I've been reading about the terrific necessity of free play, and I think we do pretty well with that in our house. It's called "ignoring the kids." Then they create war zones with their Nerf guns or snake train tracks around rolls or wrapping paper or make up carnival games where they throw stuffed animals at landmarks around the house for points (10 points for the windchime!)
I just caught them slapping their bellies in the bath in some sort of 2 man drum circle. I really couldn't orchestrate them better if I tried.
I hate how Christmas kind of blows it's load in one day and then we sit around aimlessly waiting for New Year's Eve. There should be more second and third day traditons. Like today should be "share a pastry with some neighbors around brunch time" day and tomorrow should be "evening cocktails with friends day." And then we could have white elephant exchange day. I would put up the snap on camisole dickies that I got in my stocking. Do you think my MIL was giving me a hint?
Aldo woke up and found the presents that we wrapped and added to under the tree. Not the Santa presents, of course, but the ones from mom and dad. He quickly did the accounting and figured that there were 4 MORE presents.
The excitement is real around here. The boys discuss Santa's itinerary even though I haven't introduced NORAD's Santa Tracker. We've still discussing the implications of the Portable North Pole's message to the boys. Owen knows he is on the naughty watch (because of some bad choices in school and is aware of the possibility he'll get nothing but a clump of dirt (lump of coal.) It's heavy stuff.
I haven't figured out a way to stem the avalanche of toys that hits us tomorrow, but some might disappear before the new year to make an appearance sometime next summer. I am glad that the boys really got into playing Uno and Jenga and that they feel like they've missed something if I've given out homeless sockings without them.
Aldo couldn't reach the oatmeal crock in the fridge so he was a little grumpy when he greeted me with "Oatmeal please, pretty mommy sweetheart." Owen came in and just flopped on the bed with his feet up near my pillow.
I heated up the oatmeal, made to specifications--with raisins, dates, walnuts, cinnamon, and a splash of milk. I take the walnuts as a small victory because Aldo refused walnuts for months. Every morning, I'd make his oatmeal and then add walnuts to the leftovers for me. But then, out of the blue, he announced that he's ready to try walnuts and that, in fact, he likes them. I'm waiting for that to happen with mushrooms.
Anyhow, Owen requested fried egg and English muffin. Aldo finished his oatmeal and asked for his usual, "and what Owen has." And Pandora played Disco for us.
The stale helium balloons we've had for three days are still playable and they've been trying to figure out how to play catch with them. I taped one up to the livingroom doorway and they've been swatting it with swim noodle light sabers as a makeshift pinata.
And now I 'm typing this while sipping coffee mixed with sweetened condensed milk. Did you know they sell it in a reclosable squeeze bottle? I found it in the Mexican food section, but it reminds me most of the coffees I had in Vietnam. Sure, they had those individual dark coffee filters dripping directly into your cup and I'm using Starbucks instant, but close enough.
I like these non-school day mornings. I can't quite handle that we're giving them up for kindergarten.
Aldo and I had a date last week and I rented a game to rival Owen's Laser Tag date with Greg and the Adventure Guides. Although it's hard to beat Laser Tag, I combined Mario with a trip to TGI Fridays where they have BLUE DRINKS!!! that TASTE LIKE SODA!!! and the waitress bring you 3 extra maraschino cherries!!! Not to mention the brownie sundae.
I am at the moment watching the kids play Mario Kart on the Wii while I write this. Parent supervision doesn't get much easier than this.
Since this is screen time, I'm probably just allowing another layer of ADHD to settle on top of their bouncy boy brain cells, but at least they're playing nicely together and uh, learning to drive? If the freeways of the future have giant menacing mushrooms and crabs that take out cars, my boys have a head start.
I try to keep up my continuing education for this mom job and what I keep learning is that everything that makes life a little easier combines to make my kids prone to obesity, ADHD, and cancer in the future.
Childcare makes kids more aggressive and impulsive later in life. Oh well. I have to console myself with the fact that I think our Montessori program is pretty good about taking care of the kids and teaching them how to get along. When asked, Aldo recently told me that his teachers weren't nice because when you hit someone they get angry at you. That's a sign of quality right there.
And television viewing--it enables me to take a shower or get the dinner cooked and dishes washed, but at what cost? Childhood obesity, an inability to pay attention to things and rampant materialism. My kids don't watch that much television, but probably just enough to put them in the danger category. Are we really expected to pay full attention to them every minute that they're home? Who does that?
Family dinners are supposed to help heal the damage done by the rest of the day, but now making dinner is getting harder because... Basically all canned foods contain BPA which mimic estrogens contributing to breast and endometrial cancer and early puberty in girls and low sperm and prostate cancer in boys. I just restocked the pantry with cut green beans (which the boys LOVE,) and kidney beans which I'm going to use today in chili with the canned tomatoes. I don't know how to replace these. Good thing red wine is still supposed to be good for me.
And then lunch! Just this week, there's the news that eating red meat doesn't cause heart disease but serving deli meats and processed meats does. We love turkey bacon and turkey sandwiches. I've always felt a little relieved that we don't do the red meats, but now I don't know what to put in lunch boxes if I can't stock turkey slices. Sure, sometimes I make quesadillas or put in dumplings, but there are a lot of school days and only so much on the leftover menu.
Even being online while talking to your children teaches them that it's okay to text while having conversations and not pay full attention to people around us. And I'm doing that right now.