Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Soliciting Advice

How many times as a pregnant woman did I scoff at someone wanting to offer unsolicited advice?  Plenty.  But the advice for a soon-to-be-parent is what I call common sense.  Had I known then what I know now, I would have kindly requested they tailor their advice for a would be toddler or kindergartener.  As many of you can wholeheartedly appreciate, spending hours on end with these precious darlings can be, well, draining, both physically and mentally.  Some days seem to last an eternity when you're confined to 4 walls, 2 boisterous boys, and no planned activities.
Enter last weekend.  After being woken by a crying, then screaming 2-year old at 5:45 (a.m.), the day did not start on the right foot.  By 9 a.m. I was pleading for mercy and had Wes trying to get me to leave the house and do something for me.  The next day was not much better and I was screaming for mercy by lunchtime.  
Now the kids weren't particularly bad, nor were they angels by any stretch of the imagination, but they were clingy and needy.  Before lunchtime on Saturday, we had exhausted all of our usual indoor activities, and all Colin wanted to do was watch tv or play Lego Batman (the only game he owns and even that was against my will).  I felt like a bad parent because I couldn't think of some clever activity to do.  I didn't want to play with them, but I did want them to play (nicely) alone.  For whatever reason, that rarely happens.  I'm not sure if we've failed them as parents, but they don't just play!  Wes and I both recall from our youth that we played every waking minute of the day.  I used imaginative play and played restaurant, school, etc, while Wes played mainly outdoors with his cousins and brother.  How did we "learn" to do that?  I have no idea and that's what I'm struggling with now.  How can I teach my children to play - with each other, alone, anything?!  
So here are my questions for the better-than-me parents out there:  
1)  Do your kids play by themselves or with siblings for periods longer than 5 minutes?  And do you have to play with them or are you able to get things done around the house?
2)  What are some ideas for indoor activities that I can utilize during those witching hours on the weekend?  We've fully exhausted coloring, although thankfully he (Colin) still enjoys it...if I do it with him!  Argh!
3)  Any ideas on how to encourage imaginative play?  
Any advice or suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated.  Don't worry about offending or insulting me.  Any day that you feel like you need a stiff drink at 10 a.m. is not a banner day and does not need to be repeated.  Thank you in advance!


  1. I wish I had advice to offer! I was telling Mike just the other day that before we know it Anna will be off playing by herself and won't need or want us around ... maybe I was wrong. I'm like you, though, I hardly remember watching TV and we didn't have any video games growing up, so imagination was key ... I played "kitchen", "teacher", "Babysitter / Mom" ... the list could go on and on. Good luck and I'm always up for a virtual drink, non-acoholic for the next 5 months ; )

    1. Thanks, Jen! I'm always up for a virtual drink too. Soon enough we'll be able to commiserate on parenting toddlers/preschoolers! It's always something (:

  2. Definitely NOT a better parent then you, but yes, my kids will play alone and together (sometimes). They fight lots too. My girls play barbies, dolls etc. Silas gets lonely because they won't let him play with them most of the time. He loves lego's, cars and tinker toys. Together they play school (M bossing them around) and they play outside together.
    I think Sawyer is a little young yet - don't give up!

    I am not a creative, crafty mom so I don't have any fun ideas for you... :)

    1. Thanks, Cara! I think you're a tremendous mother, so I certainly value any advice from you. Colin actually likes to be bossed around (probably because he's used to it from me). Maybe he should have been a second child (: