Listening to Jude sing along to the VeggieTales theme song makes me smile. Every.single.time.
Listening to Jude sing along to the VeggieTales theme song makes me smile. Every.single.time.
Now that the weather’s turning cool (and rainy-boo), Jude and I have been stuck indoors more than I would like. Because we’re (almost) condemned to playing indoors all the time, Jude has been watching a fair number of movies per day, and I’ve been having a bit of an internal struggle over that fact. I honestly do believe that children are capable of self-regulating when it comes to pretty much everything: tv, food, video games. Some kids are simply visual learners–they get a lot out of tv shows, movies, and video/computer games. Even though I *know* all that, I was still questioning my not even two-and-a-half year old’s self-regulating ability. Some days he doesn’t even *think* about movies, let alone ask to watch one. Other days, all he wants to do is watch, watch, watch. We’ve been in that “watch, watch, watch” phase for a couple of weeks now, I think in part because of the crummy weather.
In light of our present situation, I recently asked for indoor play suggestions from the people who are on a Unschooling listserv I’m a part of. I got some great suggestions for toys and for different ways for Jude to experience the kind of “big movement” play that he gets outdoors, indoors. Regarding the amount of screen time he’s engaging in, I got what I think is the best piece of advice ever in the history of the world:
“Make sure that the tv/dvd player isn’t the most “sparkly” option in the house.”
So simple, yet so true. Of course the “toy” that plays fun songs and depicts cool-looking talking vegetables is going to get the most attention. I mean, honestly, if you give me the choice of either putting a puzzle together or watching an episode of Firefly, I’ll pick Firefly every time. Or 99% of the time, at least. (I <3 Nathan Fillion.)
Josh and I talked and decided to go shopping for some sparkly, hands-on toys for Jude. What we came home with… well, what we came home with is a ball pit big enough for two children. Also, three hundred (300!!!) plastic balls! Oh! And an indoor sandbox (filled with rice) and a new Play-Doh set. I can’t begin to describe how big a hit these new toys have been.
Jude loves playing in, under, and on top of the ball pit (though we try to discourage the “on top of” part). He loves throwing the plastic balls and putting them in boxes. He loves dumping all three hundred of them on the floor. Jude does not love picking the balls up at the end of the day. This doesn’t surprise me.
The rice/sandbox gets used on the counter while Jude stands happily on his Learning Tower. Sometimes we put a sheet down on the floor and put the box on top of it and the yoga mat along side it. Jude will sit on the yoga mat and play with the rice for minutes upon minutes! The sheet underneath makes for easy cleanup. It’s wonderful I tell ya!
Play-Doh is always a hit around these parts, and this Picnic Set is no different. Jude has finally started experimenting with using more than one color of Play-Doh at a time, and though we no longer have any of the true colors we started with, it makes me happy to see him combining colors and making new things.
So, needless to say, we’ve been having a great time playing at home lately. Earlier today, we hosted a play date at our house, and saying the kids had a blast might be the understatement of the year, but more on that later. Right now it’s lunch time, and my son will not be kept waiting!
Hope everyone’s enjoying Autumn!
For a while, Jude was stuck on “VeggieTales Radio.” Then he only wanted to listen to two different VeggieTales Silly Songs… compilation CDs. Now… well, now I’m forced to listen to The Incredible Singing Christmas Tree over and over again, day in and day out. I’ve been suffering for about a week now. I don’t know how much longer I can take it.
If you asked my husband, he would probably say I’m getting what I deserve. I tend to start listening to Christmas music in the middle of October (or November 1st, at the very latest) each year, much to his dismay. If it were up to him, he wouldn’t hear a Christmas-themed tune until December 24th; because of me, he gets at least two months of non-stop Christmasy goodness every year.
On the upside, Jude will occasionally tolerate listening to either the Blue or Red Weezer albums. When that happens, I crank up the volume, break out the white-girl dance moves, and pray that Troublemaker will somehow replace Jingle Ka-Chinge as the song that’s stuck in my head.
Your Papa has begged me to stop calculating your age in months. He thinks that now that you’ve turned 2 years old, I should simply say “He’s two,” when the question is asked. But, as I’m sure you’ve picked up by now, Mama loves to drive Papa crazy, so 25 months it is!
