Monday, August 22, 2011

10 days of being home from school

The twins have been home for the last 10 days. Their school had to shut because there were 16 cases of HFMD in a school that was 800 big.

Anyway, when that announcement was made, there was a great collective gasp among the parents. Our thought bubbles could have all combined into a loud, resounding big one that would have read "WHAT THE HECK ARE WE GOING TO DO WITH THEM FOR 10 DAYS?" Upper case included in the thought bubble.

But as with most things, we get through it as best as we can and there are some moments of great annoyance and exhaustion but some priceless ones too.

So here are 10 things that they did in the last 10 days.

1. Make a grand mess of the house.

I got a delivery package that was totally environmentally unfriendly because it was packed with styrofoam. Before I could stop the children, they were playing at it being winter time and throwing 'snow' off chairs onto the ground and singing "Frosty the Snowman". The house looked terrible after that, but the twins and Muffin included knew enough to get the cleaning equipment, brooms, dustpans etc and cleaned up the mess as best as they could. I stepped in but they did most of the work, thankfully. And only at 1 1/2 and 4 is sweeping actually a fun activity.

2. Engage in expensive extra activity.

I was toying with the idea of just keeping them with me without spending an extra cent but that would mean
a. I wouldn't have any time to do errands like buy groceries.
b. I wouldn't have any time to get any of my work done.
c. Selfishly, I wouldn't have any down time at all let alone time to myself.

Packrat told me not to be ridiculous and just put them in the art class that they wanted to go for. So I caved, took out a big stash of my hard saved money and paid for them to be entertained and out of my hair for 3 hours a day, 3 days in a row. The outcome: They had a lot of fun and created many pieces including, a plaster/ clay genie lamp anda nice canvas of the genie from Aladdin.

But one thing for sure, I am not sending them back there. The paintings are identical because the teacher maps out similar things for them to paint. Only the colours vary. And the little bit of individual touches on their work, the teacher actually complained and explained to me that my children were always too interested in exploring painting through other means, like using their fingers to dot instead of the brush that they were to use. In my book, it's art, it's their work and it's fully legit. In my book, an art teacher that says that

3. Play with toys.
This sounds like something they would do all the time but the truth is that there is so much for them to do that they sometimes miss playing with their toys. Evan has developed a great love for vehicles. So toy cars, ambulances, trucks and planes are his flavour of the month. He is looking thrilled here because his beloved Uncle Mark bought him a new seaplane. He had an old jetliner but it was looking more and more like just a tube because his Destructosaurus brother Muffin had managed to break off the wings and one of the wheels. When I demanded one morning that he was to share his plane with Muffin, he burst into tears. He claimed that if he lent it to Muffin, Muffin would break it and he would have no more airplane and Muffin had already broken everything else of the plane. And even then, because I ordered him to share it, he weepingly passed it to Muffin who thereupon went round banging the already banged up plane around the house while Evan sorrowfully looked on. On the quiet, I asked Uncle Mark if he could pick up one for Evan and Evan was chuffed at the new addition to his fleet. He still seems to have a soft spot for his banged up one though.

4. Playing make believe and dress up.

Just as Evan loves his Hotwheels and and cars, Jordan loves playing make believe and dress up. Of course, she loves everything related to princesses and getting married. I let her figure out what props she can use to transform herself into a princess. Afterall, Cinderella did that too. So she uses blankets, my old maternity skirts with elastic waistbands and random pieces of cloths to fashion long gowns that cover her toes, which is apparently a true sign of a princess.
Her latest acquisition was a long piece of gauze, which with the aid of a hairband turns into a long train for the Little Miss Make Believe. She occasionally ropes Evan in to be her prince and he has to dance with her, escort her and kiss her.

5. Children's Season at the Art Museum

I am very late to this, but it was always hard to find time. With their time off from school, I took them, together with their grandma and it was great fun. My only complaint was too much sensory stimulation and when I came out, my brain felt immensely tired! Both kids liked the empty room where they could build train tracks up the wazoo and send trains down their engineering feats. From the experience, I am clearly not cut out to be an engineer. I could never get the tracks to go in the shape and direction I wanted them to.

The other twin pleaser was where the kids could slip giant discs down panels to create panels. They liked the shopping baskets they used to cart the discs up and down and running up and down to see what pattern they had created. They have asked to go back and I think we're going to try to find some time despite there being only 7 days left in this month!

6. Watch a lot of television.

The twins have learnt that Mommy doesn't like it when they watch too much television. So they unabashedly tell me to leave the house or tell me to bring them to Grandma's and leave them there. I am not to stay. I mostly accede because it gives me time out from them. I am mostly amused by their ability to know who to play and who not to mess with. It is a wise skill for them to learn from so young.

7. Play with Muffin

When they are not fighting and trying to wrest something out of his vise-like grip, they have lots of fun playing with Muffin. They play catch with him, hide and seek, peekaboo and generally run amok round the house. There is lots of screeching (Muffin), screaming (Evan) and squealing (Jordan). There have been many moments where I leave the house to go sit at a cafe where it is quiet and I can hear myself think.

There is Muffin in the picture but you can't actually see him because he's whizzed by.

8. Learn strange phrases

Possibly a product of watching too much television but the twins have taken to exclaiming very loudly gems like "Oh my goodness!" or "Oh man!" or "Cheese Gromit!" I suspect if we gave them another year or so, they'd be able to actually hold a conversation with quotes from their various favourite shows.

9. Eat grown up food.

In the week and a bit that they were home, they tried eating in increasing grown-up-ness, granola with milk, scalded baby kailan with no taste whatsoever and crocodile soup. And they loved the crocodile soup which is more than I can say for myself.

10. Exert their independence in strange ways.

We live on the 14th floor. The twins will either take the lift to the 13th floor and walk up one or take it to the 15th floor and walk down one. They throw us out of the lift and want to do this on their own. Baring the lift breaking down inside, I think it's a great thing for them to be learning.

So, there, 10 things. And more importantly, I survived although I am desperately in need of a long kid-less holiday right about now. And someone please throw in a spa too!

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