Friday, 17 January 2014

Fun Baths: The Preschool Roundup

We've entered a new stage in our fun baths in the last year or so.  While our toddler baths round-up usually had me jumping in so I could bathe her and bond with her, now she's learning to take baths on her own.  Two completely honest words about this : THANK GOD.

Surprisingly, it's possible to have thirty minutes while the kids have more fun without you - thanks to simple ideas and a preschooler's growing imagination.  

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Make It Fun: Eating Out With Kids

Having a preschooler brings back childhood memories when I was bored to death during meals.  Eating was such drudgery.  Sure, parents could force you to participate in conversation but that was never long and grown-ups go back to talking to each other over the kids' heads.  As a mom, I know I do.

I see now it's worse for an only-child like Ladybug Girl.  When we're with a big group, the kids entertain each other and I finally enjoy some adult conversation.  But out with just us, she sighs and drags her feet when it's time to eat.

I grew up with no table manners because I would read for entertainment at the dinner table.  A generation later, my daughter does the same with her iPad:

Sometimes I load it with a few new videos but it's a last resort for some contented dining

 Oh, she still has a lot of fun with it at our expense.

But when it's time for other conversations apart from "can-you-tell-me-that-story-again-six-more-times", I've always had a handy art bag with me.   I try to change it up and make it smaller, which is a good thing in its evolution.  It's been so useful, I thought I'd share more ideas.

Here's what our art bag has looked like for about six months now.

Pens, Washi Tape, Paper, Price Stickers, Small Notebook, Dice

Artzooka sticker sheets are a no-brainer suggestion when you want a final, final extension on chika.

Turning her water jug into a pirate

My phone into a bug

The cafe's fortune plant into a robot
The plane's spoon into another bug

And a simple square drawing into a great house.

The Muji pens are still getting the job done without rolling under tables, thanks to their hexagon shape.

We leave thank-you notes for our servers

Sometimes I pop in a book or mini-puzzle in my bag at the last-minute.

The puzzle gifts come in handy for these moments!
Helpful also for patiently waiting before mass starts.
(Did you notice that Baby Alive goes where we go now?)
This enormous book choice was super last-minute.  Crazy mom. 

I can't run out of these cheap price stickers.  With a little imagination they're magic.

She's copying the book cover using stickers.
Washi tape is even handier.  I keep one in my bag always.

Making our own game board with the back of the restaurant's placemat

We play before and after eating
Now she "makes" one all by herself
With pen caps as our tokens

Our latest addition is a complete set of number sticks which we've started to use to play more games. 

Making the stairs practice
Beating Daddy at "trick questions" that I use to practice memorising the number pairs that make the sum of 10.
"What is this plus this?"  or "If one part of ten is this, what's the other part?"
He doesn't know the rods, so she beats him easily every time

The score card:

Ladybug Girl: 6, Daddy: 0

It may seem pretty fussy, why we need all this just to eat!  But it's not just about boredom or beating the iPad zombie effect - we've always had issues with feeding because our petite little girl has not hit the 15th percentile since being born.  It's true that all those Moriamin vitamins I took only made me fat, when she turned out to be naturally small.  All our stressed-out force feeding hasn't helped her love eating either.

So as in most things I'm discovering in parenting, getting playful is just the solution.  Care to share your own tips and tricks? 

Friday, 3 January 2014

The Irony of Christmas

Well, hell just froze over this Christmas.  There was something about the season that made my careful parenting decisions turn around and laugh at me in the face.

The silliest of which was that pink princesses finally snuck their way into my child’s fancy.  Ladybug Girl really, really wanted this for Christmas:

Baby Alive Sip-and-Tinkle Princess.  Holy crap.