Monday, January 21, 2008

Ariel's Grotto- Part 1

So the other night after enduring two nights of Sister crying every ten minutes from 8:30 until 10:00 PM (Mommy, help! There is a cat under my bed!.... Mommy! Mommy! A giant is coming to get me! Etc.) I bought her a night-light, tucked her in and gave her a little pep-talk about how Daddy and I protect her at night, how God watches over her, how there is nothing to be scared of, etc. Then I casually said something like, “And if you do a good job tonight and go to sleep without fussing, maybe I’ll get you a little treat at the store.” Really, that was just a thoughtless little whisper. She was already lying down, and probably didn't even hear me.

Well, miracle of miracles, we had a great night! Didn’t hear a peep out of her until the next morning when she calls out, “Mommy! I had a great night! I ready to go to the store!”
“Um, what??” Note to self: Playing dumb with a 3-year old doesn’t work.
She was very persistent. “I did good sleepin’! You take me to the store now!”
Me and my big mouth. I’m sure the night-light would have done the trick. Why did I add the bribe? I’ve GOT to stop doing that! My parenting philosophy does not include bribing my children to do things with material rewards! And yet, I find myself saying these things in desperation, and then I’ve got to honor my word.
So, next thing I know, we’re driving down the road to Target. (She was convinced that I had told her we could go to Target.) And the whole way, I’m giving her little speeches about how we’re only going to get a small treat, like a piece of candy, and she needs to be a good sleeper from now on, etc. Yeah- I’m on a great parenting binge, here.
Thirty minutes later she walks out of Target clutching a brand new Glitter Disney Princess Ariel doll to her chest, a huge smile on her face. But wait! Before you injure yourself with your eye rolling, let me explain.
Once we got in the store, I just didn’t have the heart to wheel her over to the candy aisle. I simply can’t push tooth-rotting junk candy on my child. So we wandered around the store, looking for something fabulous (in her mind) and cheap (in my mind) and hopefully without lead paint (impossible to tell, of course.) In reality, such an item does not really exist. As we walked past the toy department (I really didn’t intend to buy her a toy) she saw the glitter princess display on an end-cap and they were on sale. "Only" $7.00. She fell in love, and I couldn’t resist. So much for a small treat. But honestly, does a 3-year old really understand the difference between a $1.00 piece of candy and a $7.00 doll? In her economy, they are both “treats.”
So, to make up for all that crappy parenting, I thought that at least we could have some hands-on art time and make a creative home for Ariel.

Now, I have not yet been bold enough to use real Tempera paint during our crafting time ever since Brother got mobile. But all you artsy-craftsy blogging mamas have inspired me, and I decided that one of the main reasons we rented this house was because it was so “lived-in” and child-friendly. Time to bust out the paint!
I got one of our moving boxes, cut off the flaps, and set it on the middle of a vinyl tablecloth with a bowl of blue paint and three brushes. The goal was to paint our “ocean box” so we could decorate it later when the paint dried.
I guess I’ll say it went well. But, man, can a 19-month old make some mess with paint! 5 minutes into our painting I had to strip off Brother's clothes. 15 minutes into it he was covered. I just kept taking deep breaths and telling myself, “This will clean up. This will clean up. Relax. This will clean up.”
By the time we had finished there was blue paint on the splat mat, on every piece of clothing we were wearing, on the floor, and all over Brother. I mean, ALL OVER Brother! (The photo doesn't show the ENORMOUS GLOB right between his eyes!) But I’m glad I did it. These are the kinds of experiences I want my kids to have, mess or no mess.
And Sister had a blast. She did so great painting the box- and telling me all the things she was going to put inside. “Fish! And a treasure box! And a bed! And a farm!” A farm? OK- whatever.
I feel sorry for her sometimes because she's so ready for these art experiences, but I hold her back because of Brother. He's just such a mess! It makes me wonder how Amanda does it with her tribe of younglings. Maybe her book will explain.

I’ll post again and let you see the finished product.


Renee :) said...

Hi Susan!Thanks for visiting my blog & leaving a comment! :) I wish I could go back in time & do those things with my daughters when they were little,so now I'm trying to make up for it now before it's too late.I used to always worry about making big messes with paint,etc. but it's not like it couldn't have been cleaned up.I just wish I would have done more crafty things with my girls when they were smaller,but that's why you make the present better than the past right?Well,anyways,glad you had fun with the kids,spending time with them is way more important than keeping a house spotless 24/7!

bigbucketgirl said...

Your life sounds like mine! Your post had me laughing and laughing..and i particularly loved the comment about not injuring ourselves by eye rolling!
My 2 yr 5mth old son is having difficulty staying in his bed at bedtime. Once he's asleep he's fine but he's reluctant to stay there. Last week HE suggested a "peasant" for "shcayin". (A present for staying!) What is my world coming to! My husband thought that was priceless and almost agreed to his demands. Unfortunately I was the mumma from hell and said No, turned on his cd and walked out. I hadn't got to the bottom of the stairs before he was on the landing saying "Mumma say No" !! He had his hands on his hips at the time!
Oh the joys of parenting at bedtime!
Hope things get easier with Ariel around!

Susan said...

Thanks for the comments ladies! It's always great to hear from other Mamas. Glad I'm not alone in the bedtime wars. And Renee, thanks for the encouragement to be messy!