Hubby got from work one afternoon, only to find that his pregnant wife (me) was ill and grumpy and in desperate need of a lay down. So I instructed him to keep the children quiet, and I was off to bed for a nap.
An hour later I awake to uncontrollable giggling from the lounge room. Impressed at his ability to entertain the children so well at what is known in our house as the witching hour (that period after 5 when the children go feral), I went to explore.
I rounded the door to the lounge room to watch Little Mr (1 ½ yrs) do a barrel roll over the back of the lounge chair only to land on a strategically placed mattress placed on the floor under the chair. I was horrified, but Little Mr was laughing so hard I thought he was going to have trouble breathing. I gave hubby the scowl and told him that he was on hospital duty should one of our children break their arms.
Hubby explained that doing something labour intensive with the kids at this time of the day was completely impractical (bless him and his streamlining socks) because there was far too much to do. So, he had taught them how to entertain themselves in a way that would have them occupied for hours.
I was looking at the set up (a dining chair pushed up the back of the lounge chair and the mattress on the floor) as a certain death trap for my adventurous children. He maintained his position that it was perfectly safe and we reached a compromise that if he sat there with them while they tumbled, to make sure they didn’t crunch their neck or roll to their death, then I was happy for them to do it.
The point of this story is to say that, my kids thought the short obstacle course that hubby had presented them with, was the best fun they had had all week. It was the easiest thing to put together, and while I wouldn’t advocate letting my kids tumble over it on their own, with some supervision it seemed pretty harmless.
The next day we set up the chair again (much to my children’s delight) and added a tunnel (a coffee table with a sheet over it) and a pond (a big blue blanket) at the end. Like before, all supervised and relatively controlled, but the kids played for a long time and were tuckered out by the end of it.
I know this seems so simplistic, but to be honest if hubster had not set up the chair in the first place, I would never have thought of it.
It was cheaper than the local indoor play centre and took about three minutes to pack up at the end. Sometimes the (seemingly) death defying fun that dad sets up, isn’t quite so threatening at second glance.
After 2 babies, 14 months apart, I was straight back to work to try and juggle family and home life as best I could. I was quickly in over my head and found that Life was messier than I had imagined. My world of deadlines and manicured suits was getting harder to maintain. So after hubby started his own business, we made the mutual decision that I would stay home to look after the children till they were back in school. Now I am at home, setting my own deadlines and trying to entertain my bouncy toddlers as best I can. This is all new for me, and I know that there are other mums out there who are feeling their way through this toddler time as well. I wouldn’t swap this time for anything, but I am also finding out that it is sometimes hard to stay motivated during this period of life.
That’s why I am writing down the activities the kids and I enjoy and when I look back over them, I am encouraged that my children’s creativity is being nurtured as best I know how. And I remember that the time I am spending with them, is so important and valuable as they grow into the little people I love and adore.