My kids (ages 2 & 4) so often do / say the quirkiest and funniest things that I thought hmmmm… I might as well write them down here and make it a monthly post.
Jack began a weekly soccer class through his preschool and he LOVES it! Every Tuesday I would pick him up from school he would gush about how “Max was there today” or “We all played soccer with Max!” or “I love learning soccer with Max!”. I had seen the young college guy in the jersey who I assumed was this special Max. One day as I was picking up Jack, this guy was packing up and leaving so I said, “It’s Max, right?”. To which he replied, “Coach Logan.” I was surprised and embarrassed, I apologized and quickly signed my kid out of school. As I was buckling Jack into the car I asked, “Honey… who is Max? Is Max someone in your class?” Jack laughed and said, “No, Max isn’t someone in my class! Max is a soccer ball!”
ME: Casey, please don’t scream like that.
CASEY: (scoff) Don’t be so scared, Mom.
JACK: (calling to his Dad) Honey, can you carry my truck down the stairs for me? … thanks, Honey
*Casey very carefully putting his socks on each hand like mittens*
CASEY: (whispers to himself) There. Perfect.
Jack was playing Among Us on my phone and it was his turn to be The Imposter. He wasn’t doing too bad! And after a few successful kills the players were all casting their votes and Jack VOTES FOR HIMSELF.
ME: Jack! Don’t vote for youself!
JACK: But Mom I have to! I’m the ‘poster!
*Casey trying to climb on my lap as I’m eating*
CASEY: I want to sit there!
ME: No baby, not right now. I’m eating dinner.
*Casey climbs on the chair next to me, waits a minute and then suddenly jumps into my lap*
CASEY: Oh noooooo! I fell!
JACK: Mom, Casey bumped me! Say sorry, Casey!
CASEY: Sorry Casey.
JACK: No, I’m Jack!
CASEY: I’m Casey.
One night before I tucked Jack into bed he said:
JACK: Mom, I had fun best friending with you today.
I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but… I think I might have just stepped over to the Pinterest side of me that I didn’t even know I had. I started doing something new with my son, not having any idea of how it would turn out. And let me tell you, it was a BIG HIT.
Let me introduce you to “Sensory Bins”.
My sister has often mentioned the importance of sensory play. She’s a preschool special education consultant, so any advice she has to offer in way of cognitive development is going to be pretty valuable. It kept coming to my mind because I’ve been dying to try to find things for Jack to do. It’s too hot to play outside (other than swim) and this toddler NEEDED something new. BAD.
I started looking up sensory tables, knowing how ridiculous I was being since 1) I cannot afford to buy a sensory table and B) where the heck would I even put it. After some research, I found a new love. Which is sensory bins. And OH. MY. GOSH.
They are SO easy. You can find EVERYTHING you need at the dollar store. The only expensive problem is that I have too many ideas and I wish I could put together one for every week of the year. Seriously. I love these things. And not only do I love them, but you know who else does? MY TWO-YEAR-OLD.
He asks to play with them Every. Single. Day. As soon as he’s done eating breakfast he’ll walk over to the hall closet and point. “Bin! Bin!” When he plays… honestly, it’s actually quiet. Like NAP TIME QUIET. I am so obsessed with these, I don’t even know where to begin…
I guess I’ll start with the bins themselves. What the heck is a sensory bin? Basically, all it is… is a shoe-box sized container filled with some kind of material that a kid can just stick their hands in and feel! Texture is important. You can also put little treasures and toys in. Scoops, funnels, anything that will let them play around and experiment. It’s basically a miniature sandbox. (Actually, you can totally use sand!)
Is it messy? Yes. But isn’t everything else that a toddler does? Yes! In my experience, it hasn’t been bad at all and YOU are the one who controls what kind of a mess it is. YOU are the one who decides what kind of a bin it will be. You don’t even have to do it inside if you don’t want to!
So with that, let me show you what I put together, so you can get an idea:
I found these colorful packing peanuts. So fun. Despite the fact that he was the one who picked out the Styrofoam peanuts, this is actually Jack’s least favorite bin. I’m not too worried though because I think he’ll like it more as he gets a little older. I’ve hidden wooden numbers in there, which will be fun when he starts to learn how to count.
3 bags of packing peanuts: $6
Plastic shovels: $1
ALL IN ALL: $9
I reeeeally love this one. BECAUSE IT’S FREAKING DINOSAUR THEMED!
Red kidney beans $1
White beans $1
Dinosaur play set $1
Plastic shovels (shared with the other box!)
