Friday, March 9, 2012

Wall art

We have this gigantic calendar in our house that we use in a desperate attempt to keep our lives organized. Once a month, I get to rip of an enormous calendar page, and the Eskimo gets a great big blank canvas. This month, I taped February to the wall and gave him some crayons. He was coloring "on the wall", and he thought it was amazing.

A couple of qualifiers: I don't leave crayons/markers/paints/etc laying around the house. Some folks do, and that's their call, but the Eskimo gets plenty of opportunities to be spontaneously creative; he doesn't need free access to art materials. He also knows where I keep them, so he can come and ask me for access at any point during the day if he'd like to color. So, teaching him to "draw on the wall" is not super dangerous in our house. This was also a highly supervised activity, as are all artistic endeavors in our home. I don't just sit there and watch, I will usually get in there and color with him, whether it's on my own sheet of paper, or sharing with him.

Teaching the Eskimo that it was okay to draw on the wall as long as he kept the crayons on the paper was fun, too. He started walking around the house, pointing at different surfaces, waiting for my reaction. Cabinet? No! Floor? No! Paper? Yes!!! Big smile. He's still working on boundaries and self control, so this was great practice for him.

We left the calendar sheet up for a couple of days and he went back to it many times, adding to his beautiful scribbles. Maybe next month we'll paint!

Get to work!

The Eskimo had a rough day yesterday. Not for any particular reason as far as I can tell, but he was just cranky all day. We all have days like that. What really stuck out to me was the trouble he was having transitioning between activities. He was fine when we visited Daddy at work in the morning, but had a fit when it was time to leave. He had a great time Skype-ing with Grandma and Grandpa, but melted into a puddle of tears when they had to go. Outside time was a blast until we had to come in for lunch and because it had started raining. All day was like this. Luckily, he took a two hour nap, so I got a break for a couple hours. But he woke up from his nap in a similar mood, and the "fun" continued.

We reached a breaking point when my husband was trying to prepare some food in the kitchen and the Eskimo was underfoot around the very hot stove. That's when I decided that this was the perfect opportunity for the Eskimo to learn how to do the dishes. That's right. I filled the kitchen sink up with warm, soapy water, dumped a bunch of his plastic cups and utensils in there, and let him make a huge, soapy mess. It worked.

You see that? Yeah, that's an enormous smile on this boy's face. 

Here he was experimenting with squeezing the sponge. 

And filling the cups and dumping them was also enormous fun.

This kept him going until Daddy was done in the kitchen and it was safe for him to wander around being cranky again. He did start to pitch a fit when we emptied the water from the sink, but then I gave him a towel and asked him to help me clean up the (enormous) mess he had made. He really enjoyed wiping up the floor and it distracted him from the fact that his fun was over. I'm always amazed at how entertained the Eskimo is by doing regular household chores. I need to keep this in mind for the future! Play doesn't have to involve toys. When you're a toddler, everything you do is a form of playing and learning. Might as well teach him how to keep house!