Wednesday, February 10, 2010

February Evenings

Winter days can be long. Stuck indoors when the cold wind bites soft little cheeks and reddens tender noses. Days made longer when Daddy's days at work get him out of the house before little ones are out of bed, and home again after they're down for the night. No one to interrupt the day with "Daddy's home!!" and a half-hour of romping and growling and laughter and squeals. Evenings can feel daunting, the question, "Mom, what do you want to do with me now?" coming, coming again, challenging. Can I fill the time with creativity, warmth, fun? Energy dwindles, but my eyes quickly scan the list of ideas on the side of the fridge. This is precious time. Three little ones...the simplest things entertain. They really just want time together. Attention, touch, ideas to think about.

Tonight began with a recent favorite: flashlight hide-and-seek. The house goes dark (maybe a night light here or there), the seeker holds flashlight in lap while the hiders find dark corners and shout their readiness. Then, before seeker has a chance to wonder where they are, hider is squealing, "Help me! Help me!" from the hiding spot. The game moves fast when players are 5 and 3 years old.
When the game wore down, I dug out needle and thread and mended baby girl's favorite shoe broken by 5 year old boy's long foot. As I stitched, 5 year old boy gathered library books for a final reading before our trip for more tomorrow morning. First a few rounds of Raindrop's new favorite games, the classic ball with shapes. She doesn't ever seem to tire of it.
I let boys "help" make bread...when I do, it helps me appreciate the next times without their involvement. I had started to take those times for granted.

Other ideas from my list on the fridge of things to do together:

  • make cookies
  • make Thank You cards (paper, pictures cut from magazines, glue sticks, scissors, tape... not exactly a dreaded chore...)
  • finger knitting (make a simple chain with fingers and yarn...hasn't caught on yet, but I'll keep trying)
  • paint (watercolors)
  • read new magazine (Christopher Robin gets Clubhouse Jr., Peanut Butter gets Your Big Backyard, thoughtful gifts from my sister to her nephews)
  • sing songs
  • write a letter (both boys enthusiastically draw pictures so they can put them in envelopes and put stamps on them to send in the mail to people who matter to them)
  • take walk along snowmobile trail (a daytime, not evening, activity, since evenings are dark. Involves this mama pulling three young ones in a sled through the woods...a lovely adventure when the weather is kind and the snow is firm.)
  • do puzzles...this used to be a problem time; boys on stools at the kitchen island, 100 piece puzzles safely out of reach of baby sister's intentional trouble-making, baby sister below or in my arms, loudly discontent to be left out. Last time was better. I pulled out one of her small wooden puzzles and set her in a chair on the other side of the island. I alternated helping each of them with their puzzles, and thereby maintained a relative peace and happiness throughout.

Other ideas? I would welcome them.

1 comment:

Autumn said...

What a great list of things to occupy young minds and fill long evenings with fun!