Saturday, March 16, 2013

Giveaway Closed: Painting Castles in the Rain

There have been  quite a few mums talking blogging about being Full Time Working Moms and how they juggle their jobs, their kids and their lives. I'm not sure I qualify as a Full Time Working Mom because I don't clock regular 9-5 hours but my days are packed full and I have to actively carve out portions of time for the children.

Those portions of time are known as 'protected time' by my bosses and they know that should they hazard to call during those times, they are likely to get an Ondine who is frazzled, stand off-ish and makes no qualms about sounding like she needs to get off the phone. The nature of my job can end up with me working round the clock even if I don't head into the office; that is why the 'protected time' is necessary.

Unfortunately, there are times that this isn't enough. Accountants have tax seasons, businesses have the ends of the financial year and teachers have exam seasons. During the exam seasons, I teach two or three times more than I usually do. That means much less time with JED.  When they were much younger and my sense of obligation was much greater than my sense of affection for them, I felt more guilt than anything when the peak season hit. These days, it's different. In the last 5 1/2 years I have developed a serious love affair with JED and I am resentful when anything takes me away from them for an extended period of time.

At an outing to the beach with my aunt once, I lamented that these were the things I would miss when I went back to work. Her response was that I did these things because I did go to work and had I not been going to work, it would be unlikely that I would put in so much effort into taking them out.True that.

So, when it is crunch time like this, I feel more of a need to do something special with them; perhaps to compensate for the little time I have to spend with them. Last week, I took two hours out and went hunting for organic sausages to make our "Sausage Monsters". This week, I decided I was going to organise a play date. It wasn't going to be a play date where the kids just came together to play, although that would be fun too, but a painting play date. JED love mucking about with paint. We have a big stairway area that serves as their 'mucking about' place. I had also found online a craft store called CraftPlay; they sold castles made out of recycled box materials and I thought it would be fun for JED and their friends to paint them all. There would be enough to go around. On top of that, when I wrote to Craft Play telling them that I needed the castles for a play date, they sent me two additional towers. Evan took possession of those towers and declared them the guard posts (he doesn't know the word sentry yet).

Jordan, Chloe (our neighbour), Faith (Jordan's friend), Evan and Muffin were vibrating on the spot rearing to go as I got things ready. Excited little children make great helpers as we lay brown paper on the ground and got them to tape the pieces together. That way, they could sit on relatively clean floor, we protect the floor and they had additional surfaces to paint on.

There was little bickering as each busied themselves painting the various towers. Occasional bits of conversation involved discussing which part of the castle it was that they were busy with; the Queen's bedroom (Jordan), the dining room (Faith), the dungeon (Evan).


At the end of it, I asked each little one what they had most fun with.
Jordan: Painting with my friends and making every wall of my tower a different colour.
Evan: Painting under the umbrellas and mixing the water till it got yucky! (The rain was coming in and rather than move the entire exercise somewhere else, I put out big golf umbrellas so that they could hide under it.
Faith: The big bowls of paint and the cheese bunnies (Cheese bunnies were the snack of choice)
Chloe: Painting under the umbrella and painting big towers. Easy to paint.
Muffin: Paint on my feet!

By the end of it, there was paint on all the surfaces, faces, legs, arms, hands and feet. But the final product was bright and in happy colours. Each was proud of what they had done and told anyone who would listen what they had done.

The other mommies were all happy because the kids had been occupied for the previous two hours and they were hungry and cooperative when they went home. As for the JED kids, they were clamouring for another play date like that, with friends and with big pieces of stuff that they could pain.

For me, I had to go; had to take a shower, had no time for dinner and had to catch the train to work. But as I left the house, JED happily waved at me across their dinner bowls and I felt at peace, that I had had my fun with them and I could go to work in happy albeit exhausted peace.

So, what do I think of the Full Time Work Mom schtick? I don't love it but it is my lot in life now. I am thankful that my current job, while requiring me to work ridiculous hours, also gives me little time outs to plan and do things with JED. It is a lot about assuaging my own guilt and resentment. Packrat assures me that they don't mind that I am not around (in fact, they enjoy the fact that the Nazi task master disguised as their mom is occasionally absent and they get to run amok!). But when I know that they are happy and they know that Mommy loves them, I am okay to leave them and go to work.

Linking up with

When we sent pictures of our craft date to Craft Play, they were most thrilled. As a thank you, they're sending us another set of castles.

Since we've had our fun with our castle painting, we're passing this on to a reader who promises to make some kid's / kids day by letting them muck about and throw some paint onto a castle.

We're going to pick a winner for this somewhat randomly, as long as;

1. You leave a comment below, answering the following question, that will most likely feed into our latent fantasies.

- If you could live in a castle and design a room or a suite or rooms, how would you do so?-

When I asked Jordan this, she said she wanted it rainbow coloured.

2. "Like" the CraftPlay page on Facebook here

3. Share the FB link you saw this post on!

We're going to let you channel the Duchess of Cambridge and Martha Stewart for a week and choose a reader to give the castle away to next Monday, the 25th of March 2013.

