Yesterday was day three of an intensive toilet training programme we were trying with Annie. We failed miserably, after spending a whole weekend at home trying to get her to wee somewhere that wasn’t the floor. Both kids went totally… potty… batshit crazy if I’m honest. And both their parents too. We were crawling the walls and wishing we could run away and join the circus or something.
Faced with the prospect of a third day at home, I had two choices: suck it up and mother like a maniac, or go straight up crazy. I’ve seen One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and it didn’t look that fun, so instead I chose to go full Rambo on the day. I would keep the kids busy and there would be no whinging or fighting. WE WOULD HAVE FUN, DAMMIT!
Past experience has taught me that keeping kids entertained for an entire day requires many, many activities. I would have to use all the resources available to me, which were quite lacking to be honest. Somewhere along the way, our fun craft box has dwindled to a bag of pipe cleaners and about 50 empty pots of finger paint.
So, here’s how we filled the day without spending a dime:
- Spread our Countdown animal cards on the floor. Talked about each animal’s magic powers. Slid the cards through the sound reader. Fought over who gets the sound reader. (Parenting fail: Not buying two of those damn things)
- Made a worm out of pipe cleaners. Aim was to see if we could make it as long as the hallway. Of course we could. Oldest kid cried when it kept coming apart but otherwise fun was had.
- Got out the hot glue gun, balloons, eyes and pompoms. Annie made the snake’s bottom while Henry made his head. Both bottom and head had faces – very confusing. Fun level: seriously fun. Lots of giggling.
- Set out a three-person tent in the living room. Lots of palaver and antics trying to get the poles into the right places. Mum freaking a bit when lines were gouged into the wooden floors, which are pretty buggered already to be honest. Kids quickly turned this into a game of ‘how much of our crap can we drag in here’. Pretty fun.
- Made pikelets AKA made the kitchen look like a flour bomb had exploded. Slightly healthy wholemeal pikelets made far from healthy with butter and jam, but two very happy chappies, now hopped up on sugar. Whoops.
- Put away our online grocery order. An absolute circus. Kids delighted to tear all the plastic bags open. Mum felt like a planet hater and found frozen peas in with the dried goods hours later. Worth it.
- Had quiet time with LEGO. Henry surprised us all by letting Annie touch his very precious pieces and they managed to not fight the whole time. Miracles happen every day.
- Sent Annie off for a snooze and put Henry in front of some Bubble Guppies. Really wanted half an hour to have a quiet lunch alone. Worth the inevitable Mummy Guilt.
- Made Playdough and set up their plastic kitchen outside with buckets of water and muffin trays. Did some writing practice with Henry while waiting for Annie to wake. Too late in the day for concentration from a 3-year-old, but fun was had. Lots of giggles.
- Playdough session outside making muffins, sausages and French fries. Splashed around in the water. Lost interest much quicker than Mum had hoped.
- Planted some Basil. Dirt everywhere.
- Time to clean up the inside tent, so dragged it outside and pegged it down. Kids went absolutely ballistic. Much time killed running in and out of the tent and tripping up on purpose.
- Almost there. Time to take off clothes, apparently. An hour spent running nude around the front yard, making the neighbours giggle. Little dude delighted about peeing on the grass. Fun level? OFF THE CHARTS.
- Attempted to tidy up, keep kids from killing each other, make dinner, pack tomorrow’s lunches, all while trying to convince the nudists to put some clothes on. Husband arrived home as dinner was being thrown and kids were screeching. Said to husband: “This perfectly demonstrates the kind of day I’ve had” and he nodded. He gets it.