The day begins with an alarm clock. Some of our clocks sound like baby cries, others are the wiggles and snuggles of an escaped toddler from their bed. One way or another we rise to meet the day. Good morning sunshine! Breakfast, school, work, lunch, snacks, nap (if we’re extra blessed) and dinner, baths, then back to bed. Somewhere, in between it all, we’re a mom. Maybe we’re even wife. Or simply we’re the hamster whirling around and around. Don’t give up! There’s hope!
Every action has a consequence. The boredom of these dailies attacks us all. Often, we wake up thinking “what day is it?” It’s time to shake things up a bit and it is absolutely free! Do you have kids? Then you have a crew in front of you. As the director, you’re calling the shots and make the plays.
Set the table with beauty. Allow the children to help you prepare a special meal. Select things they’d like. Telling them “I’m sure our very special guests will love what you love!” Finally, after the table is set, candles are lit, the atmosphere of elegance is prepared, it’s showtime. Tell your children that they need to go out front (all of them on the porch) and ring the doorbell to make sure it works. After the bell rings, you open the door. “Welcome!” you smile motioning to the table. “We’ve been waiting for you to arrive!” This is a dinner to demonstrate how much you honor your children as intricate parts of the family. You serve them. Your conversation is directed all about them, the honored guests.
Bad Manners Meal
Who has taken the time to teach etiquette? Well, tonight is NOT the night. Back in the day, when the kids were little and dad was not home for dinner, it became an all-out PARTY; simple foods with stacks of fun. You, as the mom, direct the mayhem. Burp! Pick up food with your fingers. Your napkin goes on your head as a hat. Maybe passing the rolls means actually a football pass! This party could quickly spiral out of control. Feet on the table? Why not? What makes bad manners at dinner? Do it! Just before it explodes into sheer chaos, stop. You’ve entered a teaching moment; now’s your chance to explain why good manners make a person nice to know. Golden Book series “My Little Golden Book of Manners- A Little Golden Book” is what began our idea of “bad manners meal.”
Princess, Princess Beauty Salon
Our little girls adored dressing up and doing their nails. Me, however, with the two little ones (4 yrs and 2 yrs) had different ideas of fun compared to the older children (14 yrs and 10 yrs.) How do you treat your “littles” special without breaking the bank? “Day Spa” for the little’s was invented. “Princess beauty salon”, my 2-year-old suggested, is how it all came about. But wait, there’s more. The 4-year-old sighed with boredom. “Beauty salon?” Suddenly the 2-year old’s creativity popped. “Princess, PRINCESS Beauty Salon.” It worked. We simply had to add an extra “princess.” Mani/Pedi for the girls, super crazy fancy hairdo’s, along with party dresses, we delighted in all the girl glory, to dine on tea and cookies. Nothing will cost much. Use what you have around the house or even thrift shop for outrageous and fancy. The focus here is feeling fancy.
Everyone uses finger paint, and play-dough gets predictable. Begin to use the tools you have in your kitchen to teach the alphabet or spelling! No, I’m not talking about fridge magnets, which are pretty cool; I’m talking about a cookie sheet. Be ready for a mess, but get prepared for the pleasure of creativity.
Set up each child with their own cookie sheet. (Buy some at a yard sale, because they don’t need to be perfect.) Powder each cookie sheet with flour. You take the lead. The index finger points the way to draw and write; let the tiny toddler explore. This is kind of like an old fashioned “etch-a-sketch.” Supervision is required with small ones, but a 5-year-old could even start a tic-tac-toe game.
Easy and Cheap
When I was very pregnant with my third child, I couldn’t get around much, so I invented the game. First, you’ll need some copy paper, but it could be any paper. Each person folds 20 planes. Mom usually makes the most. Then you sit across the room from each other and fly the planes! Simple huh? The key here is to have your little ones retrieve the planes. Suddenly the air is filled with crazy flights.
Our funds were quite low when the kids were little, so creativity is crucial. Grab a bag of stick pretzels; each person has two pretzels. Going around the table, each one has to create a made-up use for the sticks. A mustache, a tiny cane, walrus teeth or even angry eyebrows might be ideas. You’ll see the ideas flow!
Do whatever it takes to break up the monotony of the dailies. Your children will remember these antics for their entire life. Abby, my now 16-year-old who invented Princess, Princess Beauty Salon, will even ask for an evening of pampering to this day. Make memories that last. Take pictures and share them here in the comments.