Do you know the old saying about giving a child a new toy & all they want to do is play with the box? This is mostly true. My daughter usually likes what is in the box too, but she has been amused by a box for days on more than one occasion.
Last week we got her a new toddler trike. She had fun helping Mommy & Nanna put it together & she even rode it a little after it we put it together.
And then she spotted the box…
She wanted to play with the box, so I cut open the front to make her a door so she could play in it.
Mai climbed in & said, “Look Mama, my rocket ship.”
And that is how it all started.
What you will need:
A large box
A couple of cereal boxes
3 empty wrapping paper tubes
Last week I posted about encouraging our toddler’s imaginations. My daughter has a vivid one. I am fascinated by her little brain. One of our favorite things to do together is paint. Painting not only allows her to express her artistic nature, but also brings out that great imagination of hers. She will paint a picture and tell me every inch of the story that she is weaving on her canvas. We love painting on different surfaces and experimenting with different methods of painting. Today it was wax paper.
Mai began crafting her picture and story almost immediately. “Mama look! Mai Mai paint a gorilla tree.” I am not quite sure I know what a gorilla tree is, but I am willing to bet that this is exactly what one looks like.
Here she painted some gorilla footprints. “Look! Look! The gorilla makes the footprints and he climbs up the tree.”
“Two little fishes in the ocean.” “The water is sooooo beautiful.” There is a mommy shark, a dada shark & a Nanna shark. Mama shark is going to work” That last part broke my heart a little. Mama shark does not like going to work and leaving baby shark.
Mommy opted to just smoosh her paints into the wax paper.
I folded the wax in half and pressed to spread the paint.
The paint and wax paper combo looks wonderful in the light.
Mother’s Day weekend kicked off on Friday night. My husband took me & my mother-in-law out for dinner. We have a fabulous young high school girl who occasionally baby sits for our daughter. After a lovely adult dinner, we came home to a happy toddler. Something was peculiar about our house when we got home. It was clean. The dirty dishes that I left in the sink were clean, the toys were put away and my daughter was content and reading books with the sitter on the couch. Holy crap! My 15 year old baby sitter is a better mother than I am. It was the best our house had looked in ages. My shame aside, it was nice to have a tidy house.
Saturday morning, mommy & Mai baked some muffins. Just as I was getting ready to spoon the muffin batter in the tins, my littlest baker poured salt on top of the whole mixture. Baking fail! Oh well, but look how much fun she is having.
This morning I was awoken to the beautiful sounds of my daughter’s singing. “Good morning, good morning. It’s time to say good morning.” Good morning, my sweet girl. I am anxiously awaiting my sister-in-law’s arrival. She will be coming to our home to make a mother’s day brunch for my mother-in-law and I. My mom-in-law or Nanna as she is affectionately referred to, has been a godsend. She has been there since day one, helping us with Mai. She does our child care, takes care of all of us when we are sick and is just an all around great Nanna and mother. We made a special Mother’s Day card for Nanna, with a beautiful little flower inside. We hope she likes it.
What you will need:
Your favorite picture
And here is the only Mother’s Day gift that I needed. LOVE HER!
Happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers out there and for my mama in heaven. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend with your families.
Albert Einstein once said “Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.” He was right. A healthy imagination is a great thing. It sparks creativity, aids in problem solving and ideas. Many of us lose our sense of imagination as we get older, but our children are still growing & honing theirs. As parents there are many things that we can do to help our young ones develop this.
Role Playing: This is something that toddlers naturally do on their own. They love to mimic the actions of the ones around them. The first hint of this I saw with my daughter was with her pretend talking into a remote control. She would have full conversations about her day on her fake cell phone. She has since graduated to tea parties, baking Play-Doh cakes & teaching her stuff animals.
Enjoy the Abstract: Do you remember being younger and laying on the ground and finding images in the clouds? It is amazing what your child can see. I did an experiment with my daughter a while back, where I made about a dozen inkblot pictures and asked her what she saw. The results were interesting.
Read, read, read: I don’t know about you, but when I am reading a book, I always play it out in my mind. How many times have you saw a movie that was adapted from a book & the characters were not how you pictured them. Books expand your creative mind. Be theatrical when reading to your child. Invite them to be too. How fun would it be to act out “Pete’s A Pizza” with your child?
Playing dress up: Whether you have a little boy who likes to dress in a cowboy hat and vest or a little girl who likes to don a tiara and magic wand, playing dress up is a great way for your children to feed their worlds of make believe. Costumes inspire new characters to be born and formed & it is fun for mommy and daddy to play along too.
