Sigh. It’s a LOT of work.
Television used to be my fall-back for entertainment for Wesley. Bored? Go watch Mickey Mouse. Your sister is sleeping? Be quiet, and sit and watch Tom and Jerry. Hey, look! Little House is on! Let’s watch!
But then I realized what a couch potato my sweet little guy was becoming. And I realized it was all my fault. (Well, mine and my husband’s.) Any time the T.V. was on, he was glued to the set, even if all I was watching was something on HGTV. And seriously, what two year old should be interested in House Hunters? So I cut the cord.
Okay, not literally. I would probably die without my weekly Lost fix, not to mention the other thirty-seven shows programed to be recorded on my TiFaux each week. But during the day, when Wesley is awake, the television and computer stay blank.
So instead, we color, clean, and bake. It’s amazing that unloading the dishwasher is great entertainment for a toddler. He takes great delight in handing me everything, announcing with pride the name of each item. And even more amazing, it’s actually helpful. Because Alice is rather clingy and loves to be held, I generally do everything one handed. With Wesley’s help, I can actually unload the dishwasher in a relatively short amount of time.
Then we move on to sweeping. I took a section out of my Swiffer so it’s just the right size for him, and together we get the sweeping done. I’ve even started making him rinse his plate and cup and put them in the dishwasher after each meal, and every night before bed we pick up the toys. And, surprise, surprise, he actually likes doing these things.
We also do a lot of baking. It’s a good quiet activity when the baby is taking a nap. Wesley perches on the counter top and helps pour cups of flour and sugar into a bowl and stirs. (And stirs and stirs and stirs. Stirring is his favorite thing to do.) So far we’ve made cookies, cornbread, and two different types of muffins. Of course, when it’s time to STOP stirring and pour it into the pan, he freaks out and throws a massive fit, so I have to have another activity for him to do immediately to head off the fit before it wakes his sister. Our latest baking creation was muffins from a “Deceptively Delicious” recipe that contained applesauce and pureed squash. It was actually really good! All twelve muffins had magically disappeared by the next day. (My husband wasn’t pleased to learn he’d unwittingly eaten squash. Poor baby.)
But each day I still get a little panicked to think that it will be another loooooong day without my favorite babysitter. On the plus side, Wesley is happier and my house is cleaner than ever, so it’s totally worth it. I have to admit though, at the end of the day, after Wesley goes to bed, I’m so happy to turn on the T.V. and spend some quality time with the remote.