You know that time of day where your child turns into a demon, your phone starts ringing and the uncooked supper screams at you from the fridge? For me, that hellish point in the day always arrives at around 4pm. *BANG* – it hits us like a train.
One of the hardest things I find at this time is multi-tasking; answering the phone, while juggling a tantrumming toddler on one hip and cutting up an onion with one hand. Anyone with children will tell you – it’s a hard job to occupy a toddler while cooking. Especially if that cooking involves more than just bunging something in the oven.
I experienced a revelation today though. 4pm arrived and there was no sign of the metamorphosis from angel to demon in my beautiful child. She remained happy, calm and content. She occupied herself and didn’t once asked to be lifted up, to “help”, to have “CHOC CHOC!” or for ketchup to be smothered over her uncooked supper.
And it’s all down to one thing.
In a miraculous change from the norm, my two and half year old fell fast asleep on the way home from nursery today. She was totally zonked, to the point where she didn’t even wake up as I carried her from the car to the sofa.
While she slept, I used the time to chuck a couple of loads of washing in the machine and catch up with my emails. But an hour passed and still she didn’t wake. So rather than nap myself (I don’t trust myself to wake up again before the following morning if I do that) I made some no cook play dough, courtesy of The Imagination Tree.
I polished off my Perfect Mother halo and wiped down Frog’s little play table, before placing the play dough, some cookie cutters, cupcake pots and spoons, along with a little teapot on the table.
When my toddler woke, I wasn’t stressed at the thought of dealing with a grumpy child while cooking our evening meal. Instead, I let her gently come to before wandering into the kitchen to discover her little play scene all laid out before her.
For once, I actually felt like a half decent mum. You know, the ones that are actually organised and arrange activities for their kids before they get bored and whingey?
With a gasp of excitement, Frog got to work playing. She made cakes, cut up cookies, talked about the shapes she was making, sang Happy Birthday and pretty much escaped into her own little world for a good half an hour.
It might stick on your shoes and the glitter might need sweeping off the floor, but I’m telling you – play dough is the way to go. I’ll take sticky shoes over a grumpy toddler and burnt supper any day.