Story telling: This is the most fun. Get your child to tell you a story. Many times my daughter will start with a one simple sentence. “I went down stairs to get a birthday cake for mama dinosaur. ” This can spark a fun story telling experience with your child. “Really, who came to the birthday party?” “What color was mama dinosaur’s cake?” My daughter has such an active imagination. She comes up with the most creative and colorful stories. I started writing them down. In fact, I took one of her stories and made it into a book. I am currently illustrating it.
Get artistic: Transferring the beautiful images in your mind on to a piece of paper is a wonderful way to open up your imagination. Mai’s drawings don’t quite look like anything yet to us, but she knows exactly what she is drawing. “Mama look! The mermaid is in the pond.” Yes it is!
Pretend: This can often go hand in hand with dress up or role playing. Our daughter likes to pretend that she is various animals. Her favorite is a kitten. She will often ask me to play along. I am usually mama kitten. Tonight, I had to be mama kangaroo & she was my Joey. We bounced around the living room with her pretending to be in my pouch.
What sort of activities do your children do to expand their imaginations? Please share any fun or interesting stories about your smart and imaginative children.
Since the terrible twos have hit, I have felt pretty good about my ability in diffusing tantrums and meltdowns. While I sometimes complain or joke about how awful it is, inside I felt as if I had a good handle on it. I even kind of found a few of her fits humorous, although I would never laugh. I thought to myself the two aren’t so terrible. She was such a challenging infant that this is a breeze. As usual in life as soon as you think something like this, there will be a moment to prove you wrong. Today, was a very bad day. It started off innocently enough. In the morning, we read books in bed, we painted pictures & did a little house cleaning.
I tried putting Mai down for an early nap, but she was not sleepy. I was taking her to story time at a local museum today. A children’s author and illustrator was going to read some of his favorite stories and then show the kids how he did some of his illustrations. I thought this was right up my daughter’s alley as she loved books and has always enjoyed watching me draw, plus I try to let her interact with other children as often as possible. When we arrived at the museum, we were greeted with Hawaiin leis, sunglasses and juice boxes for the kids. There were rows of stools for all the children to sit on while they listened to an amusing tale about a jelly fish and his fish friend Peanut butter. Mai interacted with the other children and happily listened to the story and clapped at the colorful illustrations.
After the stories, the author pulled out an easel and engaged the children, asking them to give him a sea creature and an emotion to draw. The older children shouted out answers “happy trout”, hungry salmon”,”burping shark”. Mai pushed through the crowd to get closer to the action.
As she got to the front where all of the kids were sitting Indian style, she kept going. “Mai Mai wants to draw”. Uh Oh! Mommy jumped up and ran to get her. “No honey, he is drawing. You can sit with the other kids and watch.” “Mai Mai wants to draw too.”. “Mai, come on and sit down with mommy.” But, she kept pushing forward. I scooped her up and brought her to the front of the pack, where we sat down. She fought to get up and go to the easel. “Mai we will have to go home if you don’t sit down.” I whispered. She arched her back & wriggled out my arms, screaming. It was definitely time to go. As I gathered up her backpack and our spring jackets, she continued her frustrated display. We walked out of the room leaving a trail of yells and cries echoing over the voice of the author. Stares & glares were directed our way as I struggled to hold my frantic daughter in my arms as she yelled the words “Don’t take me”. I quickly left the building before the desk attendant had the opportunity to dial 911 and report a child abduction.
The scene in the parking lot was not much better. She continued to scream “don’t take me “while kicking her feet & trying to thrust herself out of my arms. It is amazing how freakishly strong your child is when they want to get away. While trying to load her in the car, her tiny little hands grabbed the edge of the door and she spread her body out wide to make it nearly impossible for me to get her into the car. I tried to calm her down with some toys that were in the backseat. I tried to calm her with soft words and then a few loud ones. The screaming and resistance would not end. I could not get her in the car seat. I sat in the backseat with my daughter writhing on my lap and closed the door. I let the tantrum run it’s course as I took long deep breaths in order to keep my composure. After a short while that felt rather long, she flipped the switch. She picked up the toy I presented her earlier and said “Mama look.” It was finally over.
When something like this happens, it makes you question your parenting. What am I doing wrong? Why did this happen? How should I have handled this? When all eyes are on you, you can’t help but feel judged. You are even judging yourself.
We both went down for a nap when we got home. When she woke up both our batteries were recharged and my lovely girl was back again. The rest of the evening was filled with living room picnics, more books and sheet forts. The horrors of the afternoon almost seemed a distant memory. Besides, how can I stay mad at this face?