After months of pulling my hair out trying to find something to keep Miss T’s attention for more than 5 seconds I was almost ready to hand over my iphone and drown myself in a puddle of defeat.
In desperation yesterday we went op-shopping and brought home a little bag of random, pre-loved toy cars and trucks.
Was this victory? It certainly looked closer than it had been as she busied herself in a serious conversation with a red fire truck all the way home.
Definitely a victory! She sits still AND plays. Well maybe only for 15-30min at a time, but hey, that’s hours on 5 seconds.
She pokes her chubby finger into the windows, spins the wheels, turns each one around and around and around. Then starts all over again.
Such a brilliant, cheap and unexpected discovery.
I have started baby wearing.
In my research the information and articles I found were often accompanied with images of indigenous men and women carrying their babies. It was as though being associated with these people makes our decision more real, more natural and more in tune with our children. A choice that is better than all other options because it’s what they chose.
They want us to see a mother so connected with the natural order of things that she instinctively carries her baby with no other thought. They want us to see a deep and abiding maternal bond that can only achieved by constant closeness of a mother with her child. They want us to see love, contentment and ease.
What I see is hard work. What I see is babies carrying babies. I see long heavy days and tired bodies. What I don’t see is choice.
I love carrying Miss T for lots of reasons, but if I didn’t have a choice I wonder how appealing it would be. And if it would feel as ‘glamorous’ and natural as the images make it out to be.
Activity: Rubber gloves filled with oats, marshmallows and coloured rice
Expected: Intrigue and confusion.
Unexpected: The peels of laughter when the gloves were wiggled in front of her or slapped on the floor.
Outcome: Miss T was happy to laugh and respond to the gloves provided they didn’t get too close. After some encouragement on my part and close inspection on her part they slowly became more interesting.
They remained interesting for all of about half an hour and they aren’t something she goes back to play with. Not a huge success but something quick and easy to put together and definitely something to try again.
Activity: Small round basket filled with a selection of ‘balls’
- blue textured dryer ball
- ball of string
- pink tennis ball
- plastic teething ball
- string of felt balls
Expected: Kids love balls right? They roll, they bounce, they unravel. Enough to entertain for hours. Oh the ignorance!
Unexpected: How annoyed MT would get when the balls rolled away from her. I forgot to remember that she wasn’t on the move when we did this activity!!
Outcome: MT quickly got bored with the balls because she was unable to chase after them. She settled for the felt balls on the string which she could wave about, suck on and jingle on the floor. Not as successful as I hoped and probably one to try again now she is crawling.
Activity: Box filled with an assortment of red and white items from around the house.
- Plastic disposable plate
- Monkey toy
- Small colander
- Clag glue pot
- Cloth nappy
Success: 10/10 and NO tears. She played with this for over an hour, and although she favoured one item she did go back to the rest a number of times.
Expected: I thought MT would gravitate to one item and play with that. She did. The ribbon.
Unexpected: Since a lot of the items are ones MT has seen before in various capacities I didn’t think they would hold her interest for long.
Outcome: A really great idea that I have seen many mums do with their kids. MT was very interested in exploring the box and examining each item. She was happy to play with this on and off for the entire week. WIN!
So I don’t know about you, but I feel that with the introduction of Pinterest, suddenly parenting becomes much more deliberate.
Montessori at home, sensory activities, messy play, home schooling, nature scapes, discovery baskets, exploration, imagination, focus, self expression, investigation, fine motor skills, co ordination, organisation, play, learning, growth, TEACH!!!!!
Overwhelming? Definitely. Overambitious? Maybe. Overrated? No.
While it can be overwhelming most of these ideas can be easily simplified and tweaked to suit your own situation. Essentially it’s what parents have been doing for years. Exposing their children to a variety of objects/substances to either
a) keep them occupied or
b) further their understanding and appreciation of the environment around them.
If you want to know more about the benefits of Sensory Play there are a couple of great articles below.
Messy Play: The Benefits of Sensory Play | Citibabes | An Online Magazine for Modern Parenting,
A Handful of Fun: Why Sensory Play is Important for Preschoolers | Not Just CuteNot Just Cute.
These blogs are well worth following as a start.