And we have a winner!
We've decided it to give it to the reader who thought about indulging herself instead of her kids. It's always good to dream for ourselves once in a while!

Anyway, Adora Tan, consider your dream heard. Now, if only we knew Santa!

So CraftPlay will have to do. They will be in touch with you soon!

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  1. Love the play date idea! I would love to let DinoBoy muck about with paint but my evil twin just could not take the eyes off the mess he made with the paint so, its only a small painting or doodling on the drawing paper *guilty* I should just try to relax, look the other way and let him have some fun.

  2. DinoMama,
    Find an area outside the house to do it. Lay lots of paper. Have pails of water/ water hose and stand by and get him to wash up after. JED love that part! They live getting wet and dirty. Then they are all forced marched into the shower! And the paint area is clean! :)

  3. No wonder the title! I was dying for some free time to read your blog after that title.

    I love the idea of the castles. Makes me wanna get out NOW to get those for my boys for a play date top! Haha!

    Having a tighter schedule also sometimes mean we gotta be more creative with the weekends / free time to make them count most for the kids!

  4. Sandra, you're right. I think I got a lot of my ideas from my mom did for me as a kid. And my mother worked a whole lot too!

  5. If I could live in a castle...

    I would have white, billowy sheer curtains... framing up the view to the expanse of blue sea yonder.

    A four poster bed with eiderdown and 100% Egyptian cotton sheets.

    A full library of first edition books, and a comfortable armchair by the fireplace.

    The castle will be in shades of silver and white, because I will have dozens of maids in waiting to clean up stains.

    Full glass windows, so that my Prince Charming will be able to see me!!! :D

  6. MummyMoo:
    Don't forget that the eiderdown has to be made from the purest goose or duck down! :)

  7. Dana says if she can live in a castle, her castle will be full of fluffy cotton candies and lollies, with ponies, puppies, dwarf bunnies as her pets. She'll also invite all her friends over for a castle treasure hunt, a pyjamas party and they'll eat ice-cream whenever they like! :)

  8. @ Ondine: I forgot the unicorns with rainbows and fairy dust coming out of their ...

  9. Wah! And to think I was thinking about getting the castles. Haha... Lemme try out my luck with the castles.

    If it were up to ME, the castle would have a whole suite of rooms for my shoes, bags, and clothes. Each.

    Of cos, since I am blessed with two dinosaur loving boys, I'd imagine the castle being surrounded by a moat, guarded by flying pteranadons (not dragons, mind ya... they are particular in that way), with rooms filled to the brim with the favourite Marvel / Power Ranger toys! ;)

  10. thanks for the suggestion to do painting outside along the HDB corridor/stairwell. I don't know why I never thought of that before, and I am so paranoid about my boys messing up our flat with a flick of the paintbrush!!

    If we were to live in a castle, I am sure Ian would love a room filled with Lego bricks for him to play at will, and furniture made of Lego so that he could rebuild then into all sorts of imaginative vehicles to sserve as his bed and chair of choice.

    As for Eli, he would love to have mock roads, traffic lights and parking lots for his ride-ons, so that he can pretend drive every day!

  11. Kate said, if she live in a castle she wants her bedroom wall with all the colours (except black), a rainbow bedsheet with lots of stuff toys, extra beds for her friends sleep over, a fancy computer fit for a princess and course tiaras with coloured jewels!

  12. @ Carol,
    A Lego room rocks! Although you need to tell him that Lego bricks are uncomfortable for him to sleep on.

    @ Les,
    Kate is being true to the Princess code! :)

  13. My son would like a rainbow coloured castle too!

  14. I want a castle that can magically expand and contract into the exact space needed (so as to save on cleaning haha)

    it would be great if it was edible like the gingerbread house too so that i'll never have to cook again!!

  15. @Edelweiss,
    Yay on the cleaning. But you will need to also have the castle edible or you will end up eating yourself out of house and home (castle, in this case)!

  16. The big princess says all her walls would be covered with One Direction posters and photos in every room.

    The little princess would paint Gumball and Darwin on her ceiling.

    The Mummy princess would have one room in every colour (blue walls, blue ceiling, blue floor tiles, blue couch, blue fans, blue tables... you get the idea). And the moat would be a dive-friendly coral reef.

  17. I love this! Can't wait to get my hands on these and invite some of Poppy's friends over to play!

    If I had the chance to live in a castle, I would have one designated MUMMY ROOM and nobody is allowed in it except my masseuse, manicurist, pedicurist and hairstylist. That's where I would get my DAILY pampering done.

    Well, one can dream :)

  18. @Adora,
    I love your Mommy's room concept!! And a fridge for all the 'illegal' food that the kids should never seen Mommy indulge in! :)

  19. Sheesh, now I sound like a horrid selfish mum! Haha. Thank you. I'm going to dream about this gorgeous castle until my baby kicks me in the ribs for her night feed :)