Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New Thing #57: The Mexican bird food disaster is redeemed by some indoor camping

Necessity may be the mother of invention but sometimes it creates weird children. I think I should either stop reading other blogs or start following instructions more carefully. When I catch myself thinking "oh, I can make this work with a few substitutions", I should just stop myself and say "no, actually, you CAN'T."

Allow me to explain.

On the same blog where I got yesterday's idea for painting with pudding, I also noticed that this Mother of the Year had made a bird feeder with her child. They took an ice cream cone, rolled it in peanut butter and covered it with birdseed before proudly hanging it from a tree in their yard. "Hmmm," I thought to myself. "I bet our two little bird watchers would love to do something like this."

There was just one problem. We didn't have any ice cream cones. Okay, fine, two problems. We also didn't have any birdseed. I was so convinced that this would be such a great project for the LP that I didn't want to let these details deter me. A quick scan through the cupboards and I somehow ended up convincing myself that covering a hard shell taco with generic-brand Cheerios would equate to the same thing. The box claimed the cereal was made from whole grains. Birds like grains. The taco shells had cornmeal in them. Surely birds enjoy cornmeal. Maybe this would be a genius plan.

Except that it wasn't. The LP are still a little young to fully get into this project. Maybe if I did it properly and let them roll an ice cream cone in peanut butter, it would have gone better. But LP2 hasn't had peanuts yet and I didn't want today to be the day I learned if he was allergic to them. So I sat beside them and explained what I was doing as I smeared peanut butter on the taco shell. I gave them each some cheerio-like cereal to help stick on the side. LP1 was more interested in sticking her finger on the side of the taco, getting some peanut butter on and licking it off. LP2 was more interested in eating the cereal. Eventually we did get the taco covered.

I know this photo is hard to see but hopefully you get the concept. I thought maybe I was onto the Next Big Thing for bird feeding.

Once the taco was complete, it was time to take it outside. Except that it was cold and blustery out and the LP still have horrible colds. I tried to get them to stand at the window to watch me as I did it but they didn't care so much. I was on my own for the Hanging of the Mexican Bird Food.

I stuck the taco in a tree and returned inside, certain that soon we would have some hungry customers. Nope. Not even the squirrels would touch it. It sits in the tree still, untouched and now soggy. I'm going to leave it in there and see how long it takes for Daddy to realize there is a taco covered in peanut butter and cereal in our tree. THAT will make for an interesting conversation.

So...let's just call that an epic fail. Maybe next time I'll actually follow the directions and get better results. It was time to think of something else.

LP1 has taken to crawling under tables lately and exclaiming over how fun it is. She usually wants me to join her but tends to pick moments where I am doing something that requires my full attention, like finely chopping vegetables so nobody chokes on them during dinner or trying to get that awful voice-automated service a certain phone company has to understand what I am saying so I can be connected to someone to explain my cell phone bill. Maybe today was the perfect day to start playing under tables.

I pulled the chairs out from our dining room table and fetched a very large, soft Manchester United blanket Daddy had received on his last birthday. Even though we rarely-to-never sit and watch soccer  games, it is mandatory to support Man U in his family. I think it was in my wedding vows that I would, from that day forth, rather be a Red. As I know as much about soccer (football?) as I do about underwater welding, this was fine by me. This way if someone ever asks me who I support, I have a team and don't look like a (total) idiot. And I am assured that I remain in Nan and Grandad's good books.  Well, as much as I can. But to get back to it, I got the giant blanket, folded it in half and spread it out under the table. I threw books, blocks and pillows from the couch on top of it and then I went in search of the LP. They were happily destroying LP2's room. I've seen coverage of disaster areas that looked better. I asked them if they wanted to go camping upstairs. LP1 immediately understood what this meant. LP2 put his arms out to be picked up, figuring that if he sister was excited about something, he should get to come along, too.

I am happy to say that indoor camping was a much better idea. We chilled out underneath the dining room table for most of the morning, reading books, playing with blocks and laying on pillows. The LP eventually would leave to play with other toys but would return again. I think LP2 really enjoyed it. Long after LP1 had gone on to other things, he would crawl under the table and look at me with a big grin on his face, waving his arms as if to say "come on, Mom! Get under here! This is awesome!" And I needed no other invitation. It was a good way to keep the LP entertained as we stayed inside for yet another day. I wrote a little message under the table. It was in pencil, so don't have a fit. But even if it was in Sharpie marker, who cares? When was the last time you wrote a message under a piece of furniture? Go do it sometime and maybe years from now, you or someone else will read it and you'll smile at the memory.

When the LP finally went down for naps and I was doing my customary put-the-house-back-in-order tidy, I put everything away. As soon as she got up, LP1 headed right for the table. "My camping is RUINED!" she wailed. I explained that it was just done for now and that we would do it again. And we will...because you know what? Hanging out under a dining room table with two little people is fun.

Check out our sweet campsite. Sure, there's no water and a campfire ban but we've got books and pillows and each other. What more do we need?


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  2. This may be the funniest one yet! I love the mexican bird feeder idea, even if the customers themselves have turned their beaks up at it. Gotta love persistence!!