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Category Archives: Play

Portrait of this stay-at-home-mom

6:45:  Wake to sounds of husband in the shower

Cedar crawls in bed with me.  I feel mauled by a grizzly bear by the time she’s finished wallowing on me.

Make coffee.  Kiss husband.  Wave good-bye from the window with naked 2-year old by my side.  Norah wanders in.  Grumpy.  Much like me in the mornings, this one.

Cancel my 10am playdate.  Bummed about it but I have some sniffles starting and I don’t want to spread them.  We were supposed to make homemade hair conditioner.

Breakfasts consumed by two small children over the next three hours (4 boiled eggs, two blueberry pancakes, 1 orange, 2 peaches, 4 spoons of peanut butter, 1 piece of toast, 1 chunk of cheese, 1 yogurt).  Yes, really.

3 cups of coffee and a secret cupcake consumed by me.

Sounds of Elizabeth Mitchell on Pandora.

Save Cedar from a puppy attack.  Clean up puppy mess.  Find a library book shredded by puppy.  Put puppy in crate.

Shower.  It is a good day.  And I have new soap.

While in shower, Cedar brings me her diaper.  She has removed it.  It contains poop.  I try to lure her to the shower so I can clean her butt.

Learning with Norah:  She reads to me.  I read to her.  We read about amazing heroines of the American War.  Turns out that while Paul Revere rode 16 miles, a sixteen year old girl rode 40 miles at night.  In the rain.  Where is her poem?  Ahem.  (Oh wait!  I found one!)

Back to learning.  I drink coffee while she does addition with coffee beans.  She reviews her timeline cards and we giggle over pronunciation of “Hammurabi,” “Amenhotep” and “Tutankhamun.”

We break so Norah can play with My Little Ponies.

I clean up potty messes made by both Cedar and puppy.  Answer work emails.  A friend wants to know about natural birth of twins.  A woman tries to decide between VBAC at the hospital or at home.  A lactation question.  A contract confirmed.  A private class arranged.

Norah and I worked on memorizing “The Bones Song.”  It is so much fun to sing.  Our motivation is to sing it for Aunt Noelle in December.  The skeleton Dr. Stafford loaned us has been a fantastic visual aid.

Lunch.  A triumph and a fail.  Triumph:  I finally convinced one of my children to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  Thank you Cedar for branching out.  Fail:  Norah wanted a lettuce and plain wheat bread sandwich.  Which she didn’t eat.  She ended up with celery and peanut butter.

Cedar napped.  Norah worked/played on her computer.  I ate lunch and read a book.  (I will be happy to finish this book 5 from Game of Thrones.  Madness.  Should have never started the hefty series.  But I must finish.  How many thousands of pages have I read?)

Phone call from a client with maternity leave ending.  Daycare looming Monday.  Anxieties.  I push the girls on the backyard swings so I can talk without fighting in the background.

The 5 year old yells “stupid phone call.  I hate your phone.”  Um, it was the only phone call all day.  Time for physical play!  With much dread, I dress them in old underwear and we walk to the neighbors’ backyard renovation project.  I unleash them with cookie cutters and buckets in a giant mudbath.  My neighbor and I (and baby Elisha) talk about slings and wool diapers while my children make mud angels.


 ****Pictures deleted because creepy people keep searching “children playing in the mud naked.”  Um, gross!****

Hose children.  Bathe children.  Fill and empty tub three times to get rid of mud.  The girls use all my new soap.

Pack children and drive to my parent’s house.  Time it perfectly for uninvited dinner.  While eating, Cedar has an allergic reaction to either red pepper or tilapia.  Swollen lips, red bumpy cheek (“it hurts, mama!”), sneezing, coughing.  For a couple of hours.  Norah entertains with a magic show involving a hat and the requirement that we all close our eyes each time she needs to make something disappear.

We look at constellations using an iPad app.

On the way back home, we listen to the unabridged Anne of Green Gables on CD.  Norah asks “what is the depths of despair?”  Oh child.  My mind races to events that will take her there someday.  I hold back tears as we continue to listen to Marilla Cuthbert and Anne Shirley with an “e” talk of what tomorrow might hold.

I feed bedtime snacks of yogurt.  I risk giving Cedar some Benadryl.  She’s still reacting to the pesky food.  Benadryl usually causes her to go hyper-wild.  Do I risk it?  She seems pretty tired.  I risk it.  Put Cedar to bed.  Norah to bed.  Craving salt, I sit down with bean sprouts and tamari sauce.  Bam!  Cedar fell out of bed.  Put child back in bed.

Talk briefly with my husband before he puts a kayak into the ocean at night.  Turn on his Pandora station, “GruzFrahBah”.

Search for the perfect poem for a friend’s blessingway tomorrow.  Settle on this one.

Play on Pinterest.

I fret over my poor neglected blog and decide to blog something.  But what?

It is 1am as I finish this post.  And I gasp as I remember that Norah still has red mud in her scalp and we have to leave at 8:30 in the morning for her science lab.  Shoot.

Run my mind over all the events and expectations of tomorrow.  It is going to be a doozy.


Do you remember imaginative play?  I do.  I remember it with such envy.  I remember getting lost for hours playing with my button collection.  I still remember how I played and the names of certain families buttons.  And I sometimes bring my buttons down from the attic and hold them in my hands. 

I suppose that is why I can’t take enough pictures of imaginative play.  I might have more pictures of abandoned toy set-ups than pics of my children! 


