I do try to encourage some independent play in the boys, despite my almost daily use of the electronic babysitter. I don’t think I was very good about doing that when the boys were young, so now that they’re a little older, I’d like them to become good play mates. I’d also like some quiet time to get things done while the baby takes an afternoon nap. Normally, I would park them (the older one at least) in front of the TV…but alas, on this particular day, the plasma HD screen was cracked, in circles, arcs, and lines emanating from one central location….the precise area where the Wii remote apparently (“by accident” according to Micah, “by hitting” according to Noah) smashed into the screen. I’m not certain about the cause as I was downstairs getting the laundry, but I think Noah might have the better story.
So without the help of the TV, I managed to give the boys some “quiet time” in our toy room while I worked in the nearby office. Seth snored upstairs and Noah and Micah played happily for awhile – flinging Legos against the wall, tossing them into the air, and finding all sorts of ways to scatter them throughout the room. I repeatedly yelled empty easily-ignored threats from the other room — “I wouldn’t be doing that if I were you”…. “you’re going to be picking those all up, you know!”
Not too long after that, the boys entered my office with their hands dripping, soapy and lotiony (I made up that word) and Micah proclaimed, “we made an invention….and it exploded.” By this point, I had to get up and go look at the room – where some concoction of soap, lotion, and toothpaste was smeared across the toy room floor, engulfing countless Lego pieces. I looked down at Micah, with a look that questions his judgement and expects an immediate apology, and asked sternly, “Micah, what do you think I am going to say?” He hastily replied, “Do it again?”…. I fought back the giggles. “Uh no…but dear, when you do decide to do it again, explosions must happen in the bathroom.”
That seemed like a pretty good solid rule to lay down. The boys weren’t too excited about the enforcement of the other rule — “you make a mess, you clean the mess” (with exceptions as noted last week). It took them 3 (blissful from my perspective) hours to pick up every single Lego before I let them out of the room. It was quite a nice Sunday afternoon ….they played …and picked up….and dumped out….and tossed again…and played…and picked up. I’m hoping that it might be a good 3-4 days before every Lego piece is flung around the room again or soap suds seep into the hardwood floor cracks! In the meantime, I’m sure they’ll find something else to get into.