Monday, October 24, 2011

TV-Free Toddler - Ice Cube Dump

Okay, I own it.  I have gotten lazy.  We've watched a LOT of TV in the last few months.  Somewhere along the line of slogging through the last three months of a super-uncomfortable pregnancy and then slogging through the last month of postpartum haziness, I forgot that a 2 year old shouldn't really watch as much TV as Lucy has been watching.  I comfort myself with the flimsy tale that at least she hasn't watching actual TV with endless commercials driving my pure, innocent daughter into a foaming at the mouth consumer zombie.  She watches the good TANGLED and UP.  And WALL-E and ELMO and DORA the EXPLORER and WALLACE AND GROMIT and CARS and THE LION KING get the picture.

On a seemingly random - but I promise you related note - it is election season.  This means busy season at the Capitol Steps.  This means my husband is traveling a lot.  This means I am alone with a ravenous newborn and a 2 year old a lot more than normal.  And that all adds up to me being tempted to pop in another DVD and sit in front of the telly yet again while I nurse one or both of my children.


So my challenge is to find an activity every day (uh...or at least every other day, I'm not Super Woman...and I DO still have a newborn) that fills the following requirements:

1) Does not involve the television
2) Fill from 15-45 minutes
3) Can be at least partly self-directed by a 2 year-old
4) Isn't always an art project
5) Involves an exploratory or sensory learning experience.

I realize that this is a way of life from some moms.  I envy the Super Moms who can somehow manage to always have a developmentally appropriate activity planned for their little ones, can keep a schedule, clean the house and cook a fully organic dinner from scratch with one hand tied behind their back while the other hand is writing their disertation.  This is not me.  I am a Slacker Mom.  I embrace this.  I don't read child development books.  I let Lucy play on her own for long stretches (though I think this is actually a good strategy -  she is excellent at entertaining herself and has a great imagination).  Because we work in the evenings and rarely have time at that time of day to sit down and eat dinner together, she eats random meals that one of us throws together while the other is on the way out the door for a show (um...let's see...peaches, spinach, veggie burger and uh...yogurt.  Done!).  I can't manage to keep the bathrooms clean and I don't go to parenting seminars.  Though I really think I could use a few.  I wing it.  I think we're doing okay, but the TV habit has got to go.

Today's activity was actually a chore I needed to get done.  We bought a new refrigerator when we moved into this house, a little over 2 years ago.  About 6 months ago, I noticed the water from the fridge filter tasted...funny...Not like hard water, or a chlorine taste.  It tasted like mildew smells.  YUCK.  I pull out the manual and see that the filter needs to be changed every six months.  So we needed a new filter...a year ago.  This, of course, immediately fell to the bottom of my list of things to do, since we also have a Brita filter on the faucet.  A week or so ago, Kevin noticed that the ice was tasting funny, too.  I am shocked that it took him this long to notice, frankly, since it is made with the same water that was going through the filter.

ANYWAY, we finally got a new filter. So I had to run water through it for 3 minutes or 1.5 gallons-worth. Then I had to get rid of all the ice in the ice maker. 

So I handed to Lucy a big pastic bowl and emptied the ice box into it.  Each time I scooped another cup of ice into the bowl she said "LOUD!  Loud, Mama!" with a sort of shocked glee. 

We went outside to "water" the plants with the ice.  She picked a planter and dumped three full bowls of ice cubes into it. 

Lucy loves to water the plants.  This morning, she picked up a stick and was sort of waving it around over each of the plants as we walked up to the house.  I asked her what she was doing and she said "I watering the plants, Mama!"  See - great imagination!

After the second trip outside (with bare feet), she pulled out her special equipment - the froggy boots!  These are about a size too big, so she had a little trouble walking in them.

On the fourth trip out, I asked her to pick a different plant to freeze with mildew-y ice cubes.
After we finished, she took a souvenier.  I asked her to throw it away since it tasted yucky, but she said "Want to lick the yucky ice."  Okay, kid, whatever.  When we got inside, I noticed it was gone and saw that she had put it on the window sill.  I guess even Lucy knows yucky water when she tastes it.

So maybe today's activity was a cop out.  But kids love to help and I needed to get this job done.  And, it filled those 20 minutes after lunch and before nap that I am always tempted to fill with an episode of ELMO'S WORLD.

Of course, now she is up from her nap an hour and a half early.  And I am already wondering which episode of Dora I can stand to watch again.

1 comment:

  1. Great post Jenny! So happy to hear you are "winging it" like me. I feel better so thank you for that. I wish I had a suggestion but I struggle with this too. At Lucy's age my mom would give Georgie a big basket of old empty spools and Georgie would sit and sort them for hours it seemed. I have a harder time than my mom at coming up with things. I think it is because we are the tv generation so it is easier for us to be lazy when it comes to entertaining our children. Now at 4 1/2 I am less concerned because though the tv is often on she is not watching it. For the last half hour she has been "writing a play" on a little notepad and is not paying attention to "Olivia" yet I know the second I turn it off she would notice. (I am testing this right now by gradually lowering the volume!) So good luck on your quest and please share your findings.