Friday, September 9, 2011

Week 4 - Ode to organised activities

Organised activities provide structure and meaning to life

Playgroup resumed last week and play session this week. Now the jigsaw puzzle of my week is complete. Do not underestimate the importance of organised activities. They provide form and structure to weeks that might otherwise stretch from here to eternity.

I’m approaching this wonky daddy day care journey much as I would a Contiki tour – with less drinking but as much weeing in the bushes and throwing up beside the road. Anyone can do Monday/London - Tuesday/Paris - Wednesday/Madrid. Much harder to survive Monday/play session - Tuesday/swimming lessons - Friday/playgroup.

There are no days at leisure on a Contiki tour – just long periods dozing in a coach sleeping off last night’s hangover. At least I have Wednesdays and Thursdays at leisure while the boys are at pre-school/childcare. But only until the wrist heals and I am passed medically fit to work. Until then, I have this wonky day care log to compile, and a dinner to prepare with one hand.

One wee and three tears

Play session is a two-hour extravaganza of age-appropriate activities organised by early childhood students at our local TAFE. The Complicated One loves the painting, colouring and craft, and chatting with the student teachers. The Big Fella loves the sand pit, digging in mud, and toy cars. Both enjoy role play in the cubby house – cooking pretend meals and setting the table.

Play session is not run at every TAFE, but it’s worth searching out for the variety of activities your kids will love at a nominal charge that parents will love, plus the warm inner glow of helping to train tomorrow’s early childhood professionals.

The Big Fella only wees in his pants once and bursts into tears three times – so not a bad morning. At least his wee is conveniently and accessibly located outdoors, so dad is happy. A bucket of water splashed across the path, a quick change of clothes and we’re back in business. Much easier than tunnelling inside a plastic playground pipe.

As for the tears, those come when he loses sight of me. Must be first week back anxiety, as he is usually quite independent. His tears prompt students to come scurrying down the pub in search of me.

Actually, I am only at toilet, not the pub. I don’t take the kids to the pub until after lunch. In fact, I can’t recall the last time I was in a pub. Sigh.

Science experiment

The Complicated One is heavily into craft and science. His favourite TV shows are Mr Maker on ABC2 and Backyard Science on ABC3. He latest experiment involved filling a plastic bag (those flimsy ones from the supermarket fruit and veges section) with all kinds of craft items. After a period of ominous silence, he walks up to me in the kitchen with a bag filled with three coloured paddle pop sticks, two pipe cleaners, plastic glittery balls, googly eyes and coloured feathers, all floating in a pool of water.

“Now all I need is some blue and yellow food dye to make green, and some salt.” I nod as if I understand exactly what’s he’s doing. “Then we just need to leave it to rise.” I haven’t the heart to tell him that ‘rising’ usually requires yeast, or self raising flour at the very least.

“OK, now we can hang it from the clothes line in the cubby house.” I look at him doubtfully. “It’s OK dad, I can do it.” And off he trots down the back stairs. I await developments.

I’m loving…

The Big Fella running over my foot as he pushes a toy stroller around the house. He says “Sorry daddy” in his sweetest voice, bends down and kisses my toes better, then proceeds on his way.

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