Monday, February 27, 2012
For those of you (if anyone actually reads this) who follow my life, I'm currently living at my parents' house. I've been here since December 2010, when my life fell apart thanks to my soon-to-be ex-husband. I'm being blunt and honest when I say that my parents are not very child-friendly people. They are quiet, clean, scheduled people and children are often none of those things. This is why they only had one, and this is why it's been very hard living at home again. Their constraints always manage to make me feel like a teenager again. I just want to argue, yell, and do stupid things in the name of rebellion.
Anyways, all of that aside, here is the tour via collages made on Photobucket.com, sorry for the repeated picture :/
After much arguing over there being ANY child toys in common space, they finally relinquished a small corner of the living room under the condition that the toys were to be kept out of sight unless they are currently in use. My grandmother had given me an awesome old shelving unit with these yellowed, cracked bins. Two of the bins were salvageable, but I'm glad to have the shelves free for other things. There is also a toybox and a dress-up chest.
On the top of the organizer there are three bins from Ikea with some of their circus toys in them. I love toys that foster creative imagining! The book I referenced in my last post (Your Brain on Childhood) talked about finding toys that are 80% child and 20% toy. This means no talking flashing plastic crap that tells a child what to do or what is happening. For example, a keyboard should play what keys are pressed, not a prerecorded tune. The circus set is a little further towards 60%/40% since it dictates that they are members of a circus, but it's still more about the child's imagination than the toy.
Also on top is an owl play clock (an awesome estate-sale find) and River's one-year book from winkflash.com
(The bins are labeled: Coloring Supplies, Cards, Felt Food, Musical Instruments, Small Stuffed Toys, Alphabet Blocks, Ring Stacker & Shape Sorter, and Blocks.)
Living with the parents is certainly not all bad. My mother salvaged the needlework on the dressup bin and gave the bin and some costumes to River as a Hanukkah/Christmas gift this year. She also had the toy box in the basement, full of fabric, and gave it to me to use for River (and also as part of her quest to clean out the basement and get rid of a lot of fabric). She painted lizards on the back and bottom.
I love that River is still too small to get into the toy box on her own. It lets me hide special toys for when she's getting tired of what she has access to, and also gives me a place to dump things that don't otherwise have a well-labeled bin to call its own.
Of course, while taking pictures, River decided that it was a good time to play with all the toys I had just cleaned up :) She also demanded to wear the wings that normally hang on the trellis with my leafy wings. I think Elmo pants, a strange Japanese padded shirt from the Salvation Army, and monarch wings are the coolest!
At the top right she's riding her awesome rolling bumble bee (another resale find), and on the bottom she's decided that playing with a plastic tube she found in the garbage and a magnet are way more fun than all the awesome toys she has. I agree.
After some spinning, getting frustrated with the wings, and then vacuuming with the popper vacuum, it was time for some art! Also, I know it's kind of cheap, but I love this effect :) Also, since the paper was so big and she didn't want the box of crayons on top of it, she had to keep getting up and walking back and forth to get crayons.
Next on my tour list is a tour of my bedroom... once it stops looking like a bomb went off in here. It's really horrible, but I have all of my necessary possessions (other than food) stuffed into one room, so it's a bit cramped.
Friday, February 24, 2012
After my camera dying slightly and my long-term dissatisfaction with its picture quality, I finally caved in and bought a new camera.
Know what this means?
River is 20 months old
She loves making some silly faces! This one is her "boob face"... according to her. yeah.
Not that you can see much of the background, but these pictures were taken at Family Grounds Cafe in Chicago, IL, and Nibbles Play Cafe in Wheeling, IL. They are some of our favorite places!
I'm a big fan of free play time and think that it's more important for child development than most people give it credit for.
(I really need to do a book review of Your Brain on Childhood, by Gabrielle Principe, it was great! And a review of the two places that the pics were taken.... I should start a todo list)
This weekend I wanted some time at home without any plans, so I purposefully left Friday and Saturday completely blank in my planner (other than a reminder that I need to do laundry, which is currently sitting downstairs being forgotten about >.< ). I'm regretting it!
River's obsession with Sesame Street has led to every moment at home being a battle to get her away from the TV. I can either give in and get things done with the time that she spends zombified, or I can fight her.
To give her credit, she's not a total zombie. Yes, sometimes she gets that glazed look in her eyes where I can tell that her brain has stopped working, but very often she's up in front of the TV dancing or pointing to body parts or otherwise "interacting" with Elmo and the other characters.
I've been finding myself, very often today, thinking of errands that I could devise even though they aren't completely necessary or of places we could go just for a change of scenery and a bit more separation from the TV. I think we might be going out today...
Sunday, February 12, 2012
It's so strange to see her start being loud and silly to get a person's attention. She loves having every person in a room watch her. She's purposefully silly and loud and fantastic.
I'm just glad that I can see these traits as something I loved in her father instead of just reminding me of the pain he caused.
Thursday, February 09, 2012
Sunday, February 05, 2012
Today we went to a big-name book store to exchange one of our late Hanukkah presents and was completely unsuccessful. The trip turned into a huge battle between River pointing out every single Elmo or Sesame Street related product, some from across the store (at least I know her eyesight is good), and me trying my hardest not to buy any of these products.
As far as branding goes, I don't mind Sesame Street so much. The show tends to be educational, doesn't include a ton of fast flashing scene changes (which can be hard for young minds to keep up with but doesn't let their attention leave it), and according to their commercial they put all the money generated from their products back into producing Sesame Street in a ton of other countries.
But what I don't want is an Elmo book. Let me explain:
- There are plenty of shows on TV, but River only wants Elmo.
- There are plenty of stuffed toys in our house, but River only wants to play with Elmo.
- At the library and stores River can spot Elmo from across a crowded room.
- On the back of her Tag Junior books (a purchase that I am not so proud of) there's a picture of one of their other books, it has Elmo on it, so she points and yells "ELMO!" repeatedly but doesn't bother to open the book.
- She has multiple pairs of pj's, but she only wants to wear the pair that my mother made her that has Elmo on them. (Great way to ensure that your PJ's are her favorite, mom)
This all leads me to believe that, if I were to let an Elmo book enter our house, that it would be the ONLY book she would read. She would bring it to me night and day, and force me to repeat the book over and over until she had it memorized.
While an attachment to a certain book would not be the worst thing, I would much rather the attachment come from the story rather than recognition of a certain fuzzy red character.
The rule is: River gets to watch one episode of Sesame Street or two episodes of Play With Me Sesame per day. Usually she chooses to watch her time first thing in the morning, but when we have a busy day she's watch them on my computer before we go to sleep.
However, this isn't always how it works. Some examples of my exceptions to the rule include:
- When I need to get shit done and I just need River distracted
- When either of us are sick
- When something horrible has happened, and it's my fault, and I feel bad enough that I need to make it up to her
- When I really need to read something and there's no way that I can do it an entertain my daughter at the same time
- When I'm just feeling like a horrible, lazy parent
River is going to have a hard time learning rules......
Also: One of River's favorite words is Elmo. She's also been saying Zoe, Cookie Monster, Grover, and (Big) Bird. Now whenever she eats something, she's usually calling herself the (pasta/cookie/yogurt/whatever) monster. It usually comes out sounding like "Pata Monta." Yes, it's adorable, but it also shows how she's been branded!
Friday, February 03, 2012
Thursday, February 02, 2012
Seriously, someone needs to throw me a party once this is all over. I'll even hire a babysitter. >.<