weekend. On Saturday, we took the LP to Pumpkinfest at the Royal Botanical Gardens. LP1 was delighted to discover that there were FOUR bouncy castles to test out. She convinced Daddy to go with her on the whirling strawberry ride and sat by herself (!) on a ride where Alice-in-Wonderland style caterpillars went 'round a mushroom. LP2 played in the hay, roared with laughter as Daddy kicked acorns and tossed him into the air. On Sunday, Daddy did an acoustic set at a local cafe we have started going to. Grandad, Nan, Grandpa, Grammy, my Auntie Y and Uncle D, Auntie K, Uncle L and my friend M joined us for brunch and music. The LP were very well-behaved and had a wonderful morning. In between all that, we tried to keep things low-key at home because the cold was still pouring out of LP2. As I predicted, LP1 has now come down with it, only she sounds like a hoarse blues singer and has a more productive cough.

Today started out very differently. For the first time ever for us, both kids slept in. Normally they are up between 6 and 6:45 am. Every. Single. Day. LP2 didn't stir until 7:30. I was watching him on the baby monitor and let him play until he started to make it known that he was ready to get up. LP1 didn't get up until nearly 8 am. This was my first clue that they were a little off today. I decided we all needed to snuggle in our bed together and watch morning children's TV. For a little while, they were content to do this. Eventually they got bored and then they got melty-downy. We made it through breakfast before I realized that we were out of several important items. Uh-oh. This would mean a trip out into The Outside World.

Getting out of the house with small children is a process. No longer is it about throwing on jeans, a sweatshirt and slicking your hair into a ponytail. Oh no. It requires fighting to wash faces and hands lest people think you have Dirty Children, wrangling the children so they will go into their rooms, keeping them away from the toys, books and stuffed animals calling their attention, arguing over what one will wear and just trying to get clothes on the other squirmy kid, hunting down elusive shoes and putting on appropriate outerwear before performing the complicated feat known as Getting Into the Carseat. I can get us dressed, ready to go and at the front door in about 25 minutes. I consider this impressive. I'm sure there are other parents out there that can do it in less time but I'm sure I don't care. It's not a competition. We're all in this together.

We successfully made it out into the real world and got what we needed. We came home and there were meltdowns. It wasn't pretty. I got LP2 down for a nap and fed LP1 before getting her down. Naturally, just as I was thinking about doing something luxurious like having a shower, LP2 woke up. He wasn't feeling well and didn't want to eat or have a bottle or be held or be put down or play with toys or be read to. Eventually he settled for an arrowroot cookie in one hand and a snuggle with me. I don't normally watch TV during the day but we were laying in bed together, watching "Days of Our Lives", a terrible soap opera I haven't watched since my university days. LP2 was interested for awhile and then wanted to play peek-a-boo with the pillows. I obliged him, as I was tired of rolling my eyes constantly at the TV. LP1 woke up in a roaringly unhappy state not long after. She also could not figure out what she wanted.

Earlier in the day I had been thinking about what we would do today. LP1 loves to paint. We are running low on paint. During my regular weekly chats with Santa, I told him about this special Dora the Explorer paint I think LP1 would like and I know he put it on the sled for her but since that sled won't be flying over our house until Christmas, I obviously couldn't use that. I also wanted to give LP2 a chance to participate. I googled "how to make your own fingerpaint" because I remember Grammy making it for us when we were little and discovered that it is a very easy recipe...if you have both cornstarch and food colouring. Given that I am not Martha Stewart, I had neither. I came across a brilliant blog entry where the mother added food colouring to vanilla pudding. Hmmm....I did have chocolate pudding on hand. Still no food colouring.

And thus, today's New Thing was born.

The LP were obviously feeling like hell. As I'm sure I will be soon, when they inevitably pass it along to me. Usually when they are sick we either bring them into the bathroom, turn on the hot water and let the steam fill up the room to help their congestion or we bring them into the shower with us. I had already decided to throw them in the shower later this afternoon. I had chocolate pudding. They needed something to do that was both fun and highly unorthodox to keep them entertained. It was all too easy.

Just one average, run-of-the-mill pudding cup...

...dumped into a large bowl. Easiest craft set-up EVER.

I gave each of the LP a paintbrush and some pudding. LP1 immediately understood what she was doing but LP2 needed a bit of help at first. I put the paintbrush in his hand and helped him get pudding all over the page. It wasn't long before he was dragging the paintbrush through the pudding on his own...and it wasn't long after that before he was mashing his hands all over the page...and soon after that, he was sampling the "paint". Both kids painted on the paper for a little while but soon turned their attention to painting on themselves. Fortunately I had anticipated this and removed their shirts. I let them get chocolate pudding all over their faces, hands and bodies. They were eventually going in the shower anyway and the rest of it could be cleaned up. Hearing them laugh and watching them play was entirely worth the mess they made.

This was one time when I didn't mind that LP1 just wanted to get her hands dirty.

The LP produced beautiful works of art. By the time they were finished, they had also produced a better frame of mind. Maybe the tylenol had kicked in or maybe the change of pace was just what they needed. All I know is that I had two little chocolate-covered urchins who were more than happy to be hosed off in a warm, steamy shower. Case of the Mondays...solved. For today, anyway.

LP2's masterpiece...a nice blending of paintstrokes and little fingers all over the page.

LP1's work of we can see liberal use of the "drag my fingers through pudding" technique.

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