In case you didn't know, it's been raining here for a month. I'm not kidding you. I'm not exaggerating. I'm not being hormonal or dramatic. A month. We've had about 4 or 5 days within that 30 that have been sunny or partly sunny but only about two that have been hot and felt anything like summer, which is the season we're supposed to be enjoying.
Needless to say, when it's raining non-stop and you have a 6 and 2 year old to entertain and are feeling pretty darn pregnant you run out of ideas fast. I'm also not the Martha Stewart type, I have no history of being a preschool teacher, I have very little to draw from here to help inspire or entertain my children. There I said it. I dream of being that mom. Of being able to create an obstacle course through the house, an amazing craft project that the boys want to do for hours, a marathon reading session where I don' t move from the couch for hours as we plow our way through a mountain of library books - yes, I dream of this fantasy woman often. She's my dream girl. The reality is that I have two boys who have plenty of energy and who do play together pretty well considering the almost four year age gap BUT they also are known for playing too rough with each other, for fighting over the same toys and for being kids. In Fantasy Mama's world the children probably never fight, except maybe over who gets to clean up the craft supplies. But back to reality - in our world we've been relying way too heavily on the tv and the computer to see us through these gray summer days. And a huge part of me feels very guilty about that. (hence the post)
It's not to say that when it's sunny out the kids never watch TV or play computer games. We use our electronics everyday. I'm not going to lie to you. But, the last month it feels like our days have centered around what we'd like to watch more than anything else. We got rid of our digital cable a few months ago so the only kid friendly channel we have is PBS now. I have to say, it doesn't cut back on the amount that the boys watch, but what they watch has become much more tolerable for me. I think Ben will disagree and make a point that we now watch a lot more Dora the Explorer because Nate borrows at least one from the library every week, but at least we're not on lock-down in the living room from 9-9:30 everyday because she's on Nick Jr. Ben has discovered a bunch of Arthur episodes on Netflix and both boys enjoyed watching The Muppets this morning. So, i can't say it's horrible. I don't hate my TV and in fact I'm very grateful for it right now. But I do strive to become that Fantasy Mama, at least in small ways. I want to encourage my kids to play with their playroom full of toys, to ask to do craft projects, to bring me stacks of books (this one they do, just usually at bedtime not throughout the day). So, a part of me feels like I should really just unplug the damn tv. Remove it as an option and see what happens.
I think both boys would really do fine. Ben has enough passion for building with Legos that he wouldn't notice for a while and Nate is easy to entertain with other activities - it's just a matter of me having the energy to facilitate these activities. I'm about to enter the third trimester and I'm hearing a lot of "Take it easy, just relax," and yes I see that, and I appreciate it. I also realize that after this baby comes earthside the fatigue I feel now will seem like being high on speed. I can also gurantee that once this baby is here, I will NOT have the energy or even capacity to think of setting up a craft for the boys, or reading them more than one book without falling asleep and so that's all the more motivation to do more for them now while I can. I can be present right now and if they watch Caillou in between my small burst of energy that's not the worst thing that could happen.
I guess the lesson here is to do what works and if something stop working, look at why. For now, for my family, this setup is working ok. It needs some tweaking that's for certain. I'm doing the best that I can for all of us now though and if the sun ever comes out again I know I'll feel more empowered and I know that we will be out of this house and away from the glowing screens that provide the only bright light in our world right now. I'm going to check the forecast, fingers crossed!