The last few days, I’ve been on a real Creative Days With My Toddler kick. We have collaged and colored, played on our swingset and taken walks in the neighborhood, pretended with play food, put together puzzles, read more books than I can count, sung songs (many of which Smooch now has signs or words for, which is encouraging), and cuddled.
I’ve also managed to stay on top of the never-ending cycle of jobs that need to be done around here – the kitchen and the laundry and all the rest of it. I’m feeling pretty good about myself, you know?
Yesterday morning, I needed to unload and reload the dishwasher, so I figured I would set up our sensory table for Smooch. I try to remember to do this activity at least once a month or so, and each time I put something new inside. The first month, I filled the table with beans for Smooch to feel and scoop and pour. The next month, it was birdseed (which, for some reason, he thought felt great running down his forehead).
This time, I used shaving cream. I bought the cheapest can at Target a few weeks ago and tucked it away for this experience. Smooch is getting used to this table play, but he had never seen me fill it up with fluffy white stuff before. “Shoo?” he asked me — is it snow? “No, bud, it’s shaving cream. But it does look like snow a little bit!” He plunged both hands in. He made faces. He dripped shaving cream on the floor and wiggled his toes in it. He played happily while I worked at the counter, putting away dishes and wiping off glasses.
After about twenty minutes he’d had his fill, so I helped him wash his hands and feet and then we wiped up the floor. I went back to my work and he bustled around the kitchen quietly – playing with the measuring cups, getting out all of his rubber-coated toddler spoons, pulling his straws out of the drawer.
You know that moment, when you realize that your child is awake but it is too quiet? It’s a startling moment and it always makes me think, “How long has it been this quiet? What was I so focused on that I missed this?” and, most imporantly, “WHERE is he?”
Just then, he came around the corner into the kitchen carrying his favorite straw. It was coated in shaving cream. He carried it back to the sensory table, used it to scoop up more cream, and headed back out of the kitchen. I followed close behind him as he walked purposefully into my room, where I saw this:
Well, it took me down a peg. I may be managing things pretty well around here the last few days, but I’m still coping with a toddler. It’s not all going to be smooth and perfect every day. But at least I’ll probably have plenty to laugh at along the way, right?