There Will Be Boredom.

If you’ve ever had a little toddler, you can imagine the scene.

We begin our walk on the trail that wraps behind the houses on our quiet little court.  A walk that any functioning adult can make in under five minutes.  At a leisurely pace.  I follow Tayler’s lead, embracing the sunshine on my face and the opportunity to get out of the house on this picturesque spring day.  A walk sounds perfect. Three feet onto the trail, she stops and sits to pick up some pebbles on the edge of a neighbor’s landscaping.  After picking them up and dropping them seventeen times, she’s back on her feet and sprinting.  Ten feet later she veers off the trail into a neighbor’s yard to pet their dog we’ve never met.  I swoop her up.  Back on the trail, and she sits on the pavement.  For no apparent reason. The sit turns into a full lay down.  Eventually back on her feet. Squirrel! Two more feet.  She turns and begins to run back the other way.  After some chasing and redirection, I’m given false hope we might just make it around the court.  Twenty feet later.  Bird! She’s off into a brush I’m convinced contains poison ivy.  Five more feet.  Moss is picked at and rubbed in her fingers. Wispy dandelion seeds are in her mouth.  Fifteen more feet.  Back the other way.  Redirected.  Cat! She found a pile of sticks.  Three more feet, and the sticks turn to weapons annihilating all within a two foot radius. Dropped them, and sprinting. Cars in the street!

Thirty seven minutes later, we make it around the court. Every ounce of my being is spent.

I feel so guilty for not enjoying it more. “So many moms would kill to be home out walking with their children!”.  I know.  And most days I do enjoy our walks.  Most days I’m sitting down with her, poking at moss with sticks right next to her.  Faking insane levels of excitement over the sight of every bird.  And bringing things to her attention to feel the different textures in her surroundings.  Today is not that day.  Today I am mind-numbingly bored.  But surely I don’t tell anyone that, because that would make me a horrible mom, right?

Later that day I’m watching my husband hold my daughter at the kitchen table as she plays with magnets on a cookie sheet.  His efforts at pointing out any letters or numbers out are fruitless.  She’d rather just see how quickly she can mess them all up.  I mean, that is more fun.  He sits there for several minutes, until finally he’s wide eyed and laughing with a look of exasperation smeared on his face.  “Oh my goddd this is so boring!”.  He had no shame in it.  He owned it.  And he had no idea that he had just given me a great gift.  Unknowingly, he let me know it was OK to be bored at times. To not always be “on”.  To not always feign excitement and think every little thing we do together is the most fun we’ve ever had.  He’d been there for just a few minutes, but he was bored, and that was OK.

Now mind you, I’m not complaining. I will take every bit of boredom if it means I get to stay home with her everyday.  And most of the time I think we both do a pretty darn good job of engaging her, being present with her, and genuinely playing at her level.  But MAN, there are just some times when I’m certain time has stood still and I’d rather watch another episode of Sofia the First than stack up the cups one. more. time.

And that’s OK.

I’m not a horrible mom.  I’m an adult.  With a brain. That likes to be exercised.  Sometimes I just like to finish a task in its entirety. And every now and then, by the seventy third time I am told to eat fake cereal off a plastic spoon – I’m spent.  Out of my mind spent.

Thank you, sweet husband, for making it OK to be bored sometimes.  I will tell anyone wholly and emphatically how much I genuinely love being home every day with our sweet girl, and how she’s managed to fill every crevice and nook inside my heart.  But some days, at some times, there will be boredom.  The, “I HAVE to go pretend to use the upstairs bathroom for a long period of time so I can text a friend and play Sudoku or I might DIIIIE right here on the playroom floor” boredom.  And that’s OK.  🙂

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Incorporating Music Daily & Into Routines

As an adult, music is something that can soothe your soul, express emotions we ourselves couldn’t verbalize, and there is no greater satisfaction than when the perfect song to match your current mood comes on.  It moves us, binds us, allows for endless creativity, and knows no language boundaries.  With all of these wonderful benefits we reap, we have to remember that they apply to newborns, infants, toddlers, and children as well.

First, why its so important to incorporate music into the daily routines of your children:

  • It helps bond you and your child.  Whether its dancing in the kitchen to your favorite classics or the lullaby you sing (despite the quality of the performance) each night at bedtime, its a connection that benefits you both
  • Music is sometimes part of the therapy for premature babies as research links it to weight gain
  • Upbeat tunes can chase away the blues and soft music can help soothe an upset baby to sleep
  • Music is linked to having a crucial role in the “wiring” your baby’s brain for learning
  • It promotes critical listening, creativity, and coordination
  • Music exposes children to early language and literacy skills
  • Your child learns about beat, rhythm, and tone
  • Music can become a form of expression for children before they are able to talk
  • Music is the most natural way for children to explore their environment.  You have probably seen this as your little one makes up rhymes in the bath, hums as they play with trucks, or dances as you sing in the kitchen
  • It can raise your child’s self-esteem and confidence
  • It can have several added benefits in terms of independence (among other things) for children with disabilities or autism
  • The jury is still out on studies linking music to making children smarter, but research does show that it links profoundly to brain development

Convinced? I hope so!

Don’t save music solely for lullabies at bed time.  It can be incorporated in fun ways all day long!

One way I want to talk about is how to include music into your daily happenings and routines.  If we know anything about kids, its that they thrive off consistency, routine, and knowing what to expect next.  Our routines help our babies learn self-control, guide positive behavior, develop social skills, foster independence, and reduce power struggles.  Just to name a few!  Why not incorporate music into these routines we do daily? Make these events such as nap time, bath time, clean up, snack time, and brushing our teeth fun by using a song to accompany them – make it something they look forward to!

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I simply made two playlists on my iPhone – one full of all sorts of fun songs we sing and dance to as we play throughout the day, and one that has songs to go along with some of the daily activities we do (as well as songs about letters, shapes, months of the year, etc).  I also made CD’s of them so I can easily play them in her playroom if I need my phone elsewhere.

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ITunes has a huge selection of songs to choose from, and most are reasonably priced.  I got 150 children’s songs by the Kiboomers for $7.99! (Mind you, not all of them made the playlist, but most are good – especially for that price!).  The Wonder Kids also had a great CD to download of learning songs.  Browse around, and find what works for you!

Incorporate music (no, it doesn’t need to be only children’s music – add yours too!), incorporate often, and have fun learning, bonding, and busting a move together!

Next up: different ways to make music together.

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