I've been chatting with some fellow Mommies lately about "Mommy Guilt" for failure to come up with sufficiently creative and educational activities for our toddlers, and the consensus seems to be that while some people have an amazing skill for this task, others of us, not so much, and, thankfully, our children don't seem to be any worse of as a result. Accordingly, I am hereby abandoning future educational efforts and turning my child's educational and creative future over to those who have a clue as to what they're doing.
I should probably mention that, yes, I have TRIED to be "Fun, Clever Teaching Mom," but the record suggests it is not just not in my genetic code. You be the judge:
1. Flashcards. I bought flashcards for Monkey with colors, shapes, and various objects. Monkey, in turn, has perfected the game of "[insert number of cards here]-Card Pickup."
2 Educational Videos. "The Letter Factory" has been met with "eh" reviews, but at least the entire video has been allowed to play once or twice. Monkey's response to "Meet the Numbers" was somewhat less enthusiastic: "Wiggles! Wiggles! I want Wiggles!! PLAY WIGGLES NOW!!"
3. Crafts. Despite Monkey's willingness to wear a smock for almost all crafting activities, Mommy's "mess" factor isn't quite ready for much yet. Play-Doh is a good way to kill about 15 minutes, until Monkey starts to eat the dough. I know it's non-toxic, but I'm not ready to encourage snacking on it. Crayons are OK. Unfortunately, however, Monkey doesn't like to share, so it's not a good joint activity, because Mommy's desire to use the red crayon is inevitably followed by Monkey's NEED to have "MY crayon." But at least most of the crayon stays on the page. And the table. And very rarely has it ended up on the walls. Or the, um, TV. Yeah, rarely. And those Dot Markers? Monkey likes to take the caps on and off, and put the markers in his mouth. I just don't feel like we have a future artist on our hands...
4. Magnets. Mommy bought a fun bucket of letters and a magnetic board to put the letters on to spell different words. Monkey's version of this game is to (a) dump all of the magnets on the floor, or (b) grab the magnets from Mommy and insist on putting them away. At almost no time are they actually on the board.
5. Cooking. Mommy has tried to make mealtime more interesting by letting Monkey "help" cook. Sometimes this is successful. Other times, not so much. Case in point: While making spaghetti, Mommy thought Monkey might be able to participate by breaking up the spaghetti noodles. Since it wouldn't be safe to have him put them into the boiling water, Mommy got out a big tupperware container, put in a handful of dried noodles, and showed Monkey how to break them in half. What followed was a shower of broken noodle fragments that I am sure we will be finding the remains of for days to come.
I'm sure there are a few others, but I appear to have (perhaps thankfully) repressed my memories of them.
On the plus side, everyday life seems to be teaching Monkey a ton whether I mean for it to or not. For example:
1. After a couple of trips to the zoo, Monkey is very interested in animals right now, and particularly in learning how to make their various sounds. His favorite is the lion, but he also enjoys monkey, cow, rooster, duck, and dog. We're still working on bird, cat, frog, and a few others, but he's a fast learner. He also loves to tell me about "dolphins jumping out of water" after seeing the dolphin show twice now, and also still talks about the "elephant getting a bath." Awesome.
2. Colors. We've pretty much got the basics down: Yellow, red, blue, green, purple, yellow (a/k/a orange), yellow (a/k/a brown), and yellow (a/k/a white). Can you guess what Monkey's favorite color is??
3. Name that Tune. If they ever bring this show back with a special Wiggles edition, Monkey will no doubt be crowned champion. He has an uncanny ability to tell me what song is coming up about two seconds into the song or video. But perhaps this isn't brag-worthy?