“The adult has various means at his disposal of coming to terms with the whole range of his environment…but the path of children is and remains that of play.  Simply by a staircase of games, children have reached the world of adults from time immemorial.  Each step is made up of the games of a particular age-group.”  –Children at Play (Heidi Britz-Crecelius)

I struggle some days with Norah’s “schooling.”  She’s a December baby so she would not begin kindergarten until this fall.  We homeschool.  Which, at this point, mostly means she has unrestricted free play.  That is the bulk of her school.  I remember the year I went to kindergarten.  It was half-day then.  And I remember playing.  It seemed like that is all we did.  Sometimes we made peanut butter on saltine crackers.  I don’t think kindergarten is like that anymore.   

Re-centering involves reassuring yourself that you have made a good choice, that you have recognized that the true center of childhood is play, not work.  After all, play is the primary way children were designed to learn…research shows that a child’s intellectual awakening takes place during the normal adult-child interactions that occur in everyday, purposeful activities…playful environments and spontaneous learning opportunities hold the keys for a happy, emotionally healthy, and intelligent child–and for a fulfilled parent.  –Einstein Never Used Flashcards (Hirsh-Pasek and Golinkoff)

I hope I can stay relaxed and trust she is climbing the staircase.  I need to find ways to play more, too.

The Great Invention (Norah’s booby trap)


Sometimes they play so sweetly.  Like when Norah reads to Cedar. 

But the rivalry began early.  About 2 weeks after Cedar was born, Norah calmly suggested we throw her to the lions.  Or take her outside and leave her in the grass. 

More recently, Norah announced the completion of her “Great Invention.”  In case you haven’t heard, Norah is an excellent engineer.  She ties amazing knots (often tying my skirt strings to a kitchen drawer handle while I’m cooking…yes, disaster).  Her goal is to become an architect and she designs and builds fun projects:  a birdhouse, a leprauchan trap, etc.

And then, The Great Invention. 

I was confused when I first saw it.  She eagerly explained it to me.

“Cedar will follow the trail of money.”  See the pennies lined up on the floor?  They were carefully lined up through several rooms.

“Then she’ll want the paper money, the sucker, and the sweet potato.”  I’m not sure Norah knows the term yet but she’s describing “bait.”

“After she gets the money and potato, she’ll sit in the camping chair.  The dragon will scare her and she’ll fall out of the chair, land on the broom, and fly through the air.”  What is the blue napkin for?  “Oh, that is to catch the blood when she lands.  Her nose will be ‘blooding.'”  I’m not sure what the dustpan is for.

Good stuff.

Sadly (for Norah) it didn’t work.  Back to the drawing board.

Things I will miss

I will be sad when:

* Norah no longer says “deseasers” when she means “tweezers.”

* And “hotella” for “nutella.”

* When Cedar no longer runs through the house carrying her step-stool so she can hang with the humans over three feet tall.

* Picking out little girl clothes.  Norah won’t let me dress her anymore.

* The pigtails!

* Norah’s imagination.  Or as she says, “Mommy, I’m imaginating something.”  Here is a recent example.  Norah and her friend Ryleigh had a playdate a few months ago.  Ryleigh has a stuffed Rudolph.  Norah has a stuffed Clarice.  A week ago, Clarice gave birth to a small moose named Clancy.  Clarice has been a great mom.  Norah makes sure that Clancy is nursed to sleep each night and fed on demand throughout the day.  However, Norah has tremendous anxiety because Rudolph has not met his son.  I’m talking quite the tantrums to see Ryleigh RIGHT NOW.  I did call Ryleigh’s mom so she could tell Rudolph about his son.  And we have a playdate arranged this week so the family can be re-united. 

I should mention that the little plastic guy in the picture is Hansel.  He is forlorn because Ryleigh has his wife, Gretel.  He’s waiting for the playdate, too.

* I’m going to miss babywearing.  Cedar already wants to (GASP) ride in the shopping cart! 

Many more things will be missed.  What will not be missed is the screaming sibling fight that is breaking out AS I TYPE.  “My castle!  I had it first!” 

Better wrap this up!

Faster than a tormado

We had an extra four year old in the house today.  I thought it would distract me from the fantastic explosion of toys if I took notes on some of the conversations I overheard.


I have the hardest job in my house.  I fold napkins.

Well, my job is harder.  I catch all the lizards outside my house.

I fold more napkins. 

I catch a million lizards.

We’re like twins cause we have the same thing to eat!

I can run faster than a horse.

I can run faster than a rocketship

I can run faster than a “tormado”

I can run faster than God.

Mom, who can run the fastest?

My cousin is going to marry Justin Bieber

Who is that?

I think he’s a boy at her school.

That is NOT what a kangaroo sounds like when it gives birth.  It says “Boing Boing Boing.”

My [stuffed] puppy tore a little when her baby was born. [did I mention this was a midwife’s 4 year old?]

This will be your dog “collard” to wear.

We also had marshmallow roasting and sprinkler running.  And the girls built elaborate play scenes.

She wore an itsy bitsy

Easy Preschooler Activity

Norah and I made a marble run for the fridge.  It was super easy and we were able to complete it during Cedar’s morning nap. 

Collect paper towel and toilet paper tubes.  Wrap tubes with construction paper.  Glue a magnet to each tube.  Create your marble run, place a container on the floor, and drop in a marble.  We had to use a large wooden bead because the marble was too heavy. 

Norah has had fun making different runs.

P.S.  I saw a fridge marble run available for purchase in an educational toys magazine and it was out of our toy budget!  So can we call this upcycling?