So yesterday Alice devoured two mum mums smothered in cream cheese which left her pretty messy.
I started to wipe her down with a wet wash cloth and she was wiggling, trying to not be wiped. Then I had an idea. I put water on her tray and let her play in the water to get her hands clean. It was an instant hit! She slapped the water and laughed and laughed. This, of course, got the boys’ attention and they came running over to see what was happening. They wanted to slap her tray too and started yanking on her high chair. I, of course, started nagging and telling them to stop and back up and this is for your sister and you are being too rough and stop pushing on her and no you can’t do it too and this is just for Alice….
After about a minute I decided there was no reason they couldn’t be having their own water fun, just in a different way.
I told the boys they should “bake a cake” and told them to go get out what they’d need.
They then spent the next twenty minutes digging through our drawers picking out bowls, measuring cups, spoons and other utensils.
They helped themselves to water from the fridge door and had fun pouring and measuring in peace. When water spilled I tossed them a kitchen towel to clean it up.
Graham took of his socks when they got wet.
The switch in focus left Alice in peace and gave the boys the gear they needed to feel included. It was kind of amazing. It’s easy to feel like now that they’re four they need complicated things to be entertained. They need their Legos. They want to play on the Kindle. They need to be loud and run and jump outside. And while all those things have a place in their day. It’s fun to see them enjoying a simple activity.
I got Alice cleaned up and down for her nap and then I had time to get on the floor and play with them. Which, of course, just instigated fights for Mommy’s attention and we had to end the activity in tears. BUT it was a nice moment while it lasted and a good reminder for me to include them in the activities I create for Alice.