January 13, 2013

My Daughters, Unoccupied

When I was playing the role of stay-at-home-dad during the summer, I had a semblance of a schedule.  It went as follows:

Feed the girls breakfast (quickly)
Get the girls dressed (quickly)
Throw them in the stroller (quickly)
Go for a walk through town
Get the girls a doughnut to share
Walk home
Watch Caillou (or something equally inane)
Play in the house
Play in the yard
Make dinner
Cry deeply about not getting to clean the house
Go the park

It was shocking to me how slowly the days go when you don't have a plan.  We certainly had days when we didn't go for walks or go to the park.  These were the days when the devil himself complained how hot it was.

They were also the days when it was raining, or looked like it might.

These days were not good.  I'm not really one for arts and crafts with small children.  I'm hoping that this coming summer, it will be different.  Perhaps by then, H won't feel like using sharpie to give herself eye shadow and B won't get such exquisite joy out of smashing pencils and markers point first into the table.

I hope by then that both girls will have forgotten the joyous taste of crayons.

H is already past this stage.  She has been doing very well with coloring and enjoys sitting at the table doing it.  For the most part, she only colors on paper and does so gently.

B finds greater pleasure is swiping her hand through a pile of crayons or markers or pencils and scattering them to the wind, creating chaos for the sake of chaos.  When people tell me that she's a gift from god, I know to which god they refer.

"Gaze upon this child and weep into the void!"
Over the holiday break, I once again took up the mantle of stay-at-home-dad.  I learned very quickly that the challenges of entertaining children during the winter vary greatly from, and in fact hardly resemble, the challenges of entertaining them during the summer.

I remember from my own childhood the hardships and annoyances of dressing in cold weather clothing.  Out of desperate fear of being icing over, we dress the children in a minimum of 14 layers, ensuring a maximum amount of sweat and a minimum amount of movement.  It takes 10 minutes to get them dressed and another 10 to get them undressed.  Total time spent outside before the calls of "I'm cold!"? 3 minutes.

I think my next goal in the house is to make a play room where there is nothing I care about.  A room where the girls can run rampant without my checking on them every three minutes, not out of concern for their safety, but out of concern for my material possessions.

This past week, in lieu of going outside, we had several discussions about what to do with monsters.  B also learned a new skill...

I suppose it's true that adversity fosters ingenuity



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