Thursday, May 11, 2006

It's just a box of rain, I don't know who put it there.

Hangin' around, nothing to do but frown.
Rainy Days and Mondays always get me down.


Days like this I just go stir crazy. Grey and drizzling outdoors means no park. It means a boggy mess of a backyard. It means muddy paw prints all over the floor. It means hours and hours of awake time that need to be filled for the monkey. As tempted as I am to sit the monkey in front of the shimmering lights of the plasma tv, I just can't. After about a half hour of approved television (baby Einstein or Sesame Street- take your pick, kid), I see the glazed curtain fall over his eyes and can almost picture his brain cells shriveling. The cringe inducing guilt forces me to mobilize whatever remnants of creativity still remain in me. He has his whole life to watch bad tv (right, Monkey sr?). But for now, while I can control him (bwah!), I'd rather he be doing things, experiencing things, running around and being a kid not a zombie.

So..this is what we've accomplished so far today..

Following breakfast, we had a mini arts and crafts session. Or a version of it anyway. Our version consisted of monkey and me sitting on the tiled floor of our kitchen with our chalkboard placemats and drawing. Err...scribbling...err...pushing the chalk onto the surface of the placemat in interesting patterns.



Monkeys' efforts fell more into the category of modern art. But thanks to the lovely people at Uncommon Goods, for a few minutes of creative play. Monkey's version of arts and crafts took an interesting turn when he decided it was more fun to topple the container of chalk over and watch them shatter into many pieces. Then, he carefully picked each piece up, inserted it back into the container, and proceeded to shake the box rapidly like a rattle. Excellent! Two toys in one!

After that, we had a quick session of "run around the living room while mommy huffs and puffs behind me!" This is a game always guaranteed to bring a smile to monkey's face, a sharp rise in my blood pressure, and a corrosponding certainty that I am about to go into labor any minute.



Monkey pauses for a minute to laugh at the lumbering photographer.

Ok..so what next. Snack break, obviously. As monkey sat on the counter next to me, contentedly sipping his milk and nibbling grahm crackers, I introduced him to one of my favorite rainy-day cds.



There is a road, no simple highway,
Between the dawn and the dark of night,
And if you go no one may follow,
That path is for your steps alone.


A few crackers later, a diaper and outfit change, a phone call, and a packing of the bag..and we were off to the local library for one-hour free play time! Hurray! I bundled the monkey up in his Gordon's Fisherman rain coat, pulled my hair back into the ever fashionable mommy-tail, and took off.

Apparently everyone else had the same idea, because the play room was packed. Nannies lined the perimeter of the room, most of them ignoring their charges, while toddlers of all shapes and sizes ran about amidst the toys. Monkey loves this crap. I try to follow him around as best I can, while maintaining some distance and allowing him to explore. I intervene only when I see physical violence looming in the form of an older child with no adult in sight.

I really hate being so judgemental, but I just want to sigh when I see how some of the nannies behave with their kids. They look so bored. They cluster together, chatting, ignoring what's going on in front of them. The kids play, which is great, except when something goes wrong...like one of them tumbling down, or getting smacked with a toy by another child, or wandering around lonely and aimlessly without anyone interacting with him. Yeah, I saw all these things this morning and more. I don't think kids need to have someone hovering over them every minute of the day. There's a lot to be learned from independent play. But I also think if the job is so boring you can't conceal your disdain for a few minutes, then it's time to do something else. I also don't think a crying child is something to laugh about with your friends.

In all fairness, I also saw an amazing nanny. She was actually on floor level playing with her little guy, showing him toys, explaining how some things worked, teaching him the concept of sharing when monkey came over to them to investigate what sparkly object they had. She explained how to take turns, praised her little guy when he let monkey take a turn, and actually seemed to take pleasure in the fact that he was doing something well. I wanted to hug her. I also wanted to kidnap her, take her home with me and store her for future use.



All good things must end. Monkey is safely bundled up in the car seat for the journey home ... and NAP. After which mommy will count the hours until lunch, then dinner, then bath..then bed time.

Sunshine..please come back!
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