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2009/06/03 / AoM

Tide Begins With T.


The last couple days have been a frenzy.  Playing in the sandbox and the water table outside and swimming at the neighborhood pool?  Fun.  Doing laundry, laundry, and more laundry?  Not so much.  I forgot how the washloads multiply with the warm weather.  Everyone gets so much dirtier, sandier, wetter and sweatier.  I just get caught up, and I turn around to see that piles of dirty clothes have taken over again. [Thanks to early dementia, or accidentally deleting my web history, I cannot say who this belongs to, but the photo up there certainly says it all.]

Like that damn laundry basket, my internet favorites folder is overflowing.  The web is both a blessing and a curse.  You can find information on any subject that interests you at any time of the day or night.  Blessing.  You cannot stop yourself from gathering 64,000 different ideas to try with the kids – 40,000 of which use popsicle sticks.  Curse.   You can read news articles online about people like Kate Gosselin and Nadya Suleman and realize you are in fact a great mother after all.  Blessing.  You can read articles online from mothers who grow all their own food, sew all their family’s clothing, write successful books in their spare time, and have children who do the same, and realize – as you hear yourself yelling at your kids to “STOP MAKING ALL THAT NOISE!!” – that you do, in fact, suck.  Curse.

I try to weed out all the crap from my favorites list – like the projects that involve hot glue guns [hot + glue = disaster.  And I’m talking about me, not the kids].  I do sometimes find a thing or two that might go over with the young tornadoes.  I’ve said it before, the day stretches loooong in front of you when you have no idea how to amuse your offspring.

Today we tried an idea from the Artful Parent blog.  I always like the idea of a “project” that doesn’t require any prior experience or an ounce of talent [again, I’m talking about me].  We’ve done mail messes with old catalogs, TPd our own house, dug in mud and sand…  any idea that in essence is a parent-approved mess is just peachy with my babes.  I’d never thought of shaving cream before. 

For some reason we have had about a hundred cans of cheapie shaving cream in our linen closet for years.  It’s about time it saw the light of day.  Once The Boy got over whatever “ewww it feels gross and squishy” thing he was doing


he seemed to be ok.  Funny, him freaking out about getting it on his hands.  This is the child who has eaten dirt, wall paint, and rocks in the past.  And has handed me turds.  Huh.

Squirted in a little tempera paint for good measure, and we had a good hour in the backyard.


Artful Jean actually had her child do this on poster board – a piece of art for future posterity, I suppose.  I don’t have any poster board, and besides, I’m lazy, and why not just make a mess for the hell of it?  I’ve got photos at least.

If you’re asking “won’t all that shaving cream destroy your lawn?”  I have no idea.  Nor do I care.  Our new backyard has nothing but dirt and weeds.  And now a fresh scent.  I’ll do anything for an hour of peace.


 That was a buck well spent.


 The second thing we tried today has some educational value.   This was chosen so in the evening I can tell myself I don’t really suck all that much.  Jennifer at The Write Start created some of her own sand cards to teach her son the shapes of letters.  I’ve seen the sandpaper letters before, and let me tell you, you can pay a fortune for them.  


 They seemed like they’d be worth the time to make.   So, out comes the glue and the craft sand.  I was most excited at this point about finding a use for the colored sand I’ve had in my closet for four months.  My kids wanted me to just dump it all in their sandbox outside, but I stuck to my guns – tomorrow’s answer might be different.


 Take some cardstock, write a letter or number on it with glue, let the kids sprinkle sand over it and shake off the excess.  Let dry and then… well… ours haven’t dried yet.  So I don’t know what’s next.


Write Start Jennifer is a pediatric occupational therapist, and I have no clue what I am doing, so I will take her word for it:

this is one of the best activities for introducing letter-writing to children, and it doesn’t even require any writing! Nonetheless, it sends strong, multi-sensory messages to the brain about how to make each letter.To be an efficient writer, it’s just as important to feel the letters as it is to see and hear them.

We did talk about each letter as we made it, and the three of us thought of all the words that start with that letter [letter P always equals Poop and Pee – and hysterical laughter].  The kids got to have a mini-sandbox right in the middle of the kitchen.  Even if the cards are never touched again, we had a good afternoon with them.  I think they might come in handy.  The Girl can always use a refresher.  The Boy can read letters, but so far has no interest in forming anything on paper but bowhead whales and eels.


 I’ll let you know how it all turns out. 

As far as this evening goes… my pat on the back for making the day fun [which counts as a no-suck day for me] was interrupted by one nagging little thought. 

We played with shaving cream and paint today.  We played with glue and sand today.  And, between the three of us, we made an entire load of laundry today. 

{Sigh.}  Back to the old drawing board.




Leave a Comment
  1. Christine / Jun 3 2009 22:34

    You’re back. I missed your posts. And your kids are darned lucky to have you, too. : )

  2. smalvarado / Jun 4 2009 00:37

    Does your laundry room always look so nice and inviting? :-)

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