A Great Big Box

Our bin broke a little while ago. Not seriously – just the catch on the lid and we could still get it to close by kind of wedging it down under the rim. My solution to this was to carry on with it, but Mr Techno decided enough was enough and bought us a new bin. But not from the B&Q just down the road. Or any of the many small local shops who sell household items. Nope. He decided to order one online instead.

It arrived on Wednesday (whilst I was in waiting on the shelves which are still nowhere to be found), in the biggest box I have ever seen. Getting it up the stairs was a real challenge. Once up in the flat, it took up half our living room.

Clearly, this was too good an opportunity to ignore.

The box was a wonderful prop for our lazy weekend. Tom spent most of Saturday morning playing in it. I cut a little entrance way, which makes me think a bit of a drawbridge, so he could get in and out by himself. Which just made it even funnier.
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Since he was having so much fun, I decided the box could stay…just not in the living room. After a lot of maneuvering, I managed to get it in the corner of his room that used to be occupied by his blanket fort. Believe me, it was not easy getting it there, especially with Tom ‘helping’. And it does still block the bottom draw of his chest of draws (which only contains clothes that are currently too big, so isn’t really a problem). But I thought it looked pretty good, especially once I had moved his fleece in there. Cosy.

Of course, Tom hasn’t glanced at it once since I moved it. Still, it was good fun whilst it lasted.

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When Clocks Stop, Fun Starts

I have to admit to being ever so slightly controlling when it comes to time. Much as I would love to be an instinctive, child-led, responsive parent, I tend to have half an eye on the clock throughout the day. And, though I think that a daily routine is important in helping both children and adults feel more secure, eat better, sleep better, and manage change better, I do find that our routine has a tendency to err a bit too much towards the strict schedule side of things, which I am less comfortable with.

This week though, everything has been different. This is because my watch battery has run flat and I have been too disorganised busy to sort out a replacement. I would have thought that I would be lost without the constant reassurance of knowing what time it is, but in fact it has been rather freeing. It’s not as though I don’t have access to other clocks – there’s one on my phone, one in our living room, one in our bedroom, and one on any computer I happen to be sat at. There’s even one in Tom’s room. So I still have a vague idea what time it is, but am less able to check every minute and plan our day down to the last second. Which means we are operating much more to a nice gentle routine, and less to a military-style schedule.

Tom and I spent a lovely day together last Wednesday. It’s usually our family day, but Mr Techno has been busy with the opening of the new restaurant and has been around less during the week than usual (we did get him over the weekend instead though, which was both unusual and lovely). So I really wanted to make it a fun day for just the two of us, which are far and few between now I’m up to four days of work.

I put Tom in the sling and we headed to the playground in Millfield Park, which has the most amazing sandpit. Or I thought it was amazing at least. Tom was more interested in the ramp up to it – he was so proud of himself for being able to manage the slope and went up and down it over and over again. Then we played hide and seek around the little house for a bit and he had a go on the swings.

We left the playground and walked up the path back into the main park. Which caused a bit of an argument. Tom was absolutely adamant that he wanted to go play with the cars. No, not toys ones, the fast, dangerous, very big ones on the road. Unsurprisingly, I was not up for this plan, so a few minutes were spent picking him up, carrying him away, having him scream in anger, and then chasing him as he ran back towards the road.

Usually our day out would have ended at this point, with me checking my watch and deciding we had spent long enough outside. But with no watch to give me an excuse, I stuck it out longer than I would normally. And I am so glad I did. Because the running-chasing-and-carrying-away turned from a tantrum-causing event to an amazing game. I’m not entirely sure how it happened – one minute Tom was arching his back and having a shout every time I picked him up, and the next he was running away giggling and waiting for me to shout ‘I’m coming to get you’. Which was his signal to stop dead still and wait for me to come grab him and spin him round in circles. We played for at least an hour, until we were both exhausted. It was lovely.

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Windy Day Play

The rain may have cleared, but Sunday was still pretty grey. When we went to the park in the morning, the wind was blowing so strongly that it actually knocked Tom over a couple of times.

Clearly there was nothing to do but to embrace the wind and turn it into our play theme for the day. Whilst Tom napped, I scoured the house for some suitable equipment. I gathered together some ribbons, a light silky scarf, some bubble mix we got given as a favour at a recent friend’s wedding, and Wind by Carol Thompson, a book we were given free at Tom’s one year review (I love it. Mr Techno…doesn’t). I attached one of the ribbons to a kitchen spoon with some sticky tape, with the idea that this might make it easier for Tom to hold.

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When he woke, we headed out to find a suitably exposed spot on the Marshes (and a fairly quiet one – the fewer people who witness me dancing around with ribbons the better!)

We quickly discovered two flaws with the plan: 1) Tom is still too little to be able to hold the ribbons high enough for the wind to blow them, and 2) Trying to take photos whilst simultaneously waving ribbons in the wind is damn near impossible. After a bit of tickling Tom with the ribbons, we gave up with them and attached them to the buggy instead, where they blew around merrily every time a gust caught them up.

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The scarf was more successful. Tom loves the parachute game that is sometimes played at toddler groups, so this was a good variation to do with just the two of us. He giggled happily as the scarf flew out in the wind and came down to settle over his head.

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The big success of the day was the bubbles. Tom loves them when we play at home, but the wind sent bubbles speeding off in all directions, making him whoop with excitement. Sadly he hasn’t quite worked out how to blow them himself yet, but it is only a matter of time.

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Tom then found the book in the bottom of the buggy, so we settled down in the grass for a read, the wind providing fitting accompaniment to the sound effects in the book. We tossed handfuls of leaves into the air as we read, illustrating the ‘rustling’ and ‘snatching’.

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Mixed success with the materials, but I can see us repeating this again on windy days. The ribbons may have to wait until he’s a bit older though!

Do you have any top tips for windy day activities for our next adventure?

Monkey and Mouse