Have Fun Instead

Saturday was supposed to be laundry day.

As soon as I woke up on Saturday morning, I was already consumed with having to figure out the logistics of how I was going to do laundry by myself at the laundrymat. My husband had to work so I was left to my own devices to figure out how I was going to haul my heavy hampers into our Jeep, then wash and dry and fold 6 loads of laundry – all with a very energetic toddler in tow. It was certainly gonna be a long, arduous and challenging day. But I’ve grown to accept that laundry days are always tough, especially with having to wrangle my very adventurous son at the same time.

Saturday was supposed to be laundry day.

At least, I thought so….

I was sipping my morning coffee, obsessing over my laundry logistics for the day, when I saw Evan’s tiny fingers slowly open our bedroom door. Then I heard his toddler footsteps running towards me. As soon as he saw me, his sleepy eyes smiled and his entire face glowed. He opened his arms, invited an embrace and said, “Huck Mommy, Huck”. I hugged him warmly and kissed his sweet smelling hair. Then, he took my face, placed both his hands on each of my cheek and kissed me. After, he tucked his head inside my neck, in that perfect space between my jaw and shoulder, and there he rested peacefully for five long blissful minutes.

At that moment, Saturday was no longer laundry day.

I quickly abandoned my obsessions with getting laundry done that day, along with all the other chore-related items on my to-do-list.

I told Evan, “Son, we’re going to have a lot of FUN today.”

Evan woke up so sweetly that I thought, why should I dampen this beautiful sunny day with doing laundry?!? Having clean clothes is nice, but having fun with my son is more important.

So instead of a surely stressful day at the laundrymat, here’s what we did:

  • I took Evan to his cousins’ house for a play date.
  • We took a long morning walk around my in-laws’ serene neighborhood.
  • We browsed through yard sales.
  • Evan rode on the back of his cousin’s tricycle.
  • We ran around at the park.
  • We sat by the water and watched ducks, turtles and geese.
  • Evan went on the swings and said “weeee!” every time I pushed him : )
  • Evan romped all over the playground.
  • We ate noodles, salad and chips for lunch.
  • We visited my Aunt.
  • Evan napped for 2 hours.
  • We ate chocolate oatmeal cookies for our afternoon snack.
  • We had a veggie pizza for dinner.
  • We watched the Laker game with Daddy.

So it wasn’t laundry day after all. It was a full day, a spontaneous day, a perfectly fun day. We didn’t even plan any of these activities. We just set out with the promise that no matter what we ended up doing, we were going to have a FUN day.

I learned over the weekend that sometimes, it’s okay to not have the laundry done as scheduled. It’s okay to abandon chores for the sake of having quality time with my son. I shouldn’t always obsess over having a neat and tidy house. Taking care of chores is important, but having fun-filled days with Evan is definitely more important.

DISCUSSION:

  • What fun activities did you and your family enjoy over the weekend?

Share your story, your story matters.

Our Son Is Like Diego The Explorer!

I obtained the cartoon character descriptions below from a Focus on the Family article written by Lynne Thompson. She encourages parents to accommodate and foster their toddler’s “play styles” by determining which activities their kids find most enjoyable. I suggest you read the entire article, it’s really insightful!

I’m curious, which of these cartoon characters are most like your child(ren)?

Bob the Builder

These toddlers love to build. But before investing in Thomas or Brio train sets start small. Begin with Duplo blocks or cardboard bricks for stacking. Help your toddler set up a fort with chairs and a blanket. Be sure to join in the fun by crawling inside with a flashlight and a picture book to share. You may want to drive by a nearby house under construction each day and watch its progress. Have dad help your little builder set up a tent in the backyard and then camp together under the stars… or streetlights.

Dora/Diego the Explorer

This toddler wants out! Be sure to take your little explorer to the park, on a hike, or down a bike trail. It’s also fun to create maps leading to hidden treasures in the house or backyard. You may want to purchase a bug terrarium or butterfly net for backyard exploration. Try visiting the local pet store, zoo, aquarium or space observatory. A family camping trip is a must.

Elmo’s World

This tot loves to learn new things, and games are an easy way to teach. Purchase a box of Old Maid cards and place them face down on the floor. Have your child flip over two at a time in search for the match. Another fun game is to purchase plastic Easter eggs and fill them with treats. Each egg should be coupled with another filled with the same item. Have your little one find the match by shaking the eggs and matching the sound. Sometimes toddlers like to learn from other children. Invite an older sibling or friend to teach your toddler how to write his or her name. Also, it’s always fun to bring home a plastic horn or musical recorder and let your toddler blow out a tune… in the backyard.

Caillou

It’s a make believe world for this toddler. Try to encourage an active imagination with plenty of dress up costumes, found at garage sales or in the grocery store clearance section after Halloween. Children who enjoy the arts might like listening to stories on CDs, or watching DVDs that can be imitated later. Host a dress up tea party with friends, real or stuffed. Or grab the video recorder and act out Bible stories as a family. Then breakout the popcorn and enjoy the performance.

Lionel (Between the Lions)

Make sure you have your library card ready, ‘cuz books are candy for this little one. Check out story time opportunities in your town at the public library or bookstores. Start a toddler book swap, by asking moms to bring over any used picture books to trade. Take in a theatrical performance of your child’s favorite book. Host a literature party where children dress up as their favorite storybook character. Then invite a parent in costume to read some of the books aloud.

Boobah

This is a toddler in motion. You may want to purchase some music from your local Christian bookstore for this little one to exercise and dance to. Purchase a Twister mat and call out colors as jumping spots. You may want to invite other parents with toddlers to join you in starting your own fitness program at a nearby park or in your backyard. Some athletic gyms offer toddler classes or you may want to visit gymboree.com to locate your nearest activity center.

EVAN IS MOST LIKE…..

In comparison to these cartoon characters, Evan is most like Diego the Explorer. Although I would also dare to compare Evan to Curious George, Superman and Spiderman!

Our son is insatiably curious about everything. Evan is fearless and loves to jump off beds, chairs and couches, and much to my worry, he is too fond of climbing.

To nurture Evan’s interests and to expend a lot of his energy, my husband and I ensure that he gets outside and physical time everyday.

We learned very quickly that Evan does not enjoy Mommy and me classes, circle story times at the local library or even Gymboree’s family music classes. While other children thrived in these activities, my son quickly got bored because he found indoor activities to be too restrictive.

Instead, Evan totally prefers being outdoors, especially in a park, where he is free to run and tumble around.

Evan has an unbridled spirit, that’s for sure, much like his Mommy and Daddy….

DISCUSSION

  • Which cartoon characters are most comparable to your toddler?
  • How do you encourage your child(ren)’s style of play?

Share your story, your story matters.