ALL IN ALL: $4
This is my most recent one, I put it together for the fall time! Take note of the messiness in the background.
Corn Kernels: $2
Fabric leaves: $1
Set of Dump Trucks: $6
ALL IN ALL: $9
This one is the holy grail of sensory bins for my toddler. Honestly, he’s kind of obsessed… THE WATER SENSORY BIN. And okay, I know what you’re thinking. Yikes! But here is what I do. Knowing that I was going to try out a water bin, I got a towel from the dollar store (bonus! This one is a cool round shape!) I set it out in the kitchen and put a bath mat ON TOP of that. Double protection. Then I have Jack sit with the bin on the bath mat. We’ve had a bunch of spills but it was no big deal with this set-up. I will say though that the first time he did this, he got pretty soaked himself- so that’s something to think about!
As you can see, I started to switch it up by putting in a tiny droplet of dishwashing soap and giving him one of my slotted spoons. He adored it. He likes to throw in glass aquarium pebbles, stir them around with the spoon and scoop up bubbles. This has been a massive hit at our house. In fact: Tantrum Warning – may cause a lot of tears when putting away!
Aquarium rocks $1
Spoons and dishwashing soap: On hand
ALL IN ALL: TWO FREAKING DOLLARS
Today he also decided that he wanted to “wash” everything in my baking drawer. So prepare yourself for this kind of discovery/shenanigans.
I’ve been having way too much fun. I found an easy recipe to make fake snow. I think I’ll be putting together a winter bin in a few months!
You stay at home with your kid all day? Liyke, what do you EVEN doooOOOOoooOOOoooo?
Alright, well, this is what my average day looks like:
8:30 Get him up and dressed.
Sometimes if I’m lucky, he’ll want to cuddle into me for a bit. I give him breakfast (which is usually waffles and cereal) and I put on Sesame street. While he’s distracted and buckled into his high chair I RUN, take a shower and get dressed for the day.
This is usually the second most exhausting time of the day. It involves a lot of going up and down the stairs, opening and slamming doors, jumping on the bed… I have to SECURELY HIDE my phone and remotes to pull off no screen time.
11:00 Probably caving into more screen time
Around this time I’m usually like, okay… let me destroy you with more TV. Jack LOVES music videos! So he’ll usually go for that. He likes Coldplay, OK GO, Fun, Fall Out Boy, selective Taylor Swift (he’s really picky about her stuff), weird viral music videos like Gangham Style and that Pineapple Pen song.
By now I’m usually giving him a hot dog or a sandwich OR BOTH. (He eats a lot). String cheese, veggies, maybe a cookie 😉 😉
Finally! The glorious nap time! Jack is a good sleeper, so I can count on at least two to three hours. Sometimes he’ll fall asleep right away, sometimes I have to put him down like three or four times while he laughs at me.
This would be a good time to get cleaning done… you’re right. It would. BUT I try to reserve this time for writing. That way I’m working on it everyday and it’s just a way to ensure that mommy gets time for herself.
4:00 snack / hobbit dinner / outing
Like I said, he eats a TON. Dad doesn’t get home until later and I know that he won’t make it until then so I feed him when he wakes up. After he eats, this kid needs to GET OUT. Lately, it’s been freezing outside so it’s been hard finding things to do. Sometimes we visit someone. Sometimes we just straight up go to a toy store and run around. The afternoon outing is interchangeable with the morning playtime and I do that sometimes especially if grandma invites us out to lunch or something.
5:30 starting dinner, trying and failing to do a last minute clean before dad gets home
This is the hardest part of the day. I’m running around like a zombie while Jack is pawing at my legs and crying because I’m not playing with him. Aaaargggh! Sometimes I leave my phone on the floor at my feet so he can have a go, but then he usually tries to video chat random contacts in my phone.
6:30 Dan is home and we have dinner together
I’m so glad when daddy comes home. Glad as I can be. We all have dinner together (including Jack whose hobbit dinner is wearing off by then).
7:15 Mommy needs to freaking LAY DOWN
Dad usually plays a game of Hide and Seek with Jack, (his favorite thing). When Dad is exhausted we have family time by watching a couple of Fail videos on YouTube which our little one year old is all about tbh.
8:15 Bedtime routine
Jack gets a bath. Jammies. A book that he picks out. His teeth brushed while he tries to push you away. Family prayer. A song. Tucked in.
Now Mommy and Daddy can binge watch Catfish and eat the ice cream that we didn’t want to share with our son.