Your 25-month birthday came at the end of nine days of non-stop one-on-one time with yours truly. Papa had to lead a mission trip to New Orleans, which meant that you and I were left in each other’s care for more than a week. Eight out of those nine days were absolutely wonderful. We did a lot of fun stuff–played at the park, splashed around at Millennium Park‘s Crown Fountain, enjoyed local produce at Chicago’s Green City Market… the list goes on and on.
You’ve recently started counting to ten without prompting and without encouragement. You like to count, “One, two, THREE!” and JUMP while walking with me around the neighborhood. Your affinity for VeggieTales and Silly Song with Larry has only gotten stronger over the past 30 days or so. Occasionally, after having listened to “Larry Radio” for three or four hours straight, I fantasize about sticking screwdrivers in my ears. Mostly though, I just love watching you dance and listening to you sing along to all your favorite songs.
I’ve been really grateful for your help around the house lately. You love to help me by hoisting the dirty laundry UP and into the washer and you follow me around with the Swiffer broom and take care of everything I miss with the regular broom. You haven’t quite figured out that emptying the contents of your snack cup onto the floor doesn’t really help me, but I’m sure you’ll get there. Sooner or later.
You’re going through spurts of playing by yourself more and more. You like to “read” through your books after Papa or I read them to you. Recently, you’ve become interested in painting and other arts and crafts type things, and with your new-found creativity, you made Papa a really great piece of art for Father’s Day. At night, you tell Papa and I that you want to sleep (“seep”), and then you promptly get into bed and lay your head down on my pillow. And, speaking of sleep, you’ve been doing that like a champ lately (*knocks wood*). For that, I thank you.
Every day is a new adventure with you, Jude. Your understanding, your athleticism, and your ability to communicate have increased so much over the past month that I’m left in awe of you at every turn. I love you, Monkey, and I’m on the edge of my seat waiting to see the next amazing thing you do.
Well, okay, not exactly evil, but today I employed the use of the almighty DVD so that I could finish (re)reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. There. I admitted it. I used VeggieTales as a babysitter. Guilty as charged.
But back on the topic of Harry Potter, I have to say that even after this, my fourth read-through of the final installment of the HP series, I still feel unsatisfied. The Dumbledore of book seven didn’t read like the Dumbledore of the previous six. The final battle, while grand, didn’t unite the houses, though the Sorting Hat asserted that harmony between them was crucial in this, the fight against evil. We saw little of Snape and even less of Ginny, who I think we all assumed was going to be a great asset to Harry in defeating Voldemort. *sigh* The magic just wasn’t there for me this time around.
In non-HP news, Jude and I had another really nice day together. We read and cooked; napped and walked; hugged and wrestled. I’m relieved that, for the time being at least, Jude seems to be feeling good–well-rested, well-fed, and well, heard. My goal for tomorrow is, weather permitting, to get out to the park right after breakfast. We spent just a little time there this afternoon, but the number of kids there (especially older kids) overwhelmed this mama, and we abandoned the playground quickly in favor of a walk around the neighborhood.
How did you spend your Tuesday?
We don’t own a television. We had one when we lived in PA, but we didn’t have cable or even basic, so most of what we watched we streamed online (usually on hulu). When we made the decision to move to Chicago, we also decided that we were going to sell our TV. Neither Josh nor I want Jude to spend his days watching cartoons. Plus, if there was a television show we wanted to watch, we could likely watch it online, and if we wanted to watch a movie, we could use our laptop’s DVD player.
All was going well. Then, Jude and I got sick. He was miserable and cranky; I was tired and on edge. I went over to YouTube and found some short VeggieTales videos to watch. That’s when the addiction began, and honestly, it has only escalated since then. First it was 5-minute music video clips, then it was 30-minute shows. Next it was the 45-minute movie the Lord of the Beans. Now Jude regularly requests the 1 hour and 20 minute VeggieTales movie Jonah. It makes me sad. I know it’s not good for him and that I’m taking the easy way out.
So, I’m done.
Today, as soon as I hit ‘publish’ on this post, the laptop is getting hidden away in my closet. I’ll bring it back out tonight when Jude goes to sleep, but until then, it has to remain out of sight. It’s going to be 70freakingdegrees outside today. We don’t need to waste our time inside watching a movie for the eleventy-billionth time. It’s simply unnecessary.
So, wish me luck, people of the internets. Hopefully Jude and I will be able to kick the TV habit more easily than I was (un)able to kick my coffee addiction. Cross your fingers.