I love ideas that are so obvious you wonder how they escaped you. I also love a tip-sans-guilt about kids and TV. I’m too susceptible to feeling guilty about Daisy and her screentime.
I read about TV Speed Bumps at Childhood 101. Speed bumps are something engaging put in the path between child and TV. Our routine is for Daisy to watch TV as she wakes up. In the early days of Clementine, when Daisy was at her least secure point, it was a necessity. Now I’m hoping to break the habit.
It’s pretty funny to watch the speed bump work. Daisy actually skidded to a stop in front of the red table on which I had set out an art project. ”Oooh! Puffballs!” I can’t blame her; it is kind of hard to resist puffballs.
The project was a bit big for early morning art, but it was one I’d been meaning to do, so I decided to go for it. I had a cardboard rainbow I’d made for St. Patrick’s day. I set out the ‘stuff to glue’ tub (puff balls, dyed pasta, yarn bits, stickers, etc.) and a bottle of glue and that was it. Daisy sorted the objects by color and we glued them on one stripe at a time.
Another morning I set out Model Magic. It’s a medium I like because it’s soft enough for her to tackle on her own without me priming it, unlike clay. I also like that it dries easily so we can paint it later - a two part project with only one set up. This is the resulting work: a snake lying on a rock, eating a bowl of food.
Another speed bump I set up was pretty open ended. I set out the ‘stuff to glue’ tub and some paint. After some painting and some gluing, the project became making purple. We never seem to have purple paint in the house so we always have to make it from blue and red. This activity was a lot of fun. Daisy took the two colors and mixed them on a plate. Then she’d add more red to make a red-y purple and then more blue to make a blue-y purple. I showed her how to lighten it with a bit of white. After we made the perfect purple on the plate, Daisy added a splash of green and two puffballs and declared it done.
Not all speed bumps require a mess. One morning I set out a puzzle. It didn’t get the skid-to-a-stop reaction, but it still worked (and made the math teacher in me happy).
This morning, though, I got too big for my britches. I set out colored glue and paper plates. On a school morning, nonetheless. It was going beautifully. Daisy loved the swirls of color. I added a very large piece of paper which encouraged her to string the glue out more rather than making puddles. Daisy asked if she could do handprints, and I said ‘no’ explaining that it was glue and would take a bit longer to clean up and we had to leave for school soon. Then I went to get myself and Clementine dressed.
I don’t know what I was thinking, knowing Daisy just cannot resist dunking herself in some paint given any opportunity. I came out of the room and caught her red-handed. Literally. Both hands were drenched in red glue. I have to admit they looked awesome - so shiny and drippy and red, but I can only admit that in retrospect. I wascross. Very very cross. Daisy howled as I made her wash her beautiful red hands. Little drips of red leading to the sink looked like a evidence at a murder scene. I told my sad little wailing girl that she had to clean up the floor. Luckily, cleaning is one of her favorite things, so that cheered her up. She only got the kitchen floor, so I showed her the rest of the trail. We pretended she was a detective hunting for red spots, which entertained me since it did look like the scene of a crime. It was the happiest clean up yet.
I am so tempted to end the post here because it makes me seem like one of those great blog moms who turns every waking moment into something creative or educational. But you already know that she watches TV, which tips you off that I’m a real mom rather than a super-bloggy-mom. The morning ended in more tears. This time because a mermaid had been left out in the rain, which around here means she had pollen stuck in her bee-yoo-tee-ful pink hair. I told Daisy not to shake it out because I was making her cream cheese-and-toast right next to the mermaid. Needless to say, that direction was ignored and breakfast was now pollen-and-cream-cheese-and-toast. More tears.
I usually have more patience with knowing that what I think is important (allergen free breakfast) and what Daisy thinks is important (a properly coiffed mermaid) are actually equally important. Her little appropriately ego-centric self really cannot see my perspective on this because her perspective is so urgent to her. But I’d had no sleep all week, the baby was crying, and even the mermaid ended up getting yelled at for messing up breakfast.
So, the moral of the story is, speed bumps freaking rock, but don’t get too cocky with them. Tomorrow’s speed bump: a